SHORT, SWEET, AND UNQUESTIONABLY ILLEGAL
When an VA employee asked for a reasonable accommodation, VA management moved the request very efficiently by providing a prompt denial and ending the discussion of the request. Short and sweet, but according to EEOC that was unquestionably illegal. Law requires that if agency rejects a disabled employee’s initial request for a specific reasonable accommodation, it must interact with the employee to explore alternative accommodations. As a result, EEOC ordered the agency to pay the employee nearly $37,000 in damages and gave her another $30,000. in attorney fees. If you are involved with a reasonable accommodation request and the agency merely dismisses the request without jointly exploring alternatives with the employee this is a good case to model your appeal upon. See Diedre A., v. Robert Wilkie, Secretary, Dep’t of Veterans Affairs, EEOC No. 2019001567 (2020). Check out our post entitled, “What is the ‘Interactive Process’” for more details on the elements of a legally sufficient process.