The City of New York and New York Police Department (NYPD) resolved a disability discrimination case involving a job applicant with a history of epilepsy in December 2016.
Jonathan Pesce passed a competitive service exam for a police officer position with the NYPD in 2008. In 2010, Pesce presented for a medical examination as a requirement for the job. He truthfully disclosed his history of seizures and that he was prescribed anti-seizure medication. Immediately, Pesce was medically disqualified. Pesce’s appeal for reversal of the decision was denied.
In 2012, Pesce filed a lawsuit against the City of New York and the NYPD for failing to conduct an individualized medical assessment and for using a blanket policy to exclude job applicants with a history of seizures and/or who are prescribed anti-seizure medication, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the New York Human Rights Law. In May 2016, a trial was held and a jury awarded Pesce $257,762.00 in back pay. Pesce was hired as a probationary police officer in October 2016.
The case was finalized in December 2016 through a settlement agreement that required the City of New York to pay an additional amount in back pay to Pesce, as well as his attorney’s fees.
The resolution of this case is a great victory! It will have a huge impact for future job applicants. Special thanks to Jeanne A. Carpenter Legal Defense Fund network attorneys Brad Conover and Molly Smithsimon of Conover Law Offices for their diligent work on this case!