Vera v. Waterbury Hospital
A reasonable jury could not find that a worker who is gay was discharged because of sexual orientation, if supervisors offered to help with his application for medical leave, held open his job 78 days, even though he did not file the application, and asked that he return. The plaintiff, a polysomnographic specialist, monitored patients who slept in the defendant's sleep lab. Allegedly, the plaintiff began to suffer shortness of breath and the sensation of his heart racing. A cardiologist diagnosed a heart condition. In 2009, the plaintiff went on a leave of absence. Supervisors encouraged the plaintiff to request FMLA leave. Although the plaintiff did not request leave pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act, supervisors asked the plaintiff to return and held his position open 78 days. The defendant concluded the plaintiff resigned, because he did not return. The plaintiff sued, alleging disability discrimination. Because the plaintiff did not request FMLA leave, the court granted summary judgment to the defendant on the FMLA count. The plaintiff failed to disclose any experts, to prove his heart condition substantially restricts a major life activity or to establish there were any open positions on another shift for which he was qualified. The court granted summary judgment to the defendant on the plaintiff's disability discrimination claims. The plaintiff, who is gay, also alleged that he was subjected to a hostile-work environment. Allegedly, co-workers informed the plaintiff his way of life was a sin, said that he was "one of the girls" and asked whether it was that "time of the month." The plaintiff failed to establish his workplace was permeated with discriminatory intimidation sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter work conditions. The court granted the defendant's motion for judgment on hostile-work environment. The plaintiff failed to establish he was discharged because of sexual orientation. Supervisors offered to help the plaintiff apply for FMLA leave, held open his job for 78 days, even though he did not file the application, and asked the plaintiff to return. The court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment on the plaintiff's sexual orientation discrimination count.