EEOC: agency not required to provide reasonable accommodation if disability not disclosed or obviou. Complainant filed and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint alleging discrimination on the bases of disability (PTSD) and race (African American). The basis for this claims were that the Agency denied him a reasonable accommodation, notified him that the leave used while his worker’s compensation claim was pending was retroactively converted to sick leave, annual leave, and leave without pay (LWOP), and modified his accommodation from five days of telework per week, to two days per week; and placed him on an LWOP status on the days he did not report to work. Following the initial investigation, the Agency issued a Final Agency Decision (FAD) finding no discrimination as alleged reasoning Complainant had not established a prima facie case of racial discrimination because he did not offer any comparators who were outside of his protected class and treated more favorably; nor did he provide any evidence upon which to base an inference of racial discrimination. The Agency also found that Complainant had not established a prima facie case of disability discrimination because the record did not show that he had an impairment that substantially limited a major life activity, nor was he regarded as an individual with a disability by any management official. In regards to the reasonable accommodation Agency noted that while the supervisor did not grant Complainant his requested accommodation of full-time telework, he did approve sick leave and LWOP, which is a form of accommodation. The Agency further concluded that the supervisor provided legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for denying Complainant’s request for full-time telework; and that Complainant had not shown that the reasons were pretext for discrimination. Complainant appealed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

On appeal, the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) first noted that a claim of a failure to accommodate under the Rehabilitation Act only provides for disability as a basis for alleged discrimination, not race, and therefore only the disability claim will be analyzed. Regarding said claim, the OFO noted that an individual is not entitled to reasonable accommodation when the disability, or need for accommodation is not obvious, and the person refuses to provide the reasonable documentation requested by the employer. The OFO further noted that Complainant’s inability to work in a single area did a constitute a substantial limitation in the major life activity of working, and therefore he was not a qualified individual with a disability. The OFO upheld the Agency’s FAD finding no discrimination.

Trey M. v. Department of Transportation, EEOC Appeal No. 0120141256 (October 5, 2016)