November 18, 2022

This Week’s FFCRA Complaints: The Wrongful Terminations Continue 

This will be our last regular summary of FFCRA complaints for the foreseeable future. Since we started this weekly blog post in May, we've read and summarized over 50 complaints filed under the new leave law. As we’ve pointed out, many of these complaints follow almost a template, with workers being terminated for either taking legally-allowed precautions to protect fellow workers from potential infection or for having legitimate reasons to take leave, often to care for a family member or child. 

Time will tell how many more will be filed before the law expires in December, or whether the DOL will update its implementation to make this leave more widely available. It's also too early to tell whether it will be renewed by Congress in some form, but it's hard to imagine not having this job protection or leave at all if a vaccine is not widely available until early 2021, which is still a quite optimistic projection.

  • Complaint, Bishop v. TRP Constr. Grp., L.L.C., No. 3:20-cv-00447 (W.D.N.C. Aug. 13, 2020)
  • Plaintiff sued his employer for retaliation and wrongful termination in violation of FFCRA. Plaintiff’s spouse began experiencing suspected COVID-19 symptoms and they were advised to self-quarantine for 14 days. In addition, Plaintiff’s children were home due to school closures. Plaintiff notified his employer of this and was subsequently terminated.
  • Complaint, Woodward v. Vancuren Servs., Inc., No. 1:20-cv-1818 (N.D. Ohio Aug. 17, 2020)
  • Plaintiff sued his employer for unpaid wages in violation of FLSA and FFCRA. Plaintiff and similarly situated hourly paid employees regularly work more than 40 hours per workweek and are not paid overtime wages. Additionally they are paid less than the prevailing wage rate required by law. In response to Covid-19, schools were closed and Plaintiff had to take time off to care for his child. While on leave, he came into contact with a person who tested positive for Covid-19. He was instructed to self-quarantine by his doctor and requested more time off. Though he was granted leave, his employer refused to pay him, which is a violation of FFCRA.
  • Complaint, Chinchilla Aguilar v. Europa USA, Inc., No. 0:20-cv-61661-RAR (S.D. Fla. Aug. 18, 2020)
  • Plaintiff sued his employer for failure to pay for sick leave and unlawful termination in violation of FFCRA. Plaintiff experienced suspected Covid-19 symptoms and was directed to stay home and get tested. He tested positive and was required to take leave to self-quarantine. During his leave, he was not paid by his employer. After testing negative, he sought to return to his employment and was told he had been discharged.

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.

AI and Compliance, Employers Brace for a Brave New World

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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.

Elon Musk’s Public Mocking of Employee’s Disability Highlights the Importance of Reasonable Accommodations and Health Information Privacy

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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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