Age, Disability Discrimination Claims Should Have Been Dismissed; Plaintiff Did Not Suffer From a “Disability” At the Time of Her Termination

In Bull v. Metro. Jewish Health Sys., Inc., No. 18128/12, 2017 WL 3045858 (N.Y. App. Div. 2d Dept. July 19, 2017), the Appellate Division held that the lower court should have dismissed plaintiff’s claims of age and disability discrimination.

Plaintiff alleged, inter alia, “that the defendant discriminated against her on the basis of her age and disability by terminating her employment because she was physically restricted from performing a certain filing task, as she had recently undergone surgery and was still recovering.”

In finding that dismissal was warranted, the court explained:

The Supreme Court should have granted that branch of the defendant’s motion which was for summary judgment dismissing the cause of action alleging violations of the NYSHRL. In support of its motion, the defendant submitted the medical documentation that the plaintiff provided the defendant when she returned to work following her surgery, which indicated that she was cleared for work “without restrictions.” This evidence established, prima facie, that the plaintiff did not suffer a disability requiring any accommodation at the time her employment was terminated (see Matter of Delta Air Lines v. New York State Div. of Human Rights, 91 N.Y.2d 65; Caban v. New York Methodist Hosp., 119 AD3d 717, 718; cf. Matter of Levi v. Lauro, 58 AD3d 851, 852). In addition, the defendant met its burden of offering a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for terminating the plaintiff’s employment and demonstrated that there were no material issues of fact as to whether those explanations were pretextual (see Forrest v. Jewish Guild for the Blind, 3 NY3d 295, 305; Moise v. Uptown Communications & Elec., Inc., 134 AD3d 782, 782–783; Singh v. Covenant Aviation Sec., LLC, 131 AD3d 1158, 1159–1160; Furfero v.. St. John’s Univ., 94 AD3d 695, 697). In opposition to this showing, the plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact, inter alia, as to whether the defendant’s proffered explanations for the termination of her employment were merely pretextual