Donnelly v. Greenburgh Central Sch. Dist., No. 11-2448 (2d Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
The District hired Donnelly as a teacher under a three-year probationary contract. During his first year he received the highest rating and had perfect attendance. The District transferred him. His performance included episodes that required admonition. He told a student she was “acting retarded” and wrote the word “retard” on the board and told another to “go back to Mexico.” In the final year of his probation, Donnelly required gallbladder surgery, which occurred on November 27. He took leave through December 5. Under the collective bargaining agreement, Donnelly worked at least 1,247 hours (7.25 per day for 172 days) during the 12-month period prior to his leave: three hours short of Family Medical Leave Act eligibility, 29 U.S.C. 2611(2)(A)(ii). When he returned, he received unsatisfactory evaluations and was denied tenure. The district court held that he was not eligible for FMLA leave and that he had not shown that he was qualified for tenure. The Second Circuit reversed. Donnelly presented a genuine issue of material fact on whether he qualifies for FMLA leave; the standard applied by the court does not apply outside of the college tenure context; and Donnelly presented sufficient evidence to permit a reasonable jury to find unlawful retaliation.