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Massasoit Industrial Corp. v. Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination

Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Plymouth

March 23, 2017

MASSASOIT INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION
v.
MASSACHUSETTS COMMISSION AGAINST DISCRIMINATION & another. [1]

          Heard: December 7, 2016.

         Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on July 2, 2014.

         The case was heard by Thomas F. McGuire, Jr., J., on motions for judgment on the pleadings.

          Susanne Hafer for the plaintiff.

          Wendy A. Cassidy for Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

          Christopher Maffucci, for the intervener, was present but did not argue.

          Present: Cypher, Maldonado, & Blake, JJ.

          BLAKE, J.

         The plaintiff, Massasoit Industrial Corporation (Massasoit), appeals from a judgment of the Superior Court denying its challenge to the decision and final order of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). The MCAD decision affirmed a hearing officer's order, arising from her finding that Massasoit had terminated the employment of William J. Glynn in violation of the handicap and age discrimination provisions of G. L. c. 151B. We affirm.

         Background.

         In 1986, Massasoit hired Glynn as a part-time custodian in its outside maintenance department. At the time, Glynn was fifty-four years old. For the ten years prior to his termination, he performed general custodial work at the registry of motor vehicles (RMV) in Brockton to the satisfaction of his supervisors. He had a spotless personnel record with Massasoit, and had never called in sick or missed work due to illness.

         On March 30, 2007, Glynn left work early because he was not feeling well. Glynn's son took him to the hospital, where he stayed for three days to treat pneumonia. Glynn asked his daughter-in-law to notify his coworker of his absence from work due to his illness, which she did on the next day Glynn was scheduled to work. The coworker assured her that he would notify their supervisor. On April 6, 2007, less than one week after being discharged from the hospital, Glynn was readmitted with chest pains and diagnosed with a heart attack. The daughter-in-law again notified the coworker of Glynn's situation, and he assured her that he would notify their supervisor. He also visited Glynn and assured him that the supervisor had been notified.

         From April 5, 2007, through June 1, 2007, Massasoit assigned another employee to cover Glynn's duties. On May 7, 2007, Glynn attempted to return to work with a doctor's note clearing him to work without restrictions, at which point Massasoit's maintenance facility manager informed him that he had been fired and replaced because he was a "no call/no show." Glynn's further attempts to be reinstated also were unsuccessful. At the time of his termination, at seventy-four years old, Glynn was the oldest person working in the outside maintenance department. On June 1, 2007, Massasoit hired a woman, aged sixty-eight, to replace Glynn.

         Procedural ...


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