EEOC affirms Agency finding of no discrimination or reprisal against federal employee. Complainant filed an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint alleging discrimination on the bases of race (African American), disability (PTSD, severe anxiety, neck, back, and foot injuries), age (43), and reprisal for prior protected EEO activity. The complaint arose when he was asked for medical documentation for his Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) absences, charged as leave without pay instead of sick leave, received a Notice of 14 day No Time Off Suspension, was given a letter requesting he submit for a Fitness for Duty Examination, was asked for medical documentation upon returning to duty, and was charged as leave without pay and not annual leave as requested. Following the initial investigation, the Agency issued a Final Agency Decision (FAD) finding Complainant failed to prove discrimination as alleged, and Complainant appealed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) Office of Federal Operations (OFO).

On appeal, the OFO held that the Agency provided legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for its actions.  Regarding claims (1) and (4), Complainant alleged that he was subjected to discrimination when he was asked for medical documentation in support for his request for leave; however, the Manager averred that she requested documentation for his use of leave pursuant to Agency policy, and when he provided the documentation Complainant was granted the leave. Regarding the second claim, the Agency was able to show that Complainant was observed doing several time-wasting practices such as extra smoke breaks, not always ready upon reaching the mail receptacles, stopping at a dental office that has a permit sign indicating they were closed on Fridays, failing to finger mail properly on dismounts and falling to finger mail on park and loops. When asked about the instances Complainant failed to give sufficient explanations for his actions and therefore the suspension was issued. Regarding the fitness for duty examination, the Manager noted that Complainant engaged in threatening behavior and that the Supervisor had filed a Threat Assessment Claim.  Complainant had been verbally and physically threatening to the Supervisor.  Several weeks later, another carrier informed management that Complainant was stalking her.  The Carrier’s husband is also with the Agency and wanted to file a Threat Assessment Claim against Complainant as well.  Management found that Complainant’s behavior was extremely unpredictable and unsettling.  As such, the Manager sent Complainant to the Fitness for Duty Exam. The OFO further held that Complainant was unable to adequately prove that the Agency’s actions were pretext for discrimination as the actions were job-related and consistent with business necessity. The OFO affirmed the Agency’s FAD finding no discrimination.

Jeffrey D. Small v. United States Postal Office, EEOC Appeal No. 0120131398 (July 11, 2013)

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