NYC sues American Airlines over employee sick leave

NEW YORK — New York City's worker protection department said Thursday that American Airlines is violating the city's sick leave law by retaliating against workers who use sick days or not letting them use the sick leave they've accrued.

The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection announced it had sued the airline with the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.

Commissioner Lorelei Salas said in a statement that "American Airlines is not above the law. Workers in major transportation hubs where thousands of people pass through everyday should not have to choose between going into work sick or getting in trouble for exercising their right to take a sick day."

The violations alleged in the lawsuit include filing disciplinary points against ground crew workers for each sick day used, not allowing employees to use the sick leave they had earned, and requiring medical documentation before city law said it was necessary.

The agency seeks $375,000 in restitution covering more than 750 ground crew workers, including agents, fleet service and mechanical employees, as well as civil penalties.

Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines said in a statement that "employees enjoy generous sick leave and benefits, including those set by union contracts with terms that are often more generous than required by the New York law" and that it would work to make sure they continue to do so.

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