Riopel v. Southern New England Telephone Co.
A worker who remains away from her workplace for more than six months, without approval of Family Medical Leave Act or disability leave, and who continues to inform her supervisor she is physically incapable of returning to work, may not possess a cause of action for constructive discharge. In December 2005, the plaintiff received a three-day medical leave, pursuant to the FMLA, to deal with sleep apnea and depression. In November 2006, the plaintiff's request for another medical leave pursuant to the FMLA was denied. After the plaintiff's request for disability benefits was denied, the plaintiff was informed that she would be considered to have voluntarily resigned, unless she returned to work, on or before April 11, 2007. The plaintiff did not return and was removed from the employer's payroll. On Oct. 10, 2007, the plaintiff filed complaints with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The plaintiff sued the employer, the Southern New England Telephone Co., alleging it discriminated and retaliated. SNET moved to dismiss. The court found that the plaintiff remained away from work for more than six months without approval for disability or FMLA leave. The plaintiff informed her supervisor she was physically incapable of returning to work, when asked to return. The plaintiff failed to allege she was constructively discharged when she failed to return to work, on or before April 11, 2007. The plaintiff was not discharged as a result of an adverse employment action. Absent an adverse employment action within the 300-day limitations period, the court granted SNET's motion to dismiss the plaintiff's Americans With Disabilities Act and Age Discrimination in Employment Act counts. The plaintiff's July 24, 2011, complaint was not filed timely, prior to the expiration of the three-year statute of limitations in the Rehabilitation Act. The plaintiff's complaint did not allege discriminatory conduct by SNET that took place after 2007, and the court dismissed the plaintiff's Rehabilitation Act claim. The plaintiff's complaint failed to adequately allege a continuing violation, to extend the statute of limitations, and the court granted SNET's motion to dismiss.