Search Site

Former Spirit Airlines Flight Attendant Accuses Airline of Violating FMLA

A former Spirit Airlines flight attendant has proposed a class action suit against the budget airline. The suit alleges that the airline enforced family and medical leave policies which are inconsistent with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

The FMLA entitles qualified employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for certain types of family and medical reasons. The issue comes down to how Spirit Airlines qualifies flight attendants for FMLA eligibility.

Case background

The main issue in the case is whether a flight attendant can reasonably qualify for FMLA leave under the hours-of-service requirement. The complaint alleges that the carrier required flight attendants to maintain 520 credit hours in the previous 12 months to be eligible. This is higher than the 504 hours required by law. The airline also improperly counted the credit hours: they should have included all hours worked, including tasks before and after the plane is in the air. Instead, Spirit only counted the hours worked during a flight.

The plaintiffs argue that this cuts a minimum of 80 to 90 minutes of work per flight, and effectively interferes with, restrains or denies the class’s FMLA benefits.

Next, the suit alleges that Spirit has wrongfully given eligible attendants up to 12 work weeks of paid FMLA leave—but the law provides up to 72 days of leave during any 12-month period. While they allow eligible flight attendants to take up to 26 work weeks of leave in a 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury, the law allows for 156 days in that situation.

Finally, Spirit requires flight attendants to report FMLA leave no later than three business days after their leave starts, but the FMLA allows workers to report within three days or “as soon as practicable.”

If certified, the lawsuit will cover all Spirit flight attendants who worked in the last three years.

If your employer is violating FMLA protections, call an experienced whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group today.

Awards & Honors
Our Office
  • Dallas Office
    4514 Cole Ave
    Dallas, Texas 75205
    Phone: 214-306-8045
    Fax: 469-729-9926
As Seen In
In his new book, "Standing Up to China: How a Whistleblower Risked Everything for His Country," former client & Author, Ashley Yablon, quotes Attorney Steve Kardell about Whistelblower Law.
  • "Steve Kardell was terrific in representing me in some very adversarial discussions with Citigroup and also later represented me in my testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission."  -Richard Bowen, Citigroup Whistleblower

  • "Incredible knowledge of employee related concerns and equally brilliant knowledge of health care regulations, standards of practice. I would recommend this firm to anyone."  -V.B.

  • "Reaching out to Steve Kardell was the best decision I made. His ability to provide immediate insight and direction was very powerful, and a huge relief during a very stressful time period. For anyone struggling with a whistleblower situation, I would highly recommend at least speaking with Steve. After a 10 minute call with him, I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. Even better, he gave me some immediate hope. In the end Steve did a better job than I thought was possible. Steve was able to get in contact with people in my organization, that I didn’t have access to. Because of his years of experience, he already has contacts in many organizations in Dallas. The entire situation was handled peacefully. I was impressed by his ability to “keep the peace”–rather than creating a battle with the organization. The reason I didn’t reach out to a lawyer initially, was because I thought it would mean an immediate end to any hope of a positive relationship with the company. Steve was able to address my concerns, and in the end I was able to continue to work for them."  -KS

  • "Never thought my career would end like it did after 30 years of service. I was part of the first round of the so called reduction of force. I asked myself how can I be part of this with 30 years of seniority. How did they pick these 90 plus employees? Now, the culture of this organization made you question every decision they made. It wasn’t what you knew it’s was a culture of who you know. Nonetheless, I did not accept their severance package. I immediately starting looking for an attorney who would take on my case. After the initial call to Steve I had hope again. He was open and honest about everything and reassured me he would do his best for me, and he did. I had an awesome outcome. Thanks Steve you’re the best."  -S.S.