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Case SUMMARY

NIH failed to provide reasonable accommodations

Tricia B. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Appeal No. 2019000539

Our client worked as a Diagnostic Radiologic Technologist for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  She requested full-time telework as a reasonable accommodation for her disability.  NIH denied her request.  We filed an EEO complaint, alleging that NIH discriminated against our client on the bases of disability and reprisal for protected EEO activity.  The complaint specifically alleged that NIH discriminated against our client by denying her request for reasonable accommodations.  After the investigation, we requested a Final Agency Decision (FAD).  As expected, NIH concluded that it did not discriminate or retaliate against our client.  We filed an appeal with the EEOC Office of Federal Operations (OFO).

Based on the arguments we submitted, the OFO reversed NIH’s finding on our client’s discrimination claim.  The OFO concluded that our client submitted medical documentation supporting her need for full-time telework and that NIH failed to establish that accommodating our client would have imposed an undue burden.  The OFO ordered NIH to:

  • Reimburse our client for any annual or unpaid leave she took due to NIH’s failure to accommodate her;
  • Conduct a supplemental investigation regarding our client’s entitlement to compensatory damages for pain and suffering;
  • Consider taking disciplinary action against the responsible supervisor;
  • Provide eight hours of in-person EEO training to the supervisor as well as other Agency employees involved in this matter; and
  • Post a notice stating that the Agency violated the Rehabilitation Act.

We expect the OFO to award our client compensatory damages, attorney’s fees, and litigation costs.

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