United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
R. UNDERHILL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Mosher (“Mosher”) filed suit alleging the
following seven counts against her former employer, YMCA of
Metropolitan Hartford (“YMCA”): pregnancy
discrimination (Count I); failure to provide a reasonable
leave of absence for a disability resulting from pregnancy
(Count II); retaliation (Count III); disability
discrimination (Count IV); failure to accommodate (Count V);
interference in violation of the FMLA (Count VI); and
retaliation pursuant to the FMLA (Count VII).
moved for summary judgment on all claims. Motion for Summary
Judgment, Doc. No. 39. For the reasons set forth below,
YMCA's motion for summary judgment is
GRANTED on all seven counts.
Standard of Review
judgment is appropriate when the record demonstrates that
“there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact
and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986) (plaintiff
must present affirmative evidence in order to defeat a
properly supported motion for summary judgment).
ruling on a summary judgment motion, the court must construe
the facts of record in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party and must resolve all ambiguities and draw all
reasonable inferences against the moving party.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587
(1986); Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S.
144, 158-59 (1970); see also Aldrich v. Randolph Cent.
Sch. Dist., 963 F.2d 520, 523 (2d Cir. 1992) (court is
required to “resolve all ambiguities and draw all
inferences in favor of the nonmoving party”). When a
motion for summary judgment is properly supported by
documentary and testimonial evidence, however, the nonmoving
party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of
the pleadings, but must present sufficient probative evidence
to establish a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986); Colon v.
Coughlin, 58 F.3d 865, 872 (2d Cir. 1995).
when reasonable minds could not differ as to the import of
the evidence is summary judgment proper.” Bryant v.
Maffucci, 923 F.2d 979, 982 (2d Cir. 1991); see
also Suburban Propane v. Proctor Gas, Inc., 953
F.2d 780, 788 (2d Cir. 1992). If the nonmoving party submits
evidence that is “merely colorable, ” or is not
“significantly probative, ” summary judgment may
be granted. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50.
The mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between
the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported
motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be
no genuine issue of material fact. As to materiality, the
substantive law will identify which facts are material. Only
disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit
under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of
summary judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or
unnecessary will not be counted.
Id. at 247-48. To present a “genuine”
issue of material fact, there must be contradictory evidence
“such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for
the non-moving party.” Id. at 248.
nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an
essential element of his case with respect to which he has
the burden of proof at trial, then summary judgment is
appropriate. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. In such a
situation, “there can be ‘no genuine issue as to
any material fact,' since a complete failure of proof
concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's
case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.”
Id. at 322-23; accord Goenaga v. March of Dimes
Birth Defects Found., 51 F.3d 14, 18 (2d Cir. 1995)
(movant's burden satisfied if he can point to an absence
of evidence to support an essential element of nonmoving
party's claim). In short, if there is no genuine issue of
material fact, summary judgment may enter. Celotex,
477 U.S. at 323.
Mosher was employed as a membership sales director with a
health club called Club Longitude. Def's Local Rule
56(a)(1) Statement of Undisputed Material Facts, at ¶ 1
(“Undisputed Facts”). In the fall of 2015, YMCA
bought the Club Longitude space. Id. at ¶ 2.
Mosher and other Club Longitude employees applied for
positions at YMCA. Id. Mosher was hired as a
membership director at YMCA and began her employment in
November 2015. Id. at ¶¶ 3-4. She reported
to Executive Director Rick Hersom and Supervisor Tim Moore.
Id. at ¶ 5.
January 2016, Mosher informed her supervisors, Hersom and
Moore, that she was pregnant with triplets. Id. at
¶ 9. She applied for FMLA leave beginning July 16, 2016.
Id. at ¶ 10. Mosher was initially denied FMLA
leave because the Human Resources advisor, Cote, determined
she was ineligible: she had not worked for YMCA for the
required 12 months and had not completed the necessary 1, 000
hours of service. Id. at ¶ 12. YMCA asserts
that its policy is to provide eligible employees with 16
weeks of FMLA leave, per Connecticut's FMLA. Id.
at ¶ 11. Mosher, however, states that YMCA's policy
is to grant a minimum of 16 weeks CFMLA leave.
Pl's Local Rule 56(a)(2) Statement at ¶ 11
(“Rule 56(a)(2) Statement”). The parties agree
that Cote approved Mosher for a medical leave of
approximately six to eight weeks. Undisputed Facts at ¶
contends that on or about April 4, 2016, Mosher
“stopped coming to work” because of her
pregnancy. Id. at ¶ 16. Mosher states that she
was “incapable of coming to work” and was
medically restricted from working. Rule 56(a)(2) Statement at
¶ 16. The parties agree that on April 28, 2016, Mosher
contacted Cote and informed Cote that someone at the U.S.
Department of Labor had told Mosher that she was eligible for
FMLA leave because YMCA was the successor in interest to Club
Longitude. Undisputed Facts at ¶ 17. On May 5, 2016,
Cote informed Mosher that she did in fact qualify for FMLA
leave, and she was approved for 16 weeks of FMLA leave from
April 6, 2016 through July 26, 2016. Id. at
¶¶ 18-19. YMCA states that although it had
initially denied Mosher's leave, “it reversed that
decision and approved her leave with no prejudice to
her.” Id. at ¶ 20. Mosher asserts that,
although YMCA eventually approved her FMLA leave, “it
did so only reluctantly, and was displeased” to do so.
Rule 56(a)(2) Statement at ¶ 20. The parties agree that
Mosher was required to provide weekly reports of her status
and intent to return to work. Undisputed Facts at ¶ 21.
The parties dispute whether or not Mosher submitted those
medical notes. Id. at ¶ 32, Rule 56(a)(2)
Statement at ¶ 32. The parties agree that on May 20,
2016, Mosher gave birth to triplets. Id. at ¶
25. The parties do not dispute that, although Mosher
originally applied for leave beginning July 16, 2016, her
leave actually began earlier, on April 6, 2016. Id.
at ¶¶ 18-19.
2016, Mosher applied for long-term disability benefits from
Sun Life Insurance. Id. at ¶ 33. YMCA contends
that as part of the application, Mosher's doctor
certified that she could return to work full-time with no
restrictions on August 1, 2016. Id. Mosher states
that the August 1 date was merely an estimated return to work
date. Rule 56(a)(2) Statement at ¶ 33. Mosher's
application for long-term disability benefits was denied.
Undisputed Facts at ¶ 33. She reapplied and was denied
again. Id. She did not appeal the decision.
contends that Cote attempted to contact Mosher
“numerous” times and left messages for her, but
Mosher did not inform YMCA of her return to work status and
did not submit any updated medical notes regarding her leave.
Id. at ¶ 32. Cote and Mosher spoke on July 8,
2016, and Mosher asked to extend her leave until September.
Id. at ¶ 33. Cote asked Mosher to attend an
in-person meeting on July 19, 2016, to discuss the extension
request and YMCA's upcoming restructuring of positions.
Id. at ¶ 34.
senior leadership team met in June and July 2016 to discuss
restructuring job duties for some positions, as a result of a
proposed Department of Labor rule that would require YMCA to
raise employees' salaries to maintain exemption from
federal overtime laws. Id. at ¶¶ 26-31.
The team discussed eliminating six Membership Director
positions and replacing them with three Regional Membership
Director positions as a result of the proposed Department of
Labor rule. Id.
Mosher met with Executive Director Rick Hersom, Vice
President of Human Resources Lori Lehan, and Chief Operating
Officer Nichol Higdon on July 19, 2016, she requested
additional time off. Id. at ¶ 39. YMCA asserts
that Mosher did not discuss any medical issues involving her
or her triplets and stated that she needed the additional
time to enable her to find childcare. Id. at
¶¶ 38-39. Mosher contends that she did not portray
childcare issues as the sole reason for the request. Rule
56(a)(2) Statement at ¶ 39. YMCA contends that Hersom,
Leghan and Higdon offered to extend Mosher's leave by at
least one additional week. Undisputed Facts at ¶ 40.
Mosher counters that they stated that there would be no
possibility of extending leave beyond one week. Rule 56(a)(2)
Statement at ¶ 40. The parties agree that Hersom, Lehan
and Higdon also explained that YMCA would be restructuring,
eliminating some positions and creating others. Undisputed
Facts at ¶ 42. They stated that the Membership Director
position would likely be eliminated and that YMCA would
likely establish Regional Membership Director positions
instead. Id. YMCA states that Mosher did not express
any interest in that position. Id. at ¶ 43.
Mosher asserts that in fact, she was not capable of
performing that position, or any other positions, when she
was notified of the position in mid-July 2016. Rule 56(a)(2)
Statement at ¶ 43.
states that Lehan understood that Mosher's short-term
disability benefits would soon end if they hadn't ended
already, so Lehan offered Mosher the option of self-selecting
for layoff so that she could continue to collect unemployment
and continue to receive some income. Undisputed Facts at
¶ 44. YMCA states that Mosher was told that if she chose
the self-selecting layoff option, she could resign and then
reapply to work at YMCA again in the fall. Id. at
¶ 44. Mosher, however, asserts that she was given only a
“Hobson's choice between returning to work without
the time off to recover from childbirth…and being
terminated.” Rule 56(a)(2) Statement at ¶ 44.
Mosher further argues that she was “terminated with a
vague invitation to apply for ‘future
openings'” and that there is “no evidence
that [Mosher] failed to apply for any specific open position
or that [Mosher] was told she would be hired for any opening
if she did apply.” Id. at ¶ 45.
contends that it gave Mosher “some time” to
review the options discussed at the meeting and to contact
Lehan when she had made a decision. Undisputed Facts at
¶ 46. Mosher states that she was given “a day or
two” to decide what to do. Rule 56(a)(2) Statement at
¶ 46. YMCA states that on July 22, 2016, Mosher told
Lehan that she would accept the layoff. Undisputed Facts at
¶ 47. Mosher argues that she did not voluntarily accept
the layoff, but rather told Lehan that she would need to take
the layoff even though she didn't want to because she
could not physically return to work. Rule 56(a)(2) Statement
at ¶ 47.
asserts that after Mosher self-selected layoff, YMCA sent her
a letter memorializing the conversation and Mosher's
decision to self-select termination. Undisputed Facts at
¶ 48. YMCA further asserts that, during the July 19
conversation, it had offered to extend Mosher's leave by
three weeks. Undisputed Facts at ¶ 48. Mosher, however,
states that the offer to extend leave was not an actual
offer, but rather an “after-the-fact
characterization” of a phone call between Lehan and
Mosher on July 22, during which time Lehan “made no
such offer.” Rule 56(a)(2) Statement ...