EEOC holds federal agency is not required to excuse past misconduct when no accommodation sought. Complainant filed an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint alleging discrimination on the bases of disability (dissociative identity disorder, injured knee) and retaliation from prior EEO activity when she was suspended for 10 calendar days. Following the initial investigation, the Agency issued a Final Agency Decision (FAD) concluding that Complainant failed to establish that she was a qualified individual with a disability, finding that the medical documentation she submitted did not support her claim that she has 16 different personalities. The Agency also noted that there was no evidence to establish that Complainant told management officials that she suffered any specific limitations due to her mental disorder. The Agency further held that Complainant failed to establish that similarly situated employees were treated differently under similar circumstances, noting that she did not establish that individuals outside of her protected class who submitted two forged medical leave slips were treated more favorably. Further, the Agency articulated a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for its actions, namely that Complainant submitted the two forged medical leave slips and such actions were cause for dismissal. The Agency’s FAD found no discrimination, and Complainant appealed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

On appeal the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) held that even assuming Complainant was a qualified individual with a disability, she failed to establish that she was subjected to discrimination based on her disability, and agreed with the FAD’s findings. The OFO highlighted that while an employer must make reasonable accommodations to enable an otherwise qualified individual with a disability to meet conduct standards, an employer is not required to excuse past misconduct when a reasonable accommodation has not been sought. The OFO further held that Complainant failed to prove that a retaliatory animus, rather than a desire to prevent employees from falsifying leave slips, motivated the agency’s decision to suspend complainant. The OFO concurred with the Agency’s FAD finding no discrimination.

Karen S. Schauer v. Social Security Administration, EEOC Appeal No. 01984225 (September 28, 2001) https://www.eeoc.gov/sites/default/files/migrated_files/decisions/01984225.txt