Law360 (September 15, 2020, 5:02 PM EDT) -- A Broward County senior living condo community and a former maintenance man there who said he was unlawfully denied sick leave after getting COVID-19 have struck a deal to end the former employee's suit, they told a Florida federal court.
On Monday, plaintiff Randy Constance and Hollybrook Golf and Tennis Condominium asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana S. Snow to dismiss Constance's suit, saying they had reached a deal in mediation. No further details of the settlement were available.
Constance's lawsuit claimed Hollybrook violated the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which President Donald Trump signed in March. One of its main provisions is the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, which provides employees with up to two weeks of emergency paid sick leave if they contract the virus and blocks employers from discriminating against sick workers.
"This is a case of a premier retirement community holding itself out to its residents and their guests as safety conscious, while simultaneously unlawfully denying its employee, who contracted COVID-19, legal protection through paid sick leave and instructing that employee to not inform the club's residents of their potential exposure," according to the lawsuit Constance filed in July 2020.
Constance, who worked at Hollybrook for 21 years, said he first came down with symptoms in late March. He told his manager that he planned to take time off and get tested.
Constance said he advised his boss that Hollybrook should alert employees and residents about their potential exposure due to his symptoms.
But Constance claimed another manager told him in a text to "be sure not to discuss [his] medical situation with any Hollybrook resident it's not appropriate and we are seeing more and more residents thinking they can ask inappropriate questions about employee health."
After his diagnosis came back positive and he began self-quarantining, Constance again raised the issue of warning others there, but was warned not to, "to avoid 'chaos,'" the lawsuit said.
During the quarantine, Constance said, Hollybrook forced him to use his paid time off, even though he was entitled to the EPSLA's protection "because he was advised by a health care provider to self-isolate (and was required to do so by governmental order) due to his COVID-19 diagnosis," the lawsuit said.
He was cleared by a doctor following a two-week recuperation, but upon his return to work he was fired, the complaint said, in violation of the EPSLA's ban on discriminating against workers who take qualifying paid sick leave.
Attorneys for both parties did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
Constance is represented by Jorge Freddy Perera and Valerie Barton Barnhart of Perera Barnhart Aleman.
Hollybrook is represented by Barry A. Postman of Cole Scott Kissane.
The case is Constance v. Hollybrook Golf and Tennis Club Condominium Inc., case number 0:20-cv-61312, in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida.
--Editing by Stephen Berg.
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