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Liability for aiding, abetting possible under state law

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

You may not be liable personally under the ADA, but that doesn’t mean you are entirely off the hook. Under the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), an individual who “actually participates in the conduct giving rise to the discrimination claim” can be held liable for the consequences.

Recent case: Tracy Cohn hurt her back at work and had surgery. She got a doctor’s note explaining that she needed to take regular stretching breaks.

Several supervisors allegedly harassed her about those breaks and counted the time against her. She sued under the NYSHRL, alleging that her supervisors had aided and abetted her employer’s disability discrimination.

The supervisors asked to be dismissed from the suit, but the court said Cohn had alleged enough direct involvement on their part to keep them in the case. (Cohn v. Keyspan, et al., No. 09-CV-2477, ED NY, 2010)

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