On February 24, 2016 the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled to allow Plaintiff, Dr. Muhamad Aly Rifai, to move forward on his claims for breach of contract and wrongful termination under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In Rifai v. CMS Medical Care Corporation, et al., Plaintiff alleges that Defendant CMS hired him in May 2011 for a three-year term of employment, which was subsequently renewed a year later. The employment contract provided that either Plaintiff or CMS could terminate the agreement by giving the other party at least 120 days’ notice of the intent to terminate, or CMS could terminate immediately for cause.
Plaintiff alleges that on January 2, 2013, Plaintiff was given 120 days’ notice that he would be terminated on May 7, 2013. However, Plaintiff alleged that only five days later he was terminated for cause, effective May 7, 2013. Plaintiff thereafter filed suit, claiming Defendants fired him due to his Syrian ethnic background, Islamic religious beliefs, and the perception that he was mentally disabled. The Eastern District ruled that Plaintiff plead sufficient facts to allege breach of contract and a claim under the ADA.
The Court ruled that it found “that plaintiff sets forth sufficient facts to demonstrate that defendants regarded him as having an impairment,” specifically noting how Rifai’s complaint explained that at the time of his termination, defendants told various employees Rifai suffered from a mental impairment and was mentally unstable, unable to safely perform his medical duties.