Court grants preliminary injunction protecting rights of Southwest flight attendants to use sick leave to care for family

On May 17, 2019, the Alameda County Superior Court granted plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction in TWU Local 556, et al. v. Southwest Airlines Co., Case No. RG-18933251, requiring Southwest Airlines Co. to permit its California-based flight attendants to use their accrued sick leave to care for ill family members, in accordance with the “kin care” provisions of California Labor Code §233 and sick leave ordinances in Oakland and Los Angeles.  Altshuler Berzon LLP is representing the plaintiffs in the case and brought the preliminary injunction motion.

In granting the motion, the Court rejected Southwest’s affirmative defenses, which sought to preclude application of California and local labor protections laws to its flight attendants, who often travel outside the state in the course of a work day.  The Court found that Southwest’s California-based flight attendants who start and end all trips in California, and perform more work in California than in any other state, are likely entitled to the protections of California law.

As a result of the preliminary injunction, Southwest can no longer deny its flight attendants their “kin care” rights or discipline them for exercising those rights.  You can read the Court’s order here.

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