Re-employement disability law?

Hello:

I will try to make my question brief so you won't delete me.:)

I am a 46 hearing impaired woman who resigned from Citibank in 1996 due to what I considered harassment from a new female executive who said that she was taking away my responsibilities as a supervisor and reassigning me as a clerk so my hearing will not get "affected." This turned into a big issue for me, she was forced by the bank to attend a sensitivity course with the League for the Hard of Hearing. I left after trying for two years to solve the issues, as I couldn't cope with the loss of my title after years of hard work which earned me outstanding ratings and the subsequent harassment.

My question is: I have been unable to find permanent work for 5 years, have worked as a temporary employee in the same dept. for $15,000 less, without benefits because a former manager hired me, but she is now retired. I was let go in May due to budget cuts and I am now looking for permanent work with no luck. I now realize how hard it is for people with disabilities to find employment. Was not aware of this as I worked for almost 24 years non-stop.

My question is: Is there a disability law that will persuade Citibank to re-employ me even if its been 5 years? I need to get the quality of my life back. Have heard vaguely about this law, but don't know where to look for it.

Thanking you in advance for your input.

Sincerely,
Marie Jimenez

1 answer  |  asked Sep 6, 2001 10:31 AM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Rights to Re-Employment

When Citibank had this supervisor go to sensitivity classes, but, apparently, did not give you back you supervisory position, you might have had a claim against Citibank. However, you have probably lost that claim with the passage of time. In NY State that are 3 statutes of limitations governing claims for discrimination, including discrimination based on handicap, 240/300 days under federal law (Title VII or ADA), 1 year for a claim filed with the State Division of Human Rights under the Human Rights Law, and 3 years for a claim filed in court (usually State Court, but possibly Federal Court, depending on the employer). You are probably too late by 2 years.

There is no law that would give you any special rights to re-employment because you have a hearing impairment. The Americans with Disabilities Act (a federal law) and the Human Rights Law (a New York law) are designed to protect you from discrimination based on disability, so that an employer is not suppose to reject you because of a hearing impairment. However, laws preventing discrimination do not confer any special rights of employment or re-employment.

What you may have heard of are special provisions covering employees working for state and local government agencies. Under the New York Civil Service Law, employees who have become unable to work due to disability have certain re-employment rights after they become able to work again. These provisions, one covering work-related disabilities, and another covering non-work related disabilities, DO NOT COVER private employers. So, Citibank would have no obligations under these provisions of law.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Sep 7, 2001 09:07 AM [EST]

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