November 18, 2022

The Week in FFCRA Complaints

As we noted last week, we are starting to see some patterns in FFCRA complaints and this week we note that childcare continues to be a major source of concern for workers in the pandemic. Of the six cases we found we highlight four, which have particular relevance to our practice and law in New York State. Specifically, the Pacheco case is notable because the plaintiff is also bringing gender and race discrimination claims, while Constance indicates that the employer refused to notify the other plaintiff’s fellow workers, something that we will be discussing in our weekly round-up as well.

  • Keener v. Rudolph/Libbe, Inc. (N.D.O.H.) 6/26/20
  • Plaintiff, a land surveyor, sued his employer, a construction company, for retaliation and wrongful termination in violation of FFCRA and for unpaid overtime wages under FLSA. Plaintiff’s daughter experienced symptoms suspected to be related to Covid-19, forcing him to leave work to care for his daughter. Plaintiff requested medical leave and was instructed to quarantine for two weeks because he started experiencing similar symptoms after being in contact with his daughter. Defendant then terminated Plaintiff, citing a reduction in force and elimination of Plaintiff’s position, but the position was not eliminated. In addition, Plaintiff’s job duties do not fall under any exemption under FLSA, entitling him to overtime compensation. Plaintiff regularly worked more than 40 hours per week and attended required trainings that resulted in him working more than 40 hours per week but was not paid overtime.
  • Pacheco v. Celebrations Caterers, Inc. Et Al (E.D.P.A.) 6/30/20
  • Plaintiff, a production manager, sued her employer, a catering venue, for discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and for denying her FFRCA leave and terminating her in violation of FFRCA and P.A. law. Plaintiff alleges that she was unlawfully discriminated against for her race/ethnicity and sex because her manager enforced and held her to different standards than her male counterparts and made offensive comments regarding her race. Despite her speaking up against the treatment, Defendant did not stop his behavior. In addition, as a result of the pandemic, P.A. Governor enacted a stay-at-home order, requiring all non-essential businesses to close, including entertainment venues and convention centers. Though the workplace was required to be closed, Plaintiff agreed to work from home. As her three minor children were home because schools were closed, she proactively requested leave under FFCRA. Defendant ignored these requests. After multiple attempts, Plaintiff filed for unemployment out of an abundance of caution. Defendant responded by terminating her.
  • Constance v. Hollybrook Golf and Tennis Club Condominium, Inc. (S.D.F.L.) 7/1/20
  • Plaintiff sued his employer, a golf and tennis club, for wrongful termination and discrimination in violation of FFRCA and EPSLA. Plaintiff reported experiencing suspected symptoms of Covid-19, leaving work to get tested and recover. He advised Defendant to inform employees of his illness and to get tested, especially as some were vulnerable to the virus. After testing positive for Covid-19, Plaintiff again voiced concerns but Defendant instructed him not to tell employees about his diagnosis. When Plaintiff made a full recovery, he returned to work and was then terminated. 
  • Solis v. Guard Management Service Corp. (S.D.N.Y.) 7/2/20
  • Plaintiff, a security guard, sued his employer and union for discrimination and retaliation in violation of FMLA and FFCRA. Plaintiff qualified as having a disability under the ADA and requested reasonable accommodation, which was ignored. As his condition further deteriorated, he took a leave of absence and was later terminated. Later, Plaintiff’s union representative notified him that he was reinstated and that he had to sign specific paperwork. Plaintiff never received this paperwork. In addition, amid the coronavirus pandemic, Plaintiff was ordered by his doctor not to return to work and instead to self-quarantine because of his extreme vulnerability to the virus. Plaintiff was then terminated for failing to sign the reinstatement documents even though he had never received them.

The remaining two cases were Hillman v. Holiday Inn Club Vacations Inc. (M.D.F.L.) 7/2/20 and  Gil V. Kevin W. Whitehead, P.A. Et Al (S.D.F.L.) 7/1/20.

Berke-Weiss Law Attorneys Speak at Endometriosis Foundation Conference

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Disability Discrimination
Berke-Weiss Law in the News
Berke-Weiss Law attorneys, Laurie Berke-Weiss, Alex Berke, and Rosa Aliberti, spoke at the EndoFound Global Patient Symposium, commonly referred to as Patient Day, about the legal rights and protections for those with endometriosis.

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Over the last decade, more and more companies have utilized automated tools to aid in hiring, training, retaining. Historically, when practices and technologies are adopted rapidly, the law takes time to catch up and this is no different, with 2023 looking to be a year where companies are going to come under more detailed regulatory and compliance regimes focused on AI.

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Disability Discrimination
Elon Musk mocked a Twitter employee for his disability and lack of clarity regarding job status, highlighting issues disabled workers face in the workplace.

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