Brown, Goldstein & Levy partner Anthony May recently spoke to The New York Times about a victory he helped obtain in an Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit on behalf of an autistic and deaf client, Sarah Hernandez, who was denied the accommodations as an elected official. Ms. Hernandez—who is one of the first openly autistic people to run for, and be elected to, public office—was elected to the Board of Education for Enfield Public Schools in Enfield, Connecticut, in 2017.
As covered by The Times, Ms. Hernandez filed the lawsuit against the Enfield Board of Education and the Town of Enfield for failing to provide auxiliary aids and services she needed to serve equally as an autistic and deaf elected member of the Enfield Board of Education.
Anthony shared in the article that witnesses testified in court that Ms. Hernandez looked like she could participate in her board duties without accommodations.
The Times reported that misperceptions like these are why autism is considered an “invisible disability,” according to Simon Baron-Cohen, the director of the Autism Research Center at Cambridge University.
John Elder Robison, who is autistic and advised the National Institutes of Health on neurodiversity from the George W. Bush administration and into the Biden years, discussed with The Times his expectation for accommodations for neurodivergent people to one day be as mainstream as wheelchair ramps for wheelchair users.
Ms. Hernandez, who ran for a seat because she wanted to “show up and be a voice for people with autism in the decision-making process,” hopes this victory will lead to much-needed change. “I hope that just standing resolute is enough to maybe empower and encourage other individuals, with disabilities and without disabilities, to be unrelenting along with me,” she told The Times.
At BGL, Anthony has built a practice dedicated to representing clients in a variety of complex litigation matters including assisting employees with disabilities in obtaining accessible technology and accommodations in the workplace, representing individuals who have been wrongfully convicted, representing clients in commercial litigation disputes, and fighting workplace discrimination stemming from employers’ use of artificial intelligence as well as other forms of employment discrimination, such as discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Anthony has earned some of the legal industry’s top accolades. He was selected to Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Civil Rights and Plaintiff Employment Lawyers and Lawdragon’s 500 X – The Next Generation guides for 2023. Anthony was also named a Maryland Rising Star by Super Lawyers and “One to Watch” by Best Layers in America for the sixth and third consecutive year, respectively. He received The Daily Record’s Generation J.D. Award in 2020. In 2019, he was honored as the Young Lawyer of the Year by the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers’ Service (MVLS), where he serves on the Board of Directors and as President of the Community Advocacy Network.
Considered an authority in the growing intersection of AI and employment discrimination law, Anthony has written and presented extensively on the role of artificial intelligence in the workplace, including at the 2023 Maryland State Bar Association Legal Summit. He is also scheduled to speak more on this topic at the California State University, Northridge Assistive Technology conference and the National Federation of the Blind Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium in March 2024.
Founded in 1982, Brown, Goldstein & Levy is a law firm based in Baltimore, Maryland, with an office in Washington, D.C. The firm is nationally recognized in a wide variety of practice areas, including complex civil and commercial litigation, civil rights, health care, family law, and criminal defense. Above all else, Brown, Goldstein & Levy is a client-centered law firm that brings decades of experience and passionate, effective advocacy to your fight for justice.