A Stitch in Time…

Changes in schedule are common reasonable accommodation requests. In this case, from EEOC’s 1st quarter Digest of Equal Employment Opportunity Law, an agency forced the complainant to take an hour of leave each day, rather than permitting him to alter his schedule, which resulted in a finding of discrimination…

 Complainant requested to change to a later shift or be allowed to report one hour later as a reasonable accommodation. Following a hearing, the AJ found that the Agency accommodated Complainant by allowing him to report to work one hour later and use one hour of leave. On appeal, the Commission disagreed with the AJ’s conclusion that the Agency met its reasonable-accommodation obligation, noting that forcing an employee to take leave when another accommodation would permit an employee to continue working a full day is not an effective accommodation. In this case, there was an alternative accommodation that would have allowed Complainant to continue working a full day, specifically allowing Complainant to report for work one hour later and work a full day, and the Agency did not show that it would have incurred a significant difficulty or expense if it had allowed Complainant to do so. There was no evidence that this proposed schedule change would have been unduly disruptive to other employees. The Agency’s assertion that allowing Complainant to report to work one hour later would not be fair to the other employees did not establish undue hardship. Consequently, the Commission found that the Agency denied Complainant a reasonable accommodation when it refused to permit him to report to work at the later time. The Commission separately affirmed the AJ’s finding of no discrimination regarding Complainant’s termination during his probationary period. As a remedy for the Agency’s failure to provide a reasonable accommodation, the Commission ordered the Agency, among other things, to investigate Complainant’s claim for damages, and provide applicable training to the responsible management officials. Lloyd E. v. Dep’t of Transp., EEOC Appeal No. 0120150325 (Aug. 17, 2017).

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