CHIEF ALJ LIES AND EMPLOYEE DIES
We will never know if the Chief ALJ’s actions hastened this employee’s death, but they sure did not help. A judge in SSA’s Office of Hearing Operations (OHO) in North Charleston, South Carolina had cancer and asked that he be allowed to work at homes on days he did not have hearings scheduled to facilitate his chemo treatment. When the agency denied his request despite a bundle of documentation from the employee’s physician that EEOC ultimately said was adequate, he filed an EEO complaint. The charge was an improper denial of an ADA reasonable accommodation.
When the case got to EEOC the Chief ALJ swore in her affidavit that she did not know why the Agency had denied the employee’s request for this reasonable accommodation. Now these government agencies never come right out and call a management witness and especially not a chief judge a liar. They are nicer about it and in this case wrote the politically accepted words, “The record does not support her assertion that her role in the matter was simply communicating between Complainant and the Regional Office…. the record suggests that the Regional Office largely remained silent and acquiesced in the Chief ALJ’s decision-making.”
Call us naïve, but it sure looks like the Chief ALJ was caught not telling the truth. EEOC found that SSA and the Chief judge had violated the employee’s ADA rights and ordered the agency to consider disciplining the Chief ALJ. Agency charges of falsification and lack of candor come to our mind, but the more appropriate response would be to file bar charges against the judge to get her disbarred for lying under oath.
The employee died before EEOC issued its decision that all the leave the employee took be repaid and that the agency pay the employee’s estate compensatory damages.
If you want to read more about this case, get ahold of Don F., v. Andrew M. Saul, Commissioner, SSA, EEOC No. 2019002029 (2020).