EEOC finds federal employee has not proven she was disabled or discriminated against. Complainant filed an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint alleging discrimination on the bases of sex (female), age (3/28/47), disability (PTSD, simple phobia, major depression, and panic disorder with agoraphobia), and in retaliation for prior EEO activity. This was based on the Agency denying her her requests for light duty, change of schedule, and reasonable accommodation. Following the initial investigation, the Agency issued a Final Agency Decision (FAD) finding no discrimination. Specifically, the FAD found that Complainant was physically limited to sedentary telephone duties pursuant to continuing medical restrictions and therefore there was no work available for her requested schedule. The FAD further found that because she failed to establish a causal connection between her prior protected activity and the denial of her accommodation requests, she had failed to establish a prima facie case of retaliation. Complainant appealed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

On appeal, the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) noted that the evidence established that comparator employees identified had different restrictions and were not limited to exclusively sedentary telephone duties and had therefore had not met her burden of proof for proving the Agency’s proffered reasons for denying her requested schedule were pretext for discrimination or retaliation. Regarding disability discrimination, the OFO held that the medical documentation provided for her mental conditions did not establish that her mental impairments were enough to affect any major life activities. Further, the OFO noted that even if Complainant was considered an individual with a disability under the Rehabilitation Act, there was no accommodation that could be provided as her need to commute during low-traffic times was not job-related. The OFO affirmed the FAD finding no discrimination.

Diane M. Hackney v. United States Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 01984048 (August 23, 2001)

Federal employee attorney Kirk J. Angel represents federal employees throughout the US in EEO investigations and hearings before the EEOC and MSPB.