Federal employee wins religious accommodation case. Complainant filed an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint alleging discrimination on the basis of religion (Seventh-Day Adventist) and retaliation. After the initial investigation the Complainant requested a hearing but withdrew his request and the Agency issued a final decision (FAD). It concluded the Agency did not subject the Complainant to disparate treatment or discriminatory harassment (although the latter was not alleged by Complainant). Notably, the decision did not raise or address Complainant’s claim that he was denied a religious accommodation. Following the decision, the Complainant appealed.

On appeal, the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) noted that although accommodations that would require the employer to regularly pay premium wages such as overtime can constitute an undue hardship. However, the Agency could not raise that argument until it demonstrated that it made a reasonable effort to find an accommodation for the Complainant’s religious practice. The OFO held that the Agency did not make any effort to look in to any other accommodations. The OFO reversed the Agency’s final decision regarding reasonable accommodation, and affirmed the final decision regarding the other claims.

Mac O. v. United States Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 0120152431 (Nov. 29, 2017) https://www.eeoc.gov/sites/default/files/migrated_files/decisions/0120152431.pdf

If you are a federal employee in need of an attorney to represent you in an EEO claim or EEOC hearing, you can set a free 15 minute consultation with Attorney Angel right on this website.