A class action lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York could be the next test case for how far employers may go to avoid penalties under the Affordable Care Act.
The lead plaintiff is Maria Marin of Queens, who, according to the suit that was filed in May, works at the Times Square Dave & Buster's, a national restaurant chain with 72 stores in 30 states.
The suit claims Marin's hours were reduced to avoid complying with a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires that employers provide health insurance. It accuses the company of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which prohibits employers from interfering with a worker's right to benefits, such as health insurance.
The Affordable Care Act mandates that employers insure all full-time employees, defined as those working more than 30 hours per week, or pay a penalty for each uninsured worker.
The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that some employers do not have to provide contraception to employees if it violates their religious principles.
According to the suit, Marin's hours were reduced after a staff meeting at which her assistant manager said complying with the law would cost the store more than $2 million.
Marin went from working approximately 30 to 40 hours per week to approximately 10 to 25 hours per week, reducing her weekly pay from as much as $600 to as little as $150, according to the complaint. She was also told she would no longer be eligible for health insurance.
Dave & Buster's, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, told Marin the reduction in hours was part of a nationwide effort to right-size the number of full-time employees, the lawsuit states.
The suit says that the class action consists of approximately 10,000 Dave & Buster's employees.
Read the complaint here: http://htl.li/Qcnnt