Disability Discrimination Claims Dismissed Against MTA

From Wu v. Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 2020 WL 615626, at *10 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 7,  2020):

Wu has not established his prima facie case of discrimination because he not adduced any evidence that the incidents at issue in this case were the result of disability discrimination. He has not, for instance, put forth evidence that his managers or any other MTA employees ever negatively referenced his disabilities or made disparaging comments about people with disabilities. See Littlejohn v. City of New York, 795 F.3d 297, 312 (2d Cir. 2015). Nor is there any indication in the record that Wu was treated “less favorably” than a non-disabled MTA employee who was “similarly situated in all material respects.” Id. (quoting Mandell v. Cnty. of Suffolk, 316 F.3d 368, 379 (2d Cir. 2003)). Wu’s sole argument on this point is that Shaw and Vivekanandam both admitted that they sometimes used the MTA internet for personal reasons, even though Wu was punished for the same type of activity. Moriarty Decl., Ex. J (Vivekanandam Deposition) at 68:9-18; Wong Decl., Ex. C (Shaw Deposition) at 42:2-9. But Wu is not similarly situated to his own supervisors. See, e.g., Zuffante v. Elderplan, Inc., No. 02-cv-3250 (WHP), 2004 WL 744858, at *6 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2004) (employee and his assistant were not similarly situated because they reported to different people and had significantly different job responsibilities). Put simply, there is no evidence in the record that any Metro-North employees involved in the events at issue in this case were motivated by any discriminatory animus towards Wu. Wu’s claims—which at their core allege that he was mistreated “because [he] had exercised rights protected by the ADA,” see Complaint at ¶ 63—sound in retaliation, not discrimination. Accordingly, Defendants’ motion for summary judgment on Wu’s ADA and NYSHRL discrimination claims based on alleged adverse employment actions is granted.

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