November 18, 2022

This Week in FFCRA Complaints: Dismissals While Seeking Paid Leave

Now that we’ve returned and new faces are settling in, we’re back with our weekly roundup of FFCRA complaints, and not much has changed since our last report. We have a double dose, summarizing the last two weeks, but it appears employers continue to terminate workers who are supposed to be protected under the FFCRA. This week, we’ve highlighted several cases where employees were waiting for test results or already diagnosed with Covid-19 and subsequently fired when seeking paid leave. This is prohibited under the law, but this hasn’t stopped employers from trying to eliminate employees with legitimate health concerns.

  • Complaint, Rodriquez v. Law Offices of Alexander E. Borell, P.A. Et Al, No. 6:20-cv-1544 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 25, 2020)
  • Plaintiff, a paralegal, sued her employer, a law office, for interference and retaliation under FFCRA.  Plaintiff notified her manager that she was exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and that she needed to get tested.  The day after taking a test, Plaintiff was informed that she was terminated without a reason.
  • Complaint, Reynoso v. Chs Acquisition Corp., No. 1:20-cv-5069 (N.D. Ill. Aug 28, 2020)
  • Plaintiff, a machine operator and maintenance worker, sued his employer for violation of the EPSLA under FFCRA.  Plaintiff visibly exhibited COVID-19 symptoms for several days.  When his symptoms became severe, he left work early to visit a health clinic, but was immediately recommended to visit an emergency room.  Plaintiff tested positive for COVID-19 and was diagnosed with COVID-19 viral pneumonia.  He was admitted to the hospital for fourteen (14) days, during which he was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit and hooked up to a ventilator.  Plaintiff had no way to contact his employer to inform them of his hospitalization and critical condition.  His employer also did not attempt to contact him since he departed work.  Instead, five (5) days after he was admitted to the hospital, Plaintiff’s employer terminated his employment and immediately cut off his health insurance benefits for failure to report to work for three (3) scheduled days without notifying the company.  The employer denied Plaintiff's request to reinstate his employment.
  • Complaint, Price v. Ajinomoto Foods North America, Inc., No. 3:20-cv-253 (N.D. Miss. Aug. 31, 2020)
  • Plaintiff, a production line worker, sued her employer for interference and retaliation under FCCRA.  Plaintiff was diagnosed with COVID-19 and was advised to self-quarantine.  While on medical leave, Plaintiff received a letter from her employer, which informed Plaintiff that she had been terminated retroactively to the day after she gave her employer notice.  Once she received a negative test result, Plaintiff’s employer still refused to reinstate her employment.
  • Complaint, Mouat v. Southeast Utilities of Georgia, Inc., No. 3:20-cv-983 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 2, 2020)
  • Plaintiff, an administrative assistant, sued her employer for retaliation and failure to pay sick leave under FFCRA.  Plaintiff notified her employer that she was experiencing symptoms for COVID-19 and that she was recently exposed to an individual diagnosed with COVID-19.  Plaintiff’s employer told her that she should not return to work until she received her COVID-19 test results.  Five (5) days later, Plaintiff was terminated while she was still quarantined and waiting for her test results.

Berke-Weiss Law Attorneys Speak at Endometriosis Foundation Conference

March 27, 2023
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

March 16, 2023
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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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