Workday Tmobile

Full title: JEREMY DANIEL, v. T-MOBILE USA, INC.

Court: UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA

Date published: May 10, 2019

Facts

Plaintiff Jeremy Daniel, who is suffering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, alleges that his termination from his position as Account Services Representative (“ASR”) at T-Mobile amounts to discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (“PHRA”), 42 P.S. § 951 et seq.

Issue

whether genuine disputes of material fact preclude summary judgment on behalf of Defendant T-Mobile USA, Inc. (“T-Mobile” or “Defendant”). 

Decision

Defendant contends that the temporal proximity between Plaintiff’s second request for a continuous LOA in June 2013 and his termination in July 2014 is not unduly suggestive. (MSJ at 17-18.) Plaintiff, however, argues that the relevant protected activity is Plaintiff’s request for a six-month extension of leave on June 27, 2014, which took place six days prior to Plaintiff’s July 3, 2014 termination. (Resp. at 35.)

The Court agrees with Plaintiff that the protected activity at issue is Plaintiff’s June 2014 request for an additional extension of leave. Though Plaintiff’s accommodation request is dated June 11, 2014, that request was for leave through the beginning of September. (Resp. Ex. L.) The record reflects that it was the June 27, 2014, medical documentation in support of that request and the six-month extension of leave therein, that led to Plaintiff’s termination. (See Resp. Ex. C) (explaining that Plaintiff’s termination was effective July 3, 2014, because “[t]he most recent documentation that we have received from your health care provider indicates that you are unable to return to work at this time”).) Defendant did not grant any of Plaintiff’s prior requests for extension of leave without reviewing the supporting documentation, suggesting that the June 11 request was not complete and reviewable until June 27. (See MSJ at 11.)

The Court concludes that the temporal proximity between Plaintiff’s final request for an additional extension of leave and his termination could be unduly suggestive of a retaliatory motive. The plaintiff was terminated six days after the Plaintiff’s physician submitted medical documentation requesting a six-month extension of leave on June 27, 2014. See Bernhard, 720 F. Supp. 2d at 703 (denying summary judgment on an ADA retaliation claim where the plaintiff was fired eight days after he requested additional leave). The evidence in the record indicates that the request for an additional extension of leave on June 27, 2014, led directly to Phan, Makuannen, and Johnson’s discussions about Plaintiff’s leave status, which, in turn, led to Defendant’s decision to terminate Plaintiff effective July 3, 2014. Viewing the facts in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, a reasonable jury to infer a causal connection between these two events. As noted above, there is sufficient evidence in the record for a reasonable jury to conclude that Defendant’s reason for Plaintiff’s termination was the pretext for discrimination. Because the same analysis applies to the Plaintiff’s retaliation claims, the Court must deny summary judgment.

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment is denied.

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