Employer has the burden of proving an individual cannot perform the essential functions of the position regardless of any reasonable accommodation provided
2015 NY Slip Op 03465, Appellate Division, First Department
Supreme Court granted the New York City’s Department of Sanitation’s [DOS] motion to dismiss the Article 78 petition filed by an applicant [Applicant] for employment with DOS alleging “disability-based” unlawful discrimination “for failure to state a cause of action.”
Applicant appealed and the Appellate Division unanimously reversed the lower court’s ruling.
Applicant claimed that DOS refused to hire him, notwithstanding he otherwise proved qualified for employment as a sanitation worker based solely on his having a psoriasis condition on his hands. This said the court “makes out causes of action for disability-based discrimination under the New York State and New York City Human Rights Laws.”
The State Human Rights Law required Applicant to plead that he could perform the essential functions of the job if he were afforded reasonable accommodation. Here, said the Appellate Division, Applicant’s complaint alleged that gloves would have constituted a sufficient accommodation to enable him to perform the work satisfied this requirement.
The court then explained that whether DOS was justified in considering Applicant’s psoriasis disqualified him for the position “on the grounds that the condition would have prevented him from performing the essential functions of the position" and “no accommodation (including gloves) would have obviated the interference” cannot be determined from the face of the complaint and the documentary exhibits annexed to it.
Although DOS had submitted evidence in support of its motion tending to show that Applicant's condition rendered him incapable of performing the job of a sanitation worker, its motion was not one seeking summary judgment and thus Supreme Court should have denied its motion to dismiss Applicant’s petition.
The decision is posted on the Internet at: