Erlich Law Firm Seeks Class Action Certification Against Southwest Airlines Over Alleged FMLA Violations

Apr 29, 2024

Oakland, California – Erlich Law Firm has moved to certify a class action lawsuit against Southwest Airlines, alleging systemic interference with employees’ federally protected family and medical leave rights.

The motion, filed in the Northern District of California under case number 3:22-cv-00868-JSC, represents a crucial step towards collective redress for thousands of Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV:NYSE) flight attendants nationwide. The proposed class action accuses the airline of penalizing employees who took legally entitled leave, leading to denied disciplinary point reductions, and in some cases, wrongful terminations.

According to court documents, the case hones in on Southwest’s policy change enacted on March 1, 2019, which plaintiffs argue contravenes the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by disqualifying flight attendants from disciplinary point improvements once they exercise their FMLA rights. Plaintiffs allege that the policy not only imposes unfair disciplinary measures but also acts as a deterrent against the utilization of FMLA leave.

The lawsuit, initiated by Roreste Refuerzo and Selina Cashin on behalf of similarly impacted colleagues, is poised to address grievances for two distinct classes: one seeking injunctive relief and another for damages. The former includes all Southwest flight attendants in the United States who, since March 1, 2019, have exercised FMLA rights and consequently lost access to disciplinary point reduction. The latter class concerns those who were terminated following the accrual of points post-FMLA leave.

Plaintiffs’ counsel, Erlich Law Firm, in conjunction with Andrus Anderson LLP, aims to secure a declaration that Southwest’s practices violate both federal and state law, alongside an injunction to halt the contentious policy. Additionally, plaintiffs seek monetary compensation for affected class members.

The case highlights a growing tension between employment practices and workers’ rights, setting a potentially precedent-setting stage for how FMLA regulations are honored within the airline industry and beyond.

A hearing on the motion for class certification is scheduled for September 5, 2024, at the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco, CA, where the court will consider the arguments for consolidating the claims into a class action.

As legal proceedings advance, the outcome stands to not only impact the plaintiffs but also reverberate through labor and employment law practices, reaffirming or challenging the strength of protections afforded under the FMLA.

This case underscores the need for a delicate balance between operational policies of companies and the legal rights of employees, as employers navigate the complexities of implementing fair labor standards while maintaining business efficacy.

The Erlich Law Firm’s pursuit of justice in this context reflects an ongoing commitment to holding corporations accountable and ensuring that the rights of workers are upheld in accordance with both the letter and spirit of the law.

United States District Court Northern District of California
Case No. 3:22-cv-00868-JSC

Erlich Law Firm has more than 20 years of experience in holding employers accountable for their illegal actions against the people who work for them. If you believe your rights at work have been violated, you could potentially be entitled to damages from your employer.

Erlich Law Firm
180 Grand Ave. Suite 1380
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 788-2337
Press Contact : Jason Erlich

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