Image Source: Alan Levine
A music teacher is suing his former employer for failing to rectify a condition that aggravated his respiratory problems.
Bruce Purse worked as a teacher for the Mount Vernon City School District or ten years.
He was placed in a room that was subject to water leaks from rain. He routinely observed mold on the walls, baseboards and in the carpet in the classroom. The school district was aware of the problem, according to his complaint.
Two years ago Purse’s breathing became worse; he was coughing regularly and had difficulty catching his breath. According to the complaint, after consulting with a pulmonary specialist he learned that the moldy condition of the classroom was directly related to his health problems.
He says the school district was informed, but refused to either rectify the dangerous conditions or accommodate him by finding him another classroom to work from, according to the complaint.
Finally, his doctor advised him that to protect his health he needed to stay out of the dangerous environment. Heeding this advice, Purse resigned in January 2017, which he considers to be effectively termination, according to the complaint.
Purse filed his action in the Southern District of New York alleging that he was forced to resign as a result of the school district’s failure accommodate his disability and seeks damages both compensatory and punitive. He is represented by Robert S. Powers of North Babylon, New York.
The district did not return a message requesting comment.