The city’s Department of Education has suddenly begun a “get-tough” policy refusing medical accommodations for teachers with serious illnesses, including those recovering from cancer or from organ transplants, UFT President Michael Mulgrew announced today.
Mr. Mulgrew said: “First Mayor de Blasio announces that there will be no medical accommodations but backs off that claim while saying that the number of accommodations will be very small. Then — after the arbitration process the union has demanded is underway — the DOE starts rejecting clearly deserving accommodation requests from teachers who want to work but need additional COVID protection.”
“The city’s position is outrageous. We have urged the arbitrator now working on this case to ensure that medical accommodation requests will be evaluated on the basis of medical necessity, not according to City Hall’s political agenda,” Mulgrew said.
In accordance with the federal, state law, an individual with any physical, medical, mental, or psychological impairment is entitled to a reasonable accommodation to assist that individual in performing the activities involved in his or her job.
Recently rejected cases include:
- a teacher who underwent a kidney transplant was denied, even though she had taken the vaccine, but her body produced no antibodies, leaving her with no protection from the COVID virus;
- a high school teacher with stage IV kidney cancer was denied, despite letters from his physicians stating the danger facing him if he spent any time in a crowd;
- a teacher with diabetes along with a suppressed immune system due to an organ transplant whose application — pending since July — has been denied.
Sample rejection letter below (personal information redacted)
This is to advise you that your request for a Reasonable Accommodation has closed for the following reason:
- There are no further accommodations for COVID risk. If you need an accommodation for a disability or other limitations related to the essential functions of your position, you are welcome to reapply in SOLAS.'