EEOC finds federal employee did not show discrimination or denial of reasonable accommodation. Complainant filed an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint alleging discrimination on the basis of mental disability (schizophrenia, paranoid type) when his request for a change of schedule for a 4-month period was denied. Following the initial investigation, the Administrative Judge (AJ) held that the Complainant failed to establish a prima facie case of disability discrimination because there was no evidence establishing his impairment limited his ability to perform the essential functions of his job, there was no evidence showing the Agency had actual or constructive knowledge of Complainant’s disability, Complainant failed to establish a nexus between his disability and the Agency’s denial of his request, and Complainant was unable to prove he was treated less favorably than non-disabled employees who requested similar schedule changes. The AJ further noted that Complainant’s request to change his schedule was not for the purpose of accommodating his disability, but rather to facilitate his pursuit of a college degree. After the Agency adopted the AJ’s findings in their Final Agency Decision (FAD), the Complainant appealed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

On appeal the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) agreed with the AJ’s findings that the Complainant was unable to establish a prima facie case of disability discrimination. Even assuming for the sake of argument that the Agency was aware of the disability and regarded Complainant as a qualified individual with a disability, complainant was not denied a reasonable accommodation relative to his disability. The OFO further noted that Complainant presented no evidence that the Agency’s action was motivated by discriminatory animus towards his disability because a non-disabled maintenance employee was also denied a schedule change in order to attend school. The OFO upheld the Agency’s FAD finding no discrimination.

John J. Connolly v. United States Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 01976263 (February 3, 2000)

Kirk J. Angel represents federal employees throughout the US in EEO claims and investigations.