Understanding the Freckleton v. Mercy College NY ADA Case: A Lesson in Reasonable Accommodations and Retaliation

Distressed man in suit

The Freckleton v. Mercy College NY case highlights the importance of reasonable accommodations and retaliation protections for individuals with disabilities. The case involves a nursing student who alleged racial discrimination, retaliation, and failure to accommodate a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The plaintiff submitted a letter to the college regarding her anxiety and requested accommodations. The college requested additional information but ultimately denied her request and terminated her enrollment. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit, and the court granted the motion to dismiss for failure to accommodate and discrimination claims but denied it for ADA retaliation.

The court held that a delay in providing a reasonable accommodation can be considered a constructive denial, and courts have found delays of approximately four months to be unreasonable. However, in this case, the plaintiff failed to allege that the college denied her accommodation request, only that they requested additional information.

Regarding disability discrimination, the court found that the plaintiff failed to provide any evidence of discriminatory comments or actions and did not identify others who were treated differently by the college.

However, the plaintiff's retaliation claim survived the motion to dismiss. She showed that she engaged in a protected activity by requesting a reasonable accommodation, the college was aware of this activity, they took adverse action against her by terminating her enrollment, and there was a causal connection based on temporal proximity.

This case highlights the importance of timely and reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities and the protections against retaliation for requesting such accommodations. Employers and educational institutions must take proactive measures to provide accommodations and avoid discriminatory actions.

In conclusion, the Freckleton v. Mercy College NY case serves as a reminder that ADA protections must be taken seriously, and failure to comply can lead to legal consequences. It is crucial to provide reasonable accommodations and to avoid retaliation against individuals who request them.
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