EEOC find federal agency’s pre-employment inquires violated law. Complainants filed Equal Employment Opportunity’s (EEO) complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of disability (convulsive disorder, paralysis in one leg, and deafness, respectively) when the Agency’s Human Resource Office (HRO) unlawfully revealed their disability codes to prospective employers, and the criteria used in the hiring process had an adverse impact on each complainant as an employee with a disability. At the conclusion of the initial investigations, all three complainants initially requested a hearing, but later withdrew their requests and asked the Agency to issue final decisions. In three separate but almost identical Final Decisions, the Agency found that complainants failed to establish they were subjected to discrimination. Complainants appealed.

On appeal, the EEO’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) first noted that it is undisputed that all three Complainants were qualified individuals with a disability. The OFO further noted that it was undisputed that while the Agency did not make the final hiring determination through the documents with the disabilities listed on them, Agency officials within the HRO provided prospective employers with the resumes and information revealing the applicants’ disabilities, as well as making determinations about which applicants were qualified for the positions in question based on disability codes. Based on the Agency’s prohibited pre-employment inquiries and impermissible use of information regarding medical conditions, the OFO held that the Agency subjected the Complainants to disability discrimination, and reversed the Agency’s Final Decisions.

Linda DeReyna, Davis W. Ellis, and Dean E. Gillespie v. Department of the Navy, EEOC Appeal No.s, 01980077, 01980078, 01980079 (January 19, 2001)

Attorney Kirk J. Angel represents federal employees throughout the United States.