Disability Discrimination Claims Properly Dismissed Against Duane Reade

In Best v. Duane Reade, Inc. (2d Cir. 17-380 March 22, 2018) (Summary Order), the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s failure-to-accommodate, discrimination, and retaliation claims under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Here is the legal standard:[1]As usual, citations are omitted.

ADA claims are analyzed under the burden-shifting
framework established for discrimination claims: the plaintiff must establish a prima facie case; the employer must then demonstrate a non-discriminatory reason for the adverse employment action; and the plaintiff must then demonstrate that the reason was pretextual. To establish a prima facie case, the plaintiff must demonstrate that (1) she suffered from a disability; (2) the employer was aware of the
disability; (3) the plaintiff could perform the essential functions of the job with a reasonable accommodation; and (4) the employer refused to make such accommodation.

The court next explains why plaintiff failed to make out a prima facie case:

Even assuming that Best was disabled within the meaning of the ADA, she did not counter Duane Reade’s evidence that it attempted to accommodate her disability, a shoulder injury. When Best gave her supervisor a doctor’s note stating that she could not lift heavy objects, the supervisor told her to “go do whatever she wanted around the store.” Such reassignment or “job restructuring” may be considered a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12111(9)(B); 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(o)(1)(ii)[.]

As to plaintiff’s discrimination and retaliation claims, the court explained that “Duane Reade established that it fired Best
because of attendance issues, not because of her disability or in retaliation for her complaints.” Notably, “[h]er supervisor issued four disciplinary write-ups, and referred Best’s file to human resources for
a termination decision, before Best submitted a doctor’s note describing her alleged disability,” and “[n]othing in the record indicates that the attendance issues were a pretext for firing her.”

1 As usual, citations are omitted.
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