Event Planning Startup Sued for Failing to Accommodate, Wrongful Termination

A New York city online event planning service is being sued by a former employee because it failed to accommodate his irritable bowels, and then fired him for having them.

Venuebook, an online service that brings event planners and venues together, hired Daniel Pozmanter as lead software engineer in November 2015, according to the complaint. Several months before beginning work Pozmanter suffered a severe concussion. When he started with Venuebook he was still experiencing symptoms related to the concussion, including pain and nausea.

In order to treat these symptoms, Pozmanter began seeing a physical therapist in March 2016. In May 2016 he began seeing a gastroenterologist for treatment of chronic irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

After discussing his treatment plan for IBS with a supervisor, Pozmanter was allowed to work remotely from home in the mornings to accommodate his condition. 

Pozmanter claims the accommodation worked out well, he was able to fulfill his job responsibilities, received praise from supervisors and coworkers and, a year after being hired, was given a promotion.

In late December, 2016 Pozmanter suffered another concussion, according to the complaint. He consulted a neurologist, who recommended he rest and minimize screen time as much as possible. In addition, Pozmanter suffered from occasionally slurred speech, trouble with memory, concentration, and language, nausea, low energy and drowsiness.

After additional accommodations were made for him, Pozmanter claims he was able to continue to fulfill his job duties. These accommodations included continuing to work at home in the mornings. But on January 24, 2017, Pozmanter was informed this policy would be reversed.

Then, after being diagnosed with the flu and taking a couple of days off, he reported to work because he was afraid of being fired if he did not, even though he was still suffering from flu-related symptoms. The next day he was terminated.

Pozmanter claims “Venuebook unilaterally revoked [his] remote-work accommodation, then summarily terminated his employment just one day after his return from sick leave, in part due to his use of a previously agreed-upon accommodation.”

Pozmanter is represented by Walker Harman of New York City who brought the case in the Southern District of New York.

Image Source: Mandy Downs (Flickr)