EEOC reverses FAD after finding case could proceed as a class action. Complainant filed an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint alleging discrimination on the basis of disability (deafness) when he was not selected for three different positions at the Agency. Following the initial investigation, Complainant informed the Agency that he was interested in pursuing the claim as a class action. This stopped the processing of his individual complaint and the Agency forwarded the case to an EEOC Administrative Judge (AJ). After the Class Agent filed a Motion for Class Certification and the Agency filing its opposition, the AJ held that the appropriate class for the suit was “all current and former employees with targeted disabilities at the Agency… who applied for promotions, appeared on a best qualified list and been denied promotion opportunities”. Based on a totality of the circumstances, the AJ determined that the Class Agent had adequately established a valid Class for the claim. The Agency issued a Final Order (FAD) rejecting the AJ’s granting certification of the class and appealed.

On appeal, the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) held that the AJ properly determined that the potential class met the requirement of numerosity, indicating at least 35 potentially qualifying individuals. Similarly, the Class Agent’s claims of discriminatory non-promotion are typical of the class, meeting the requirements of typicality. Finally, the OFO held that the Class Agent was clearly experienced in class action claims of discrimination based on disability, finding the Agent would adequately represent the class. The OFO reversed the Agency’s FAD.

Ronald Jantz v. Social Security Administration, EEO Appeal No. 0720090019 (August 25, 2010)

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