EEOC finds against employee because Agency was unaware of his disability. Complainant filed an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint alleging discrimination on the basis of disability (legally blind in one eye) when he was denied the right to apply for a position. Following the initial investigation Complainant requested a hearing before an Administrative Judge (AJ), but his request was denied because he had failed to file pre-hearing submissions or respond to the Agency’s discovery requests. The AJ remanded the complaint to the Agency and the Agency issued a final decision finding no discrimination. Complainant appealed.

On appeal the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) held that Complainant failed to establish a prima facie case of disability discrimination because he did not provide any evidence that the Agency was ever aware of Complainant’s disability during the relevant time period. When asked if he felt he was treated differently because of his disability, Complainant replied “well, not really because they didn’t know about it…” The OFO affirmed the AJ’s decision finding no discrimination.

William J. Kelton v. Department of Veterans Affairs, EEOC Appeal No. 0120081071 (August 12, 2009)

Kirk J. Angel represents federal employees in EEOC and MSPB hearings nationwide.