The opinion of the court was delivered by: Glasser, District Judge.
Defendant Trans World Airlines, Inc. ("TWA") operates a
commercial airline. Plaintiff Frank Micari, Jr. ("Micari") began
working for TWA at John F. Kennedy International Airport as an
airplane mechanic in July of 1988. The duties of mechanic, which
are more fully defined by the applicable collective bargaining
agreement between TWA and Micari's union, are comprised of
activities such as dismantling, overhauling, repairing,
fabricating, assembling, welding and erecting all parts of
airplanes, airplane engines and related machinery. Micari's
duties included primarily the maintenance and repair of equipment
and tools used for loading aircraft.
On April 30, 1992, Micari alleges that he injured his neck and
back while at work when he pushed open a large fire door that
separated two rooms. Based on that accident, he filed a Workers'
Compensation claim and received benefits, Micari also took a
medical leave of absence from TWA that lasted approximately 20
In April of 1993, Micari filed a claim for Social Security
Disability benefits. In connection
with that claim, Micari represented to the Social Security Administration
("SSA") that he was disabled and unable to perform the duties of
his previous position with TWA as of April 30, 1992.
Specifically, Micari stated in a "Disability Report" submitted to
the SSA that "I'm unable to do my job at this time. I cannot
lift, put my hands over my head, pull, push, bend or stand for
any length of time. If I do I end up in very bad pain." However,
in that same report, the plaintiff did state that he was able to
do "light duty work only." Micari's initial claim for disability
benefits was denied by the SSA.
In December of 1993, Micari returned to work at TWA. In May of
1994, Micari alleges that he again injured himself while working.
This time the injuries were to his neck, back, arms and legs.
After either May 4th or May 12th of 1994— the exact date is disputed
by the parties— Micari failed to report for work; he subsequently
filed a Worker's Compensation claim. Pursuant to TWA's policies,
which are identified in its Management Policy & Procedure Manual,
TWA requested that Micari submit documentation of his condition
to verify that he had sustained a serious injury and that he was
eligible for a medical leave of absence. The parties continue to
dispute whether Micari provided all of the supporting medical
documentation requested by TWA.
On July 1, 1994, TWA supervisory personnel William Glynn and
Kevin Lyons met with Micari and union shop steward Perry Esposito
concerning Micari's alleged failure to provide the requested
documentation. Both parties agree that Micari did submit some
documents that attested to his medical condition and that, by
letter dated July 20, 1994, TWA notified Micari that the
documentation he submitted did not substantiate any disability
that would preclude him from performing the duties of a mechanic.
The July 20, 1994 letter also states that, for Micari's absence
to be approved, complete updated medical records needed to be
submitted. Again, the parties dispute whether Micari furnished
the requested information in response to this letter.
On August 1, 1994, TWA wrote Micari and advised him that, due
to his unauthorized absences from work beginning May 13, 1994, he
was in violation of Article 17(k) of the collective bargaining
agreement. That Article provides that employees must be truthful
in their dealings with TWA and must avoid unnecessary absences
and other abuses of sick leave privileges. The letter also
informed Micari that a discharge hearing had been scheduled for
August 5, 1994.
On August 9, 1994, a discharge hearing was held. Micari was
present along with representatives from his union. At the
meeting, the plaintiff was charged with unauthorized absences
from work. In a letter dated that same day, the hearing officer,
M.C. Sickles, stated that Micari would be discharged if, within
seven working days from receipt of the letter, he did not provide
complete updated medical records to substantiate his disability.
Again, the parties dispute whether Micari provided the requested
materials in response to this letter. On August 23, 1994, TWA
notified Micari in writing that his employment was being
terminated effective that date because of his failure to supply
proper verification of his claimed basis for a medical leave.
Subsequent to his termination by TWA, Micari pursued an appeal
of SSA's denial of his first disability claim. On June 24, 1994,
Micari represented to the SSA that he returned to work during
1994, but "was unable to perform my job duties." In a subsequent
submission to the SSA of a form captioned "Claimant's Recent
Medical Treatment," he stated that he had been told by doctors
to "Avoid exertion; no work."
Micari's Complaint claims entitlement to relief, under the
Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and the New York Human
Rights Law ("NYHRL") Section 290 et seq., respectively. Both
claims are predicated on two separate acts of TWA. First, Micari
alleges that TWA discriminated against him when it failed to
accommodate his request for "light duty" work. Second, he alleges
that the defendant discriminated against him by terminating him
based on his disability. The defendant contends that the
undisputed facts establish that none of the plaintiffs claims can
succeed as a matter of law and, accordingly, now moves for
I. Summary Judgment Standard ...