A federal judge in Camden, New Jersey, dismissed a suit that claimed an employer wrongly denied paid sick leave to a worker who contracted COVID-19, and then fired him in retaliation for asking to take sick leave.

Senior U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman dismissed the case after the defendant employer, Physician and Tactical Healthcare Services of Pennsauken, a medical billing company doing business as PATHS, argued that it fell within the health care provider exemption to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The U.S. Department of Labor narrowed the health care provider exemption after a U.S. District Court judge in the Southern District of New York deemed that exemption overbroad and inconsistent with the FFCRA’s unambiguous terms. But Hillman found that the defense of good-faith reliance applies to the FFCRA and protects the defendant company from liability.

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