Earlier this month, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey permitted an employee to continue with his claim that his employer harassed him because he is disabled, but dismissed his other disability discrimination claims.
Francis Gavin worked for Haworth, Inc. in various sales roles. Mr. Gavin has a back disability which required him to undergo several surgeries and time off from work. Most recently, he took off two weeks after lumbar spinal fusion surgery in August 2012. He returned to work gradually, with medical restrictions for approximately 4 ½ months.
After he returned to work, Mr. Gavin’s supervisor, Henry Pizoli, frequently made disparaging comments about his back condition. For example, he commented about the fact that Mr. Gavin had to wear a duragesic patch and a back brace, saying it “doesn’t look good in front of customers” and asked him in front of a customer if he would be “able to work normally without this [back condition] being the center of attention.” Mr. Pizoli also told Mr. Gavin he “should have never come back to work” after his surgery, and repeatedly suggested he should “leave.”