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Articles Posted in Disability Discrimination

People living with disabilities have the right to enjoy gainful employment, free from discrimination based on their illnesses or conditions. Thus, if an employer treats an employee adversely because of the employee’s disability, it may constitute grounds for an employment discrimination lawsuit. Merely because an employer terminates an employee suffering from a disability does not mean that discrimination has occurred, however, as demonstrated in a recent New York case in which the court discussed the elements of a disability discrimination claim. If you have a disability and you believe your employer is engaging in discriminatory practices because of your disability, it is advisable to confer with a knowledgeable New York employment discrimination attorney to discuss whether you may be owed damages.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff, who has multiple sclerosis, was employed by the defendant as a managing agent for a cooperative. Plaintiff filed a charge with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) against the defendant in 2012, complaining of numerous employment actions against her on the basis of her disability and gender. She was then advised she had ninety days to file an employment discrimination lawsuit but did not.

Allegedly, following an audit in which certain employees were reclassified from exempt to non-exempt, the plaintiff was responsible for the overpayment to such employees in an amount in excess of ninety thousand dollars. She was subsequently fired. She then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging employment discrimination on the basis of her disability and gender. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss, which the court granted.

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In many instances, when an employer engages in discriminatory acts to the detriment of an employee, the employee is not the sole victim of the employer’s inappropriate behavior but is merely the most recent party to face adverse effects due to the employer’s undertakings. As such, evidence regarding the employer’s prior discriminatory behavior may be helpful to establish that the employer has a practice of engaging in discrimination. In a recent New York employment discrimination case in which the defendant objected to discovery seeking information regarding other claims, the court explained when evidence of similar acts is discoverable. If you were the victim of workplace discrimination, it is prudent to speak to a knowledgeable New York employment discrimination attorney about your rights.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff worked as a physician assistant at the defendant medical center. He suffered from back pain and cataracts and alleged that despite receiving positive performance reviews, he was treated adversely due to his health issues. He was assigned to move to the interventional radiology department but advised his supervisor that the transfer would negatively affect his health. He was informed, however, that if he did not accept the transfer, he would be seen as quitting. While he met with a human resources manager to discuss the potential transfer and his request for accommodations, he was ultimately terminated.

Reportedly, the plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging claims of disability discrimination. During the discovery phase of the case, the plaintiff sought documents regarding prior complaints or charges of discrimination in any of the defendant’s departments as well as claims against specific employees, and prior requests for accommodations from the interventional radiology department. The defendant objected to the discovery requests and offered to produce documents that solely related to claims against the specific employees.

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People with disabilities are afforded many protections under the law, including the right to reasonable accommodation. Whether a plaintiff made a request for a reasonable accommodation and whether his or her request was rightfully denied is generally a question of fact. Recently, the United States District Court of the Northern District of New York discussed what a plaintiff must allege to set forth a viable failure to make a reasonable accommodation claim under New York law. If you have a disability and suffered discrimination in the workplace due to your disability, it is prudent to consult a skillful New York disability discrimination attorney to discuss what claims you may be able to pursue.

Facts Regarding the Alleged Discrimination

It is alleged that the plaintiff worked for the defendant as a mental health therapy aide. She has a learning disability that makes it difficult for her to write, comprehend, and learn new tasks. She asserted that she began to experience discrimination based on her disability, in that a nurse began to harass her due to the method in which she was completing an assignment, despite the fact that the nurse knew about her disability.

The plaintiff further alleged that the nurse ignored her request for an accommodation and began shaming the plaintiff as a result of the disability. The plaintiff reported the hostile work environment to her supervisor, who refused to intervene. The plaintiff ultimately filed a lawsuit alleging claims of disability discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing in part that the plaintiff failed to set forth sufficient facts to support a claim of failure to make a reasonable accommodation.

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