Hendler v. Intelecom USA, Inc.

An employee with asthma sued his employer for discriminating and retaliating against him based on his disability, in violation of federal and state law. The employee complained that he was constantly exposed to secondhand smoke in the office and, after complaining about it, was ridiculed by his supervisor and coworkers. The court found that there were sufficient questions of fact for the employee to proceed with most elements of his claim, including (1) that he was disabled under federal and state law because he was substantially limited in the major life activity of breathing due to his asthma; (2) that the comments made to the employee were pervasive and severe enough to constitute a hostile work environment (and were made because of his breathing difficulties); (3) that he was discriminated against based on his disability in violation of state law; and (4) that he was retaliated against under federal law based on his complaints about the failure to accommodate his need for a smoke-free work environment. The court dismissed the retaliation claim based on state law because that law did not apply to complaints about a lack of reasonable accommodations. The court also dismissed the claim of retaliation based on the employee’s call to the local health department because there was no proof that the employer knew about the call and therefore there was no causal link between the call and the employee’s termination


Hendler v. Intelecom USA, Inc., 963 F.Supp. 200 (E.D.N.Y. 1997).

  • United States
  • Apr 15, 1997
  • U.S. District Court, E.D. New York


Plaintiff Stephen Hendler

Defendant Intelecom USA, Inc.

Legislation Cited

Americans with Disabilities Act

New York Human Rights Law

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