Two New Hyde Park women are suing Target, accusing the big-box retailer of discrimination over their disabilities.
Lisa Panzica and her sister, Laura Chamaidan, whom both suffer from spinal muscular atrophy and are bound to wheelchairs, charge that a pharmacist in the Target store in the Broadway mall in Hicksville refused to give them flu shots because of their disabilities on Oct. 9, 2011.
The women filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights on February 24, alleging violations of the New York State Human Rights Law and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Allegedly, Target pharmacist Leena Mathew hesitated when the women asked for shots, explaining that a large amount of paperwork had to be completed and that she was unsure if Medicare would cover their immunizations. The complaint also 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 in a statement that as a result of the pharmacist’s actions, they were “subjected to great pain, embarrassment, and humiliation.”
The women’s attorney, Lenard Leeds of Carle Place law firm Leeds Morelli & Brown PC, stated that the Minneapolis-based chain “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.”
Calls placed to Target requesting comment were not returned.