entry of summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 242, 106
B. Burden Shifting Analysis
Claims of employment discrimination, whether brought pursuant
to the ADA or the Rehabilitation Act, are subject to the burden
shifting analysis set forth in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v.
Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802-04, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 36 L.Ed.2d 668
(1973); see Heyman v. Queens Village Committee for Mental
Health, 198 F.3d 68, 72 (2d Cir. 1999) (case brought pursuant
to the ADA).
Under the McDonnell Douglas analysis, the plaintiff bears
the burden of coming forward with a prima facie case of
discrimination. The burden of production then shifts to
defendant to offer a nondiscriminatory reason for the employment
action. Thereafter, it is for the plaintiff to show that the
reason offered by defendant is a pretext for discrimination. The
plaintiffs final burden is satisfied either by the introduction
of additional evidence or by reliance on the evidence submitted
in support of the prima facie case of discrimination.
Heyman, 198 F.3d at 72; see Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing,
530 U.S. 133, 120 S.Ct. 2097, 2109, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000).
C. Elements of an ADA Claim
To state a prima facie case of discrimination pursuant to
the ADA a plaintiff must show: (1) that his employer is subject
to the ADA; (2) that he is an individual with a disability
within the meaning of the statute; (3) that he was otherwise
qualified to perform the essential functions of his position,
with or without reasonable accommodation; and (4) that he was
fired or suffered adverse employment action because of the
disability. Heyman, 198 F.3d at 72; Ryan v. Grae & Rybicki,
P.C., 135 F.3d 867, 869-70 (2d Cir. 1998); Sacay v. Research
Foundation of the City University of New York, 44 F. Supp.2d 496,
500 (E.D.N.Y. 1999).
1. Disability Within the Meaning of the ADA
The ADA defines disability, inter alia, as a physical or
mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major
life activities. 42 U.S.C. § 12102(2); Schaefer v. State Ins.
Fund, 207 F.3d 139, 141 (2d Cir. 2000); Ryan v. Grae &
Rybicki, P.C., 135 F.3d 867, 869 (2d Cir. 1998); Zuppardo v.
Suffolk County Vanderbuilt Museum, 19 F. Supp.2d 52, 54
(E.D.N.Y. 1998), aff'd, 173 F.3d 848 (2d Cir. 1999). Also
defined as disabilities under the ADA are: (1) a record of
having a disability or (2) being perceived as having a
disability. 42 U.S.C. § 12101(2).
While all impairments may be argued to affect a major life
activity, every impaired person is not disabled within the
meaning of the ADA. To determine disability it is appropriate to
distinguish between impairments that merely "affect" a major
life activity — which are not ADA disabilities — and those that
substantially limit major life activities — which are ADA
disabilities. Ryan, 135 F.3d at 870.
Physical impairments that might amount to a disability include
anatomical losses affecting one or more of the body's systems,
including, inter alia, the neurological and musculoskeletal
systems. Major life activities include functions such as caring
for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing
speaking, breathing, learning and working.
29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(j).
With respect to the major life activity of working, the term
"substantially limits" means that the person is significantly
restricted in the ability to perform either a class of jobs or a
broad range of jobs in various classes, as compared to the
average person having comparable training, skills and abilities.
The inability to perform a single, particular job does not
constitute a substantial limitation in the major life activity
of working. Sutton v. United Air Lines, Inc., 527 U.S. 471,
49192, 119 S.Ct. 2139, 144 L.Ed.2d 450 (1999); Muller v.
Costello, 187 F.3d 298, 313 (2d Cir. 1999). Similarly, an
impairment that "disqualifies a person from only a narrow range
of jobs is not considered a substantially limiting one." Parisi
v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of New York, 995 F. Supp. 298, 301
(E.D.N.Y. 1998), aff'd, 172 F.3d 38 (2d Cir. 1999), quoting,
Heilweil v. Mt. Sinai Hospital, 32 F.3d 718, 722 (2d Cir.
When considering whether a person is substantially limited in
the ability to work it is appropriate to consider:
(A) the geographical area to which the individual
had reasonable access;
(B) the job from which the individual has been
disqualified because of an impairment, and the
number and types of jobs utilizing similar
training, knowledge, skills or abilities, within
that geographical area, from which the individual
is also disqualified because of the impairment
(class of jobs); and/or
(C) the job from which the individual has been
disqualified because of an impairment, and the
number and types of other jobs not utilizing
similar training, knowledge, skills or abilities,
within that geographical area, from which the
individual is also disqualified because of the
impairment (broad range of jobs in various
Muller v. Costello,