Disability Discrimination Claims Survive Summary Judgment Against NYS Gaming Commission

In Wolfe-Santos v. NYS Gaming Com’n, No. 160963-2016, 2023 WL 5431870 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County Aug. 22, 2023), the court, inter alia, denied defendants’ motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s disability discrimination claims.

From the decision:

Here, assuming arguendo that defendants met their burden and established that they did not discriminate against plaintiff based upon her disability, that she was not denied a reasonable accommodation or that she could not perform he essential functions of her job, plaintiff has raised a triable issue of fact on each point sufficient to survive summary judgment. At a minimum, defendants have not shown entitlement to summary judgment on plaintiff’s NYCHRL-based failure to accommodate claim, since they have not established that a temporary site visit reduction would place an undue hardship on the Commission.

Further, a reasonable fact-finder could weight the parties’ credibility and find that plaintiff’s version of events, to wit, that she suffered from a disability and required a temporary reduction of work site visits, which she duly requested and was denied, led to adverse actions such as the numerous evaluations with negative performance appraisals and incorrect accrual tallies, that defendants were laying a groundwork which would justify plaintiff’s eventual termination. On this final point, to the extent that defendants argue plaintiff’s termination was by operation of law, the court disagrees. If defendants had provided plaintiff with the reasonable accommodation she requested, a temporary reduction in site visits, perhaps she never would have gone out on disability leave.

The court concluded that “[o]n this record, where triable issues of fact abound on the parties’ material disputes of whether plaintiff even requested a reasonable accommodation, summary judgment is not warranted.”

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