12/09/2010 02:46 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Why Is New York City Firing Workers with Disabilities?

According to the New York Times, the Department of Finance of New York City is aggressively laying off workers to meet the November modification to the budget. The city has been been particularly brutal in eliminating an entire type of worker -- office machine aides, a group that has a large number of employees with disabilities. These workers were hired under a city program called 55A that was created to increase the number of disabled people working for the city. The program hires people with disabilities to provide job experience and training. Agencies generally do not layoff en masse people with disabilities. The saving from laying off low-paid office machine aides does not appear to save a lot of money. These firings are occurring while the same agency is hiring high-paid computer consultants. A total of 129 employees are being laid off in the agency. Of these 78 are office machine aides and of these 28 are disabled.

Since when is it legal to single out a group of workers based on their disability status and fire them? Lawsuits will no doubt be filed, but at this point people with disabilities and their allies will make their voices heard.