The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) requires large employers to offer affordable and minimum-value health coverage to their full-time employees (defined as employees who regularly work an average at least 30 hours per week). Plaintiffs seeking to represent a class of nearly 10,000 employees recently filed what appears to be a first-ever lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan alleging that the employer reduced their hours to prevent them from attaining full-time status in order to avoid the statutory mandate that the employer offer them health coverage (as well as penalties for failing to do so). Marin v. Dave & Buster’s, Inc., No. 1:15-cv-3608 (S.D.N.Y. filed May 8, 2015).
The case is brought under ERISA, which prohibits employers and plan sponsors from interfering with an employee’s attainment of benefits. The plaintiff employees assert that this effectively prohibits their employer from reducing hours their hours in order to avoid the requirement that the employer offer them health coverage under the ACA. We will continue to follow this case.