A New York town’s housing authority is being sued by a teenager who took a summer job with it for discriminating against him because he suffered from epilepsy.
Theresa Hardy, the mother and legal guardian of the teenager, referred to as “M.D.” in court documents, is suing the New Rochelle Housing Authority on his behalf. M.D. suffers from epilepsy and learning disabilities.
In the summer of 2017 M.D. got a job with the authority working outside with other teenagers doing maintenance and cleanup work for a camp run by the authority for young children, according to the complaint.
M.D. claims that when he was hired, his mother informed the authority of his condition. In addition to pay, M.D. was to receive educational credits from the education department.
On July 17, 2017, while working outside, M.D. suffered a seizure. According to M.D.’s co-workers, Charles Morgan, his supervisor, “freaked out.” Morgan allegedly told Hardy that M.D. was a “liability” and he didn’t want him “dying on the job.”
Morgan told Hardy that M.D. could not return to work until he spoke to his legal advisors. A week later, not having heard from Morgan, Hardy made a complaint to the housing authority’s executive director.
Hardy received a letter dated July 31, 2017 stating that “M.D. would not be allowed to return to work unless he presented a physician’s note clearing him to return to the job and disclosing any ‘restrictions or limitations’ he might have.”
M.D. claims that, even after providing the doctor’s note, he was not allowed return to his job; instead he was “confined . . . to indoor clerical work away from the other teenage summer employees.” In addition, he claims the housing authority stopped communicating with the education department “resulting in his losing out on educational credits he was supposed to receive for this position,” the complaint states.
The complaint alleges that the housing authority’s “conduct towards M.D. at his very first job has had devastating psychological consequences, causing M.D. to question whether he would ever be allowed to be a functioning member of society.”
M.D and Hardy are represented by Joshua Bernstein of New York City who brought the action in the Southern District of New York.
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