- Two female employees for One Kings Lane, the home décor company previously owned by Bed Bath & Beyond, have sued the company, alleging interference with their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and gender and pregnancy discrimination under city and state law.
- The women said they were furloughed weeks before they were supposed to go on maternity leave under the "false pretext of a COVID-19 related downsizing," according to the filing. One week after the company was acquired by CSC Generation, it furloughed the plaintiffs just weeks before their leaves.
- Among other things, the plaintiffs pointed to comments about "work-life balance" as evidence of the alleged discrimination.
Notably, the FMLA covers successor-in-interest considerations. In determining whether a successor is covered, several factors are considered, including "substantial continuity of the same business operations," "use of the same plant," "continuity of the work force;" and similarity of jobs, supervisory personnel, equipment, and production methods, products or services.
The statute notes that "when an employer is a successor in interest, employees' entitlements are the same as if the employment by the predecessor and successor were continuous employment by a single employer" so that "a successor which meets FMLA's coverage criteria must count periods of employment and hours of service with the predecessor" for determining employee eligibility under the FMLA.
In general, the employee must have worked for the company for at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months before the start of FMLA leave. The 12 months of employment does not have to be consecutive, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The federal agency says that time previously worked for an employer, including seasonal work, can count toward the 12-month requirement.
When determining whether to grant leave, employers may need to consider not only federal successor requirements but state and local laws as well.