Victory for Former Verizon Employee in Discrimination Case

The Southern District of New York recently denied an employer’s motion for summary judgment in a disability discrimination case brought by Beranbaum Menken LLP on behalf of a former Verizon employee. The employee had been a cable technician for almost 30 years. Eventually he began to suffer knee and back injuries. The suit alleges that Verizon’s failure to accommodate his disability resulted in a serious on-the-job accident, which left him suffering from permanent, painful injuries. The suit further alleges that, rather than engage in a dialogue with Peerless to determine what disability accommodations might allow him to make productive use his skills and experience, as is required by law, Verizon simply retaliated against him by stripping him of all of his job responsibilities – whether they were affected by his disability or not – and relegating him to the employee break room. In July of 2012, Verizon moved for summary judgment, requesting that the court determine as a matter of law that Verizon had not violated federal or city disability laws. The court denied the motion on all counts, meaning that the case will proceed to trial before a jury. The trial is currently scheduled for October 9, 2012. This victory for disability rights advocates comes on the heels of another disability discrimination suit brought against Verizon. That suit was a nationwide class action brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and settled in July of last year for  $20 million.