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Friday, August 16, 2019

American Airlines challenges New York City's Paid Sick Leave Law, says it could affect airline prices, services

Federal Court

By Marian Johns | Aug 12, 2019


BROOKLYN, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) – American Airlines has filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief against New York City's Department of Consumer Affairs and its commissioner claiming the city's Paid Sick Leave Law does not apply to its employees and could affect the air carrier's prices and services. 

According to the Aug. 1 filing in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, plaintiff American Airlines filed the action against the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and DCA Commissioner Lorelai Salas. The plaintiff alleges the city's law violates the U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause, is preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act, violates the prohibition against extraterritoriality and is vague in its application to flight crews.

The airline is already in compliance with sick leave law, it also claims.

American Airlines' action is in response to the DCA's efforts to enforce New York City's Paid Sick Leave Law that passed in 2014. The law requires private employers with at least five employees to allow sick time to their employees who work more than 80 hours plus per calendar year within the city. In 2017, an amendment was added to the law to include "safe time" and expanded on family members that the leave time could be used for, according to the suit.

Among American Airlines' arguments are that several federal and local laws preempt New York City's Paid Sick Leave Law as they pertain to its flight and ground crews, that the law interferes with employees' collective bargaining agreements benefits and that the law could "adversely" impact airline prices, routes and services, according to the suit. 

American Airlines seeks a declaration that the law violates the constitution, injunctive relief, to prohibit the enforcement of the law by the city, and attorneys' fees and costs. It is represented by Mark W. Robertson and Stephanie Drotar of O'Melveny & Myers in New York City.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York case number 1:19-cv-04424

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