Peter Nicoletti sues JLL, alleging retaliation and discrimination

Capital markets broker says he was fired while undergoing treatment for leukemia, other medical issues

Colliers’ Peter Nicoletti (Colliers, iStock)
Colliers’ Peter Nicoletti (Colliers, iStock)

Prominent capital markets broker Peter Nicoletti has sued JLL, where he worked for more than a decade, claiming the firm discriminated and retaliated against him while he underwent treatment for leukemia.

Nicoletti, who left JLL for Colliers International in 2020, claims he was in fact fired by the brokerage. He initially filed the lawsuit against JLL in federal court in March 2021, Bisnow reported, alleging he was pushed out by JLL executives after being forced to go on leave and work from home while receiving medical treatment between 2017 and 2019.

Five months after filing, Nicoletti amended the suit to add a charge of discrimination under the Americans with Disaibilities Act. He seeks at least $75,000 in damages for violations of that law as well as the Family and Medical Leave Act, according to Bisnow, plus additional damages for breach of contract on the grounds that JLL failed to pay commissions he was owed after his alleged May 2020 termination.

JLL has denied the allegations. Reached by Bisnow, the company’s attorney declined to comment, according to the publication.

An update last month from JLL and Nicoletti’s attorneys revealed that no settlement discussions have taken place; a status hearing is scheduled for May 5, according to Bisnow.

In the complaint, Nicoletti says he was fired by JLL less than a year after the brokerage closed on its $2 billion acquisition of Dallas-based HFF in 2019. Nicoletti claims he tried to figure out his role at the company after the merger, only to be told he had a reputation for “not being a team player.”

From there, Nicoletti claimed the brokerage made multiple attempts to prevent him from performing his work, including disbanding his team, shutting him out of meetings and relocating him to different corporate offices.

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Nicoletti said when he was fired, he was told it was for failing to attend Monday meetings and for low production during a year in which he suffered a heart attack, kidney and liver failure and said he was hospitalized with pneumonia.

He alleged he kept JLL informed of his medical problems. But upon his firing, Nicoletti claimed, a JLL human resources employee said the company was unaware of any health issues.

Meanwhile, Nicoletti spent the last few years of his 13-year tenure at JLL battling cancer after his 2017 diagnosis, according to the lawsuit. The broker says he continued to work despite going on leave and finished 2017 as a top producer. The lawsuit alleges he finished among the firm’s top 10 percent of capital markets producers in 2018, despite working from home for several months due to stem cell treatment, according to Bisnow, which reports that JLL disputed that claim.

Among the deals Nicoletti reportedly brokered in 2018 was Blackstone’s $640 million sale of Five Bryant Park to Savanna.

Shortly after leaving JLL, Colliers hired Nicoletti as managing director and head of New York City Capital Markets. In the role, Nicoletti leads an investment sales team and oversees debt and equity placement.

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[Bisnow] — Holden Walter-Warner