Actor’s Discrimination Claim Gets Legal Encore

     (CN) – A Broadway actor can proceed with his claim that the producers of “Hairspray” fired him in violation of disability discrimination law after he fell and injured his knee, a New York appeals court ruled.




     Joel Vig performed several roles in the musical: the principal, the policeman, the flasher, Mr. Pinky, Mr. Spritzer and a prison guard.
     He was also an understudy for Harvey Fierstein (as Edna Turnblad) and Dick Latessa (as Wilbur Turnblad).
Vig also fulfilled the producers’ request to play the glockenspiel in order meet the minimum requirements for union musicians.
     Vig was hurt one night when he fell and tore the cartilage in his left knee. He kept performing until the date that he was approved by the stage manager and other play officials for surgery.
     Before he got the surgery, the company’s general manager, Laura Green, allegedly informed Vig that he was not eligible for medical leave because he was less than nine weeks away from the end of his contract.
     Vig received a permanency award from the company’s workers’ compensation carrier, but the producers still wouldn’t let him resume his former roles.
     Vig sued, claiming disability discrimination. The trial court sided with the producers, but the Manhattan-based First Appellate Division reversed.
     “Plaintiff has successfully pleaded that he was disabled within the meaning of the City (Human Rights Law), and that he was terminated from his employment because of it,” Justice Acosta wrote.

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