When an employee asked for a change in her work schedule because of her medical condition, but did not technically request a “reasonable accommodation” for a disability, the agency concluded it did not have to treat it as a reasonable accommodation request under the Rehabilitation Act or ADA law. So, when some jobs were about to open that would enable her to continue working, all the agency offered was to let her compete for them.  The agency ultimately fired the employee for being unable to do her job. As part of its decision ordering the agency to rehire the employee with back pay, interest and a few other bundles of cash, EEOC made these two often applicable points about reasonable accommodation cases:

1)      When making an accommodation request, an employee is not required to use the magic words “reasonable accommodation.” Instead, the employee need only inform the Agency that she needs an adjustment or change at work for a reason related to a medical condition.

2)      To the extent that the Agency argues that Complainant declined an offer of a reassignment to Sharptown, we find that this was not an offer of a reassignment because HRR stated that she wanted to alert Complainant that the position was “going to be posted in the next few days” and did not offer to place Complainant into the position. ROI at 105. The Commission has found that reassignment means that the employee gets the vacant position, if she is qualified for it, and is not required to compete for the position.

For more details, check out Mirta Z., v. Louis DeJoy, PG, USPS, EEOC No. 2020000383 (2021)

About AdminUN

FEDSMILL staff has over 40 years of federal sector labor relations experience on the union as well as management side of the table and even some time as a neutral.
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