New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of Labor (DOL) alleging they created a rule that violates the plain text and meaning of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that the rule creates overly broad categories excluding certain workers from paid sick and family leave and has imposed conditions on certain benefits without a statutory basis. The lawsuit could affect thousands of employees in New York, and potentially millions around the United States.
The FFCRA is one of several pieces of federal legislation passed to address the problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Among its various measures were provisions temporarily expanding the rights of workers, including requiring employers to give paid sick and family leave for issues related to the coronavirus. It also carved out certain exceptions to those benefits, such as not granting leave to “health care providers” like doctors, nurses and lab technicians, due to the necessity of their work during this time.
The lawsuit alleges that the DOL has interpreted the “health care provider” exception overly broadly, so that it includes even workers only tangentially related to health care, such as librarians or teaching assistants, IT technicians or dining hall workers for medical schools, and even payroll processors. It also alleges the suit has artificially imposed conditions for paid sick or family leave not found within the text of the FFCRA itself. It also created a rule requiring an employee seeking leave under the FFCRA to provide extensive documentation, also without a statutory basis for the demand. Given the emergent nature of the lawsuit, it is likely to move quickly through the federal courts, although its outcome remains in question.
If you have gotten into a legal dispute with your employer or are seeking jobless benefits, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced New York employment lawyer who can protect your legal rights and advocate on your behalf. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 39 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. To schedule an appointment with New York City employment lawyer Steven Mitchell Sack, call (917) 371-8000.