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EEOC reversed NCIS’s removal for medical inability

Complainant v. NCIS

Our client worked as a NCIS Special Agent for 15 years. After he took leave to address depression, NCIS required him to pass a fitness for duty evaluation before he returned to work. Federal Occupational Health (FOH) issued an opinion finding our client fit for duty, but after NCIS’s head of HR intervened, FOH reversed its opinion, even though there was no new medical information. Now, NCIS claimed that our client was not fit to deploy worldwide. FOH claimed it did not know this requirement before it spoke with the head of HR. Accordingly, NCIS reassigned Complainant to a non-law enforcement position. This resulted in significant lost pay and made him ineligible for special retirement.

We filed an EEO complaint on our client’s behalf. We uncovered evidence that proved NCIS never intended to reinstate Complainant to his position because the head of HR believed that individuals who suffered from mental health conditions should not be armed. This directly conflicted with the determination of Complainant’s doctors, who found him fit for duty.

After a 3-day hearing, an EEOC administrative judge found in Complainant’s favor. The judge ordered NCIS to reinstate Complainant to armed duty with back pay and benefits. She awarded additional damages for emotional distress and attorney’s fees. The judge also ordered NCIS’s managers and HR employees to undergo training regarding disability discrimination.

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