EEOC finds employee did not prove discrimination or reprisal by USPS. Complainant filed an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint alleging discrimination on the bases of race (Asian), sex (female), disability (PTSD), and in retaliation for prior EEO activity. She alleged she was issued a Notice of Removal (NR) after being found incapable of performing the duties of her position due to discrimination and retaliation. Following a period of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, Complainant was found fit for duty with low risk/restriction but did not return to work and instead filed an application for disability retirement. When her disability retirement application was denied, Complainant’s physician issued a statement saying her disability was permanent and she was unable to return to work. The Agency then attempted to have Complainant return to work and schedule a pre-disciplinary interview which Complainant did not attend, so the Agency issued the NR. Following the initial investigation and hearing, the Administrative Jude (AJ) determined sua sponte that the complaint did not warrant a hearing and issued a decision without a hearing finding Complainant failed to prove that she was subjected to discrimination as alleged, and that there was no genuine issues of material fact. Complainant appealed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

On appeal, the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) concurred with the AJ’s finding that Complainant failed to establish a prima facie case of race and sex discrimination as Complainant failed to show that she was treated differently than similarly situated persons outside her protected groups. The OFO then held that assuming that Complainant was a qualified individual with a disability, the Agency was able to establish that the reason for Complainant’s termination was because of her inability to work, not for discriminatory reasons, and the Complainant was unable to provide evidence establishing that such reasons were pretext for discrimination. Finally, the OFO found that there was no evidence of reprisal on the part of the Agency. The OFO affirmed the Agency’s final decision finding no discrimination.

Shu-Shia Sanborn v. United States Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 01A60575 (July 10, 2006)

Attorney Kirk J. Angel represents federal employees throughout the nation in EEO investigations as well as hearings before the EEOC and MSPB.