Disability (Mental Illness) Discrimination Claim Against Hospital Survives Dismissal

In Duckett v New York Presbyt. Hosp., 2015 NY Slip Op 05769 (App. Div. 1st Dept. July 2, 2015), the court affirmed the denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s disability discrimination claim.

The court held:

Issues of fact exist as to whether the hospital unlawfully terminated petitioner’s employment because of her disability. There is evidence in the record that plaintiff was suffering from a mental illness that was affecting her job performance before the hospital terminated her employment. There is also evidence that hospital employees, including plaintiff’s supervisor, were aware of her physical and mental health issues shortly before she took medical leave, and that her supervisor was concerned about her fitness to work upon her return.

The court also held that plaintiff was not estopped from asserting her discrimination claims under the State and City Human Rights Laws by her receipt of federal and state disability benefits, and that the defendant hospital failed to establish as a matter of law “that plaintiff could not have performed her job duties with a reasonable accommodation.”

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