Disability Law

On May 12, 2021, the Second Circuit court of appeals in the case of Quinones v. City of Binghamton, 20-3078 reversed the dismissal of a discrimination case brought by police lieutenant Alan Quinones against the City of Binghamton, the City’s Mayor and two police department officials. In so doing, the appellate court made clear that even in the absence of a specified claim for discrimination, if there are sufficient facts, that is sufficient to support such a cause of action. Conversely, the court upheld the dismissal of Quinones retaliation claim by the district court. After Quinones filed his complaint…
The New York State legislature is currently considering passage of the Medical Aid in Dying Act (Assembly Bill 4321-A) which is an extremely important piece of legislation which will benefit many New Yorkers and their families, but they are unaware of it. This legislation was initially introduced by Assembly member Amy Pauling, and currently has multiple sponsors. The proposed law is modeled on the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.  First introduced for consideration in 1995, the right to die with dignity law has endured because it remains necessary and well supported. An April 2018 Quinnipiac University poll demonstrates…
March 24, 2021 was Equal Pay Day in the U.S. The White House issued “A Proclamation on National Equal Pay Day, 2021” in which the Biden-Harris Administration drew attention to the fact that in 2019, women working full-time were on average paid just $0.82 for every dollar paid to male employees. The pay disparities are even greater for women of color, with Black, Native American and Hispanic women, earning 63% , 60% and 55%, respectively, of the wages made by white men. Pay disparities are entrenched and have far-reaching consequences. As detailed by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in…
Many are familiar with Uber’s high-profile scofflaw policy toward paying its drivers.  For years, disability advocates have been challenging a lesser-known violation—its fleet is not accessible for people who use non-folding wheelchairs. Uber’s motto is “We ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion.”  Opportunity for some, barriers for others. It’s not fair that we… Continue reading The Other Uber Problem – Wheelchair Access →
One of the hottest topics in the ADA legal world is whether websites (and their ilk, like smartphone applications or other technological public platforms) have to be accessible to people with disabilities. Without ADA oversight, website development often prioritizes certain users—those who access content visually or using a mouse, for example. Blind people who use a screen… Continue reading Should Disability Advocates Wait for Biden Administration Regulations on Internet Accessibility? →
Zoning laws can pose serious barriers to people with disabilities and their organizations.  Setback codes block building ramps.  Rules forbidding people who are not related from living together in residential neighborhoods bar group homes.  Disability discrimination laws – the ADA, the Fair Housing Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and local laws, often make… Continue reading Do Zoning Laws Discriminate Against People with Disabilities? →
In the midst of violence that seems targeted at our civic life and a pandemic imposing “social distancing,” I find myself thinking a lot about community.  As I have previously reflected, “community integration” is a legal phrase about the ADA’s requirement to provide services to people with disabilities in small, community-based settings rather than in… Continue reading Independence Does Not Mean Isolation →
On December 31, 2020 the Healthy Terminals Act was signed into law by Governor Mario Cuomo requiring employees working at airports and with contractors providing airport food services to receive fringe benefits or cash supplements. The bill was co-sponsored by State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, D-Bronx and supported by Service Employees International Union Local 32 BJ, the union representing many of the airport workers.  It is expected that this new law will offset the cost of health care for airport employees who work performing building services, cabin cleaners and wheelchairs and baggage claims attendants. These workers generally cannot afford…
Thirty years ago, people in the United States on both sides of the aisle came to a clear agreement: we need to build houses and apartments that are accessible to people with disabilities, including people who use wheelchairs. Laws and regulations were passed to require that accessible home design and construction. Thirty years later, these rules… Continue reading Housing Accessibility →
Mayor De Blasio recently signed legislation amending NYC’s paid safe and sick leave law. The new changes took effect on September 30, 2020 and bring NYC’s law more into line with NYS’s paid sick leave law. Key Changes to Be Aware of The key changes in the law that employees in NYC should know about are the following: Employees begin accruing leave immediately upon starting a job and can use the leave as soon as it is accrued; the previous requirement that an employee work for 80 hours to be eligible for safe/sick leave has been removed. Employers with…
It is, of course, illegal to discriminate against an employee because they have a disability—to fire someone because the employer learns they have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, for example.  But what about when the disability causes conduct that might otherwise be a legitimate basis for an action like firing? What if, for example, that schizophrenia… Continue reading Does the ADA Require More Flexible Employee “Misconduct” Rules? →
The EEOC recently posted updated guidance about employers’ obligations related to COVID, What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws.  Like the EEOC, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from people trying to understand how to navigate work in these times.  Here are some common questions… Continue reading COVID and Workplace Rights: 4 Common Questions →
The recent failure of the criminal justice system to hold anyone accountable for the death of Breonna Taylor is a devastating reminder of that system’s failures.  As police misconduct attorney and author Andrea Ritchie told the New York Times, “The system that killed Breonna Taylor is not set up to provide justice or reparations for… Continue reading Rethinking Demands for Law Enforcement Training in ADA Lawsuits →