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  • Writer's pictureKirstin Kennedy

Man filed suit alleging he was mocked by a supervisor due to disability

For immediate release

PITTSBURGH – A Pennsylvania man has filed suit against a Connecticut company and alleged that he was terminated after he reported an incident wherein his supervisor mocked his disability.

According to a civil complaint filed in the Western District Court of Pennsylvania, Plaintiff Mark Santavicca began to work for United Rentals, formerly Blueline Rentals, in May 2017 as a Senior Mechanic. He was based out of the company’s location in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, according to the filing.

Mr. Santavicca alleged that, prior to his hiring, he was diagnosed with Nystagmus, a condition which causes involuntary movement of the eyes and head. According to the complaint, he disclosed his disability to both his branch manager and immediate supervisor at the time of his hiring.

Nearly one year into his employment, in March 2018, Mr. Santavicca was assigned to operate on a large generator which was stored outside on United Rental property, according to the filing. Mr. Santavicca alleged that, as a result of a glare from the sun, he leaned very close to the generator so that he could see the screen. According to the report, two supervising employees stood behind Mr. Santavicca and mocked him. He alleged that one of the men began shaking his head, mocking Mr. Santavicca’s disability.

Soon after the incident, he reported his concerns to the branch manager; however, according to the report, no action was taken. Mr. Santavicca then allegedly made a report to the human resources department at Blueline Rentals, now United Rentals, and he was informed that the matter would be investigated. According to the complaint, the HR department, without viewing any video surveillance of the incident, ruled the investigation inconclusive. Mr. Santavicca was terminated soon after, and the company cited restructuring as the cause of his dismissal, according to the complaint.

Lead Attorney Prabhu Narahari asserted that, in reality, Mr. Santavicca was terminated as a result of his disability and the company’s “incorrect perception that he was unable to perform the essential functions of his job.” Further, according to the assertions in the complaint, the company terminated his position in retaliation for reporting the discrimination he experienced.

Attorney Narahari claimed violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Specifically, Attorney Narahari accused United Rentals of retaliation against Mr. Santavicca for his assertion of rights under the ADA and PHRA, as well as for the discrimination that he was subjected to based on his disability.

Prior to the filing of the lawsuit, Mr. Santavicca filed a complaint through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and was provided a right to sue.

Ruppert Manes Narahari is a Pittsburgh-based employment law firm representing workers who have been wrongfully terminated, harassed, or cheated by their employers. The firm also provides business law-related services and represents small businesses and entrepreneurs in startup, transactional, and litigation matters.

For more information on the claims made by Mr. Santavicca against United Rentals, contact the law office of Ruppert Manes Narahari at 412-626-5626.

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