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Radiologist files virus-related ADA suit against hospital agency


A former hospital radiologist has filed a disability discrimination suit against the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., stating he was forced to resign after he asked to work from home because his disability made him particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

Dr. Richard Heiden said he made the request because of his autoimmune disorder, ulcerative colitis, and that he could have worked from home with little difficulty, according to the suit, Richard Heiden, M.D. v. New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., Physician Affiliate Group of New York, P.C. and Alan Kantor, M.D., filed in U.S. District Court in New York on Monday.

Dr. Heiden, who has more than 30 years of experience as a radiologist, began working at Lincoln Hospital, which is part of the public hospital agency, in October 2019.  When the pandemic hit New York, he became increasingly worried about the danger of working on-site at the hospital because of his ulcerative colitis.

The lawsuit states he asked the hospital if he could work from home, explaining he could still perform the essential functions of his job and noting that several prominent institutions permitted similar arrangements for their radiologists.

Dr.  Heiden said his supervisor told him if he did not resign he would be fired and reported  to the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct, “thus threatening Dr. Heiden’s medical license and livelihood.”

Dr. Heiden’s supervisor claimed he was a poor performer and was accurate in his assessments only 93.8% of the time, which was below the hospital’s 97% threshold, which Dr. Heiden has denied, according to the lawsuit.

Dr. Heiden’s lawsuit charges discrimination and retaliation in violation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and state law.

The hospital agency did not respond to a request for comment.





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