Published March, 2014

Antonio Muñoz v. The Manhattan Club Timeshare Association, Inc., Complaint, United States District Court Southern District of New York (2011)

In 2012, Antonio Muñoz, who has HIV, filed this complaint in the United States District Court Southern District Of New York, alleging that his employer, The Manhattan Club Timeshare Association, Inc. (Manhattan Club), discriminated against him on the grounds of disability and perceived disability, for violations under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Muñoz worked for Manhattan Club from October 2007 to February 2011, during this time he received an Exemplary Manager Award, raises, and positive reviews by management. In December 2009 or January 2010, Muñoz requested that he not be scheduled for night shifts for reasons related to his disability. He stated that he was being treated for a serious, chronic condition that required him to take medication at night, which caused drowsiness and required bed rest to be effective. Muñoz, who had been prescribed this medication as part of his HIV treatment, did not disclose his specific disability. About two months after this exchange, he was informed he would be put back on the night shift. He invoked the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and requested intermittent leave; he also filed a complaint of disability discrimination with his supervisor due to Manhattan Club’s failure to accommodate his needs. He was taken off night shifts, but alleges that his actions caused his employer to begin retaliating against him. The complaint alleges that his subsequent evaluation was negative and full of falsehoods and misrepresentations, and that he was assigned night shifts whenever another night worker called out sick, even though other employees were willing to fill in.

In February 2011, Manhattan Club terminated Muñoz, claiming that this was a result of a customer complaint in December 2010. Muñoz claims he had not been told of this customer complaint nor given the opportunity to address it. He alleges that this explanation was a pretext to discharge him in retaliation for having asserted his right to an accommodation or intermittent leave under the FMLA. The complaint alleges violations of the FMLA and New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), and requests compensatory, punitive, and liquidated damages, as well as the cost of the suit and attorneys fees.

In March 2014, jurors found Manhattan Club liable to Muñoz for retaliation against him under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and New York City Human Rights Law, but not liable for failing to reasonably accommodate him due to his disability under the ADA and NYCHRL. It found that Muñoz was entitled to $185,000 in compensatory damages and nearly $350,000 in punitive damages.