Thursday, April 05, 2018

Airline Lobby Says Massachusetts Sick Leave Law Is Unconstitutional

Law360 (April 4, 2018, 10:12 PM EDT) -- A lobbying organization for some of the nation’s biggest air carriers sued Massachusetts’ chief law enforcement officer on Wednesday, claiming flight as well as ground crews should be exempted from the state’s strict mandate for earned sick time, which is unconstitutional and allegedly causes flight delays and cancellations.

Airlines for America claimed a ballot initiative voters approved in 2014 that mandates Massachusetts employers give workers at least one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked conflicts with the U.S. Constitution and several federal laws.

“Because the burdens on operations imposed by the earned sick time law substantially impact airline prices, routes and services, the law is both unconstitutional and preempted,” the complaint said.

The group sued Attorney General Maura Healey, saying the law infringes on Congress’ enumerated power to regulate trade with foreign nations and interstate commerce — including, the airliners said, “nearly every facet of the air transportation industry.”

“Uniformity in regulation of air carriers is a national necessity, and only regulation by a single governmental authority can ensure efficient airline operations,” the complaint said.

The organization claimed the state is also preempted by the federal Airline Deregulation Act, which covers air carrier prices, routes and services.

“Sick leave laws, like Massachusetts’s, severely limit an airline’s ability to monitor and prevent abuse of sick leave and result in significant spikes in flight and ground crew absences — which, in turn, leads to an increase in delayed and cancelled flights,” the complaint said.

The lobbying group said its member organizations, which including United Airlines Inc., American Airlines Inc., Southwest Airlines Co., FedEx corp. and UPS, have provided sick leave benefits to their crews for years under carefully negotiated provisions in various other federal laws.

Healey spokeswoman Emalie Gainey declined to comment Wednesday.

The state’s counsel information was not available Wednesday.

Airlines for America is represented by Robert Siegel and Chris A. Hollinger of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, and David P. Mason of Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC.

The case is Air Transport Association of America Inc. v. Healey, case number 1:18-cv-10651, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Original article can be found here ➤

1 comment:

  1. Airlines routinely pressure crews to fly sick in violation of the FARs.