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EEOC agrees with Agency that federal employee cannot show disability discrimination. Complainant filed an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint alleging discrimination on the basis of disability when she was separated from the Postal Service for inability to perform the duties of her position. Following the initial investigation and hearing, the Agency issued a Final Agency Decision (FAD) finding Complainant had failed to establish that she was a qualified individual with a disability since she had not named a major life activity in which she was substantially limited. The Agency further held that management had articulated legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for its actions that Complainant failed to rebut- specifically that Complainant was absent from duty (in Leave Without Pay status) for approximately 14 months and her position could no longer be held due to the operational restrictions that her absence imposed.

Complainant appealed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) Office of Federal Operations (OFO). For the purposes of the appeal, the OFO assumed the Complainant was a qualified individual with a disability. Even so, the OFO found that Complainant failed to prove that she had been denied any requested accommodations. This was because she had been absent from work for an extended period of time and did not suggest to the Agency any means by which she might return to work. The OFO then held that Complainant failed to establish a prima facie case of disparate treatment as she was unable to show that she was treated differently than similarly situated employees, and the Agency was able to articulate legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for their actions. The OFO affirmed the Agency’s FAD finding no discrimination.

Kimberly G. Wolfe v. United States Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 01A42006 (June 28, 2005) https://www.eeoc.gov/sites/default/files/migrated_files/decisions/01a42006.txt

Federal employee attorney Kirk J. Angel provide representation throughout the nation in EEO investigations and hearings before the EEOC and MSPB.