Former ST leasing agent says she was fired over sick days

Annette Beatrice said she started suffering from respiratory issues and migraines after construction began at the leasing office. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Annette Beatrice said she started suffering from respiratory issues and migraines after construction began at the leasing office. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

A former leasing agent working for Stuyvesant Town filed a lawsuit against CompassRock on Friday, saying she was wrongly fired after becoming sick during a construction project at the First Avenue leasing office.

The former employee, Annette Beatrice, said she’d been working at the property since getting hired by Tishman Speyer in 2009. However, it was during February of 2013 when a project to expand the leasing office caused her workplace to be “filled with dust, pungent smells and the constant ear-piercing sounds of drilling and hammering.” As a result, Beatrice said that she started to suffer from migraines as well as respiratory issues and was vomiting at work.

Beatrice said that in an attempt to recover, she was out of work for three weeks. She’d discussed the matter of her health problems stemming from the office environment, but then nothing was done about it, she said. Meanwhile, her condition left her unable to focus at work.

Beatrice said it was on or around July 12 of 2013 when she spoke with a supervisor to request taking a few days off to try and recover from her ongoing symptoms. She was then told she could, as long as she provided a doctor’s note upon her return. However, after 10 days passed, CompassRock’s human resources manager, Hope Gause, called her to inform her she’d be terminated if she didn’t “immediately” provide the note, the suit said. Gause is named in the complaint as a co-defendant. The next day, Gause fired her, Beatrice said.

In the suit, the former employee accused CompassRock of not engaging in a “good faith” process, adding that her symptoms, such as migraines and respiratory issues, constitute disabilities under the law. She claimed her request for time off constituted “a reasonable accommodation under the (New York City Human Rights Law).”

Beatrice is suing for a total of $2,500,000 ($500,000 for lost pay and benefits as well as $2,000,000 in damages including “pain and suffering, anxiety, humiliation, loss of enjoyment of life, physical injury and emotional distress and medical expences”).

Beatrice’s attorney, Douglas Lipsky, declined to comment on pending litigation. A spokesperson for CWCapital also declined to comment.

According to Beatrice’s LinkedIn profile, she currently works for Stellar Management. An email sent to a company email address requesting comment wasn’t returned.

It’s all the rage

By Former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

It is axiomatic that young people must rebel. That is nothing new. It has been going on since the time of the Stone Age I suspect, and certainly during recorded history. Whether it is attire, hairstyles, music, dance or other assorted personal activities, savory or not, kids need to act out, and will. We all did it whether we wish to recall or not. But in the last number of years there has been a disturbing difference… random violence.

To be sure there are no circumstances in which vandalism and even the violent attacks against other innocent people or businesses can be condoned or rationalized. But we see that over and over these days. Protesting against social ills or injustices is part of the fabric of youth. It is in their DNA, and that is a good thing. As people age they tend to become more conservative and complacent and more easily accepting of things the way they are. Young people possess the zeal of idealism and a sense of indignation against the status quo especially when the status quo results in societal unfairness or discrimination. But what we are witnessing of late goes well beyond the pale and the norm.

The demonstrations in response to police shootings in Ferguson, New York City and now Baltimore and elsewhere have turned ugly with indiscriminate acts of destruction. Gone are the days of civil disobedience and peaceful protests. They have been displaced largely with rock and bottle throwing, setting fires and the spewing of vile insults designed to provoke an equally ugly response. To some extent it is not hard to understand how a protest with passions and emotions running high can escalate into aggression after what may be an unjust death at the hands of the local police. But how does that situation become an opportunity to loot local merchants, largely in minority communities, or commit indiscriminate vandalism? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be apoplectic at the sight of such uncontrolled and mindless fury.

But it gets worse. How does the celebration of a baseball World Series victory, or a basketball championship become cause for street violence with the overturning of cars and other acts of random destruction? We have been spectators to that scene all too often. What is going on in America’s inner cities that provokes such aberrant and volatile behavior?

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