Lisa Panzica and her sister, Laura Chamaidan, both of New Hyde Park, filed the complaints with the State Division of Human Rights. Both women suffer from spinal muscular atrophy.
The complaints, alleging violations of the New York State Human Rights Law and the Americans with Disabilities Act, charge that the Target pharmacist on duty on Oct. 9, 2011, Leena Mathew, at first hesitated when the women asked for shots and then explained that there was an abundance of paperwork to be completed and that she was unsure if Medicare would cover their immunizations. In addition, the complaint stated that the women were told they could not have the shots if they were on specific medications or had specific medical conditions.
Mathew, according to the complaint, also told the women that they would have to sit in a special chair with armrests to receive the shot. Despite the women's protests that their wheelchairs had armrests, Mathew told them that it was Target's policy to only administer the injections in a chair behind a privacy screen, the complaint states, adding that Mathew ultimately refused to give them flu shots.
Chamaidan and Panzica said as a result of the pharmacist's actions, they were "subjected to great pain, embarrassment, and humiliation."
"This is an blatant violation of state law and the Americans with Disabilities Act," said the women's attorney, Lenard Leeds, a partner in the Carle Place law firm Leeds Morelli & Brown P.C. "Target should make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities and those in wheelchairs and, in the case of these, women, it is obvious it did not."
The complaints were filed Feb. 24 in the Hempstead office of the New York State Division of Human Rights.
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