Disability Discrimination

Section 292(21) of the NYSHRL broadly defines “disability” as

(a) a physical, mental or medical impairment resulting from anatomical, physiological, genetic or neurological conditions which prevents the exercise of a normal bodily function or is demonstrable by medically accepted clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques or

(b) a record of such an impairment or

(c) a condition regarded by others as such an impairment, provided, however, that in all provisions of this article dealing with employment, the term shall be limited to disabilities which, upon the provision of reasonable accommodations, do not prevent the complainant from performing in a reasonable manner the activities involved in the job or occupation sought or held.

Thus, the NYSHRL recognizes nearly any physical impairment or illness as a disability.

Your employer cannot terminate you, or take any adverse action against you, because of your disability. If you need an accommodation, you should begin a dialogue with your employer, backed up by records from your physician, if necessary, indicating the work duties which require accommodation. The employer has to reasonably accommodate an employee, but the accommodation cannot unduly burden the employer, and the employee must always be able to perform the essential functions of the job. Consequently, reference to a written job description may be important in determining what accommodations are reasonable.

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