New York State Appellate Court Dismisses Disability Discrimination Claim Where Plaintiff Responded With Hostility To Defendant’s Inquiring Letter

Romanello v. Intessa Sanpoalo S.P.A., No. 109314/092012, 2012 NY Slip Op 05595 (1st Dep’t July 17, 2012): The New York Appellate Division, First Department affirmed dismissal of the plaintiff’s disability discrimination claims under the New York State Human Rights Law and New York City Human Rights Law because the defendant had issued a letter stating that the plaintiff’s FMLA leave expires soon and the defendant would appreciate knowing whether the plaintiff intends to return to work or abandon his position. The court held that the letter demonstrated a “good faith interactive process,” and that the plaintiff failed to engage in the interactive process by sending a “hostile” letter, through his counsel, in response to defendant’s inquiry. The court concluded that the plaintiff’s response letter stating that the defendant will bear any “consequences and liabilities” for termination of the plaintiff’s employment preemptively threatened litigation and was “not reasonably susceptible to interpretation as an invitation to engage in a dialogue aimed at accommodation acceptable to both parties.”

Note: This article was published in the August 2012 issue of the New York eAuthority.


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