Plaintiff commenced this action to recover damages for employment discrimination on the basis of disability and age in violation of the New York State Human Rights Law, at Executive Law § 296 (NYSHRL) and the New York City Human Rights Law, at Administrative Code of City of NY § 8-107 (NYCHRL). Plaintiff alleges that defendant terminated her employment because she was physically restricted from performing a certain filing task, as she had recently undergone surgery and was still recovering. Plaintiff also alleges that, after the termination, her employer misrepresented the facts of her discharge to the New York State Department of Labor in order to prevent her from claiming unemployment benefits.
The Appellate Division reversed the motion court's denial of summary judgment for defendant, and dismissed the complaint.
Practice points: As to the alleged violations of the NYSHRL, defendant submitted plaintiff's medical documentation indicating that she was cleared to return to work "without restrictions." This evidence establishes, prima facie, that plaintiff did not suffer a disability requiring any accommodation. Defendant met its burden of offering a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for terminating plaintiff's employment and demonstrated that there were no material issues of fact as to whether those explanations were pretextual.
As to the alleged violations of the NYCHRL, defendant made a prima facie showing that there is no evidentiary route that could allow a jury to believe that discrimination played a role in its challenged actions.
Student note: The testimony of defendant's employees before the New York State Department of Labor was absolutely privileged.
Case: Bull v. Metropolitan Jewish Health Systems, Inc., NY Slip Op 05703 (2d Dep't July 19, 2017)
Here is the decision.
Tomorrow's issue: Dismissal of a legal malpractice claim.