Suit Alleges Long Island Fire Department Engaged in Disability Discrimination

A “Fire House Attendant” with the Setauket Fire Department on Long Island, New York, has filed suit alleging he was terminated in violation of state and federal disability laws.

Ryan Kilmar filed suit today in US District Court for the Eastern District of New York naming the fire company, District Manager David Sterne and Dispatch Supervisor Janine Leute as defendants.

The suit alleges that Kilmar was diagnosed with depression in February of 2020. After his release from the hospital, he met with Sterne and Leute who informed him he was “not permitted to return work to the Workplace because of the diagnosis of depression.”

Quoting from the complaint:

  • In Response, and upon the District Manager’s request, Mr. Klimar provided Defendants with a note from his regularly treating medical professional, clearing him as medically fit to work his position.
  • Despite Mr. Klimar’s medical clearance, Defendants disallowed Mr. Klimar to return or resume any activity in the Workplace.
  • Rather than provide Plaintiff with reasonable, appropriate, effective and consistent accommodations, Defendants instead, disregarded Mr. Klimar’s medical clearance and recommendation that he is fit for work.
  • Without engaging in any interactive process exploring any possible alternatives, Defendants terminated or constructively terminated Mr. Klimar’s employment for the discriminatory and unfounded premise that he was lame and unable to work or be accommodated for his disability.

The complaint alleges a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the New York State Human Rights Law. Here is a copy of the complaint:

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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