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Thursday, September 04, 2014

Petition dismissed after former employee failed to rebut employer’s prima facie evidence that it did not unlawfully discriminate against him


Petition dismissed after former employee failed to rebut employer’s prima facie evidence that it did not unlawfully discriminate against him 
2014 NY Slip Op 05959, Appellate Division, Second Department

Plaintiff appealed Supreme Court's dismissal of his “second cause of action” that alleged he had suffered unlawful discrimination in employment because of his disability. Plaintiff contended that his former employer’s failed to provide a reasonable accommodation of his disability and its refusal to renew plaintiff’s term appointment as a clinical associate professor was the result of unlawful discrimination.

The Appellate Division sustained Supreme Court’s ruling, explaining that although New York State’s Human Rights Law provides  that it is an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to refuse to provide reasonable accommodations to the known disabilities of an employee, “[t]he modified work schedule accommodation the plaintiff sought involved his schedule at the nonparty Kings County Hospital Center, which, although 'affiliated' with the plaintiff's now former employer, the defendant State University of New York, Downstate College of Medicine (hereafter SUNY), is not a facility owned and operated by SUNY.”

Further, said the court, SUNY established, prima facie, its entitlement to judgment as a matter of law with evidence showing that, while the plaintiff suffered from a disability related to surgery, he never proposed a reasonable accommodation that [SUNY] refused to make.

As to plaintiff’s allegation concerning SUNY’s refusal to renew his term appointment, the Appellate Division said that SUNY had demonstrated, prima facie, that its action “not to renew the plaintiff's term appointment as a clinical associate professor at SUNY was motivated by legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons.”

SUNY’s prima facie rebuttal of plaintiff’s allegations shifted the burden of going forward to plaintiff to show that SUNY’s explanations were merely subterfuge for unlawful discrimination. However, said the Appellate Division, plaintiff [1] “failed to raise a triable issue of fact with evidence that he proposed a reasonable accommodation that [SUNY] refused to make” nor did plaintiff [2] “raise a triable issue of fact with evidence from which one could infer that the reasons not to renew his term appointment as a clinical associate professor at [SUNY] were pretextual.”

Thus, said the court, “Supreme Court correctly granted that branch of [SUNY’s] motion which was for summary judgment dismissing the second cause of action, which alleged employment discrimination based on disability.”
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Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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