Employer’s Firing Plaintiff During Recovery Plausibly Suggests Failure to Accommodate Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

In Sobhi v. Sociedad Textil Lonia Corp., No. 13 CIV. 8073 AT MHD, 2014 WL 7474338 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 30, 2014), the Southern District of New York held that plaintiff adequately alleged a “failure to accommodate” disability discrimination claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

From the decision:

Although Defendant initially granted Plaintiff eight weeks off, Defendant cut short the accommodation when it fired Plaintiff during her recovery, and it did so after Plaintiff indicated that she was capable of returning to work. Unlike in Mitchell v. Washingtonville Central School District, in which the Second Circuit held that an employee’s request for indefinite leave of absence was not a reasonable accommodation when there was no expectation the employee would be able to return to work afterward, the leave requested here was finite, and Plaintiff communicated that she planned to return and was able to perform her job. The Court declines to hold such a request unreasonable as a matter of law. In its opposition, Defendant contends that because it only employs five sales people at the Madison Avenue store, an eight week leave of absence is not a reasonable accommodation. However, this argument goes beyond the four corners of the complaint, and any such fact-dependent inquiry into the reasonableness of Plaintiff’s requested accommodation would be inappropriate at this stage. Plaintiff adequately states an ADA failure to accommodate claim.

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