BROAD REMEDIES FOR DISABILITIES
Too often union reps and LR/ER/EEO Specialists think that the only remedies available to disabled employees needing an accommodation is something personal to the employee, e.g., a larger computer screen, a better chair, or even a reader. But a brand new EEO decision highlights how far EEOC will demand the agency go to make the work environment supportive of the disabled employee Here are the five changes the Commission demanded the agency make in Latarsha A., v Bay, FERC, EEOC Nos. 0120123215 and 0120131079 (2016).
- Install and maintain its 1110 First Street, NE, Washington, DC facility automatic doors at its third-floor entrances and exits, the lobby, and the entrance/exit to the garage;
- Ensure that all entrances and exits are clear and unobstructed;
- Ensure that complainant is provided assistance with packing and transport related to office moves;
- Ensure that complainant is allowed to telework during any prolonged periods of loud construction noise at the office; and
- Replace fluorescent lighting in hearing rooms in which the Complainant works with non-fluorescent lighting.
It also recommended that the agency hire a “neutral, independent, certified mediator” to facilitate any future discussions between the agency and employee about other needed accommodations. As with most cases ruled in the employee’s favor it also ordered training for the involved managers and that the agency consider disciplining them for their lack of sensitivity to the challenges faced by the disabled. This 27-page decision is one union reps should wave in the face of agency reps when involved in a reasonable accommodation dispute and agency reps should put before their principals to coax them to think broadly during settlement talks—before EEOC does that thinking for them