BROAD SWEEP OF DISABILITY PROVISIONS OF CITY HUMAN RIGHTS LAW CLARIFIED ANDAFFIRMED
In a July 28, 2009 decision, available at 2009 WL 225617, New York's Appellate Divsion, First Department, ruled that, under the City Human Rights Law:
an individualized interactive process by which a covered entity considers a request for reasonable accommodation is required.
there is no accommodation (whether it be indefinite leave time or any other need created by a disability) that is categorically excluded from the universe of reasonable accommodation.
an accommodation under Administrative Code § 8-107(18) cannot be considered unreasonable unless the covered entity proves that the accommodation would cause undue hardship.
the determination of "disability" under the City Human Rights Law involves neither a question of "substantial impairment of a major life function," nor the question of whether the plaintiff could, with reasonable accommodation, satisfy the essential requisites of the job. Rather, it is based entirely on whether the plaintiff has (or is perceived to have) a physical, medical, mental, or psychological impairment.
the plain language of the City Human Rights law provides that it is the employer that has the burden of proving as an affirmative defense the proposition that a plaintiff, even with reasonable accommodation, could not satisfy the essential requisites of a job.
The Local Civil Rights Restoration Act had at its core revisions to the text of Administrative Code § 8-130 (the section directing how all provisions of the statute are to be interpreted), and the import of the Restoration Act and of amended Administrative Code § 8-130 was to "reject unequivocally" the practice of constructing City Human Rights Law provisions in tandem with their State and federal counterparts.