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New York Federal Court Denies Summary Judgment on NYPD Applicant’s Disability Discrimination Claims

Lev Craig

The Harman Firm is proud to report that on February 12, 2018, Judge Vernon S. Broderick of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied summary judgment in Umanzor v. New York City Police Department. The court’s decision allows the disability discrimination claims brought against the New York City Police Department (NYPD) by plaintiff Randy Umanzor, who is represented by The Harman Firm, LLP, to proceed to trial.

In May 2013, Mr. Umanzor was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) after experiencing symptoms of weakness and numbness. After his diagnosis, Mr. Umanzor began a treatment regimen, including a prescribed steroid medication and Vitamin B12 injections, but continued to experience some minor MS-related symptoms, like tingling, numbness, and fatigue. Mr. Umanzor applied to join the NYPD’s Police Cadet Corps in February 2014, after being diagnosed with and treated for MS. He passed the physical examination with flying colors.

However, after Mr. Umanzor disclosed his MS diagnosis during the application process, the NYPD placed him “on review.” Mr. Umanzor provided the NYPD with his medical records—which were unintentionally incomplete—and a note from his neurologist, confirming that Mr. Umanzor was “medically stable” to join the NYPD and that his neurological exam was “normal except for mild sensory loss in the first two fingers on the left hand.” After receiving these documents, the NYPD disqualified Mr. Umanzor based on the “brief period of time that had elapsed between his MS diagnosis and the date that he applied to the Police Cadet Corps.”

Mr. Umanzor then retained The Harman Firm, LLP, and filed suit against the NYPD in federal court, bringing disability discrimination claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). The parties cross-moved for summary judgment, which the court denied, finding that there were several disputed issues of material fact that precluded summary judgment.

The parties did not dispute that Mr. Umanzor has a disability and was subjected to an adverse employment action because of it. The court found that whether Mr. Umanzor posed “a significant risk to the health or safety of others” based on a “reasonable medical judgment” was a question for a jury, as the fact that Mr. Umanzor’s physician disagreed with that assessment created a triable issue. In addition, Mr. Umanzor raised disputes as to several facts concerning his disqualification, including whether his neurologist’s letter constituted an assessment of his ability to perform the essential functions of a police officer and what the disqualification decision was ultimately based on, among others.

The Harman Firm, LLP, is committed to zealously advocating for the rights of employees and job applicants who have been the victims of unlawful discrimination, and we are dedicated to ensuring that disabled workers receive equal treatment in the workplace and are considered fairly when applying for jobs. If an employer has discriminated against you in the workplace or during the hiring process because of your disability, perceived disability, or any other protected characteristic, contact the experienced, dedicated employment attorneys at The Harman Firm, LLP.

The attorneys on this case are Walker G. Harman, Jr., and Edgar M. Rivera. The Harman Firm, LLP, wishes to thank Mr. Umanzor for his continued commitment to his claims and for choosing The Harman Firm to represent him. The New York Post, Staten Island Live, and Employment Law Daily have also reported on Mr. Umanzor’s claims.

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