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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Filed a formal EEOC complaint against my employer

Customer Question

Filed a formal EEOC complaint against my employer for Discrimination under the ADA. They had verbally agreed to allow me to situational telecommute due to disability (per their policy) and then delivered a threatening memo revoking my telecommuting agreement and tried to force me to sign one that indicates one specific day of the week. The EEOC has decided to conduct a mediation. During my back and forth with my employer and as time has passed, I have discovered that I am the ONLY employee who was asked to complete paperwork to "Situational Telecommute" (in addition to paperwork to request reasonable accommodations which allows my employer to dig into my medical history) while others, who work for same manager and same customer, have been allowed to situational telecommute without completing any paperwork and 2 of the persons were given permission due to medical issues, not even defined in the ADA. I have this in writing. I've also verbally asked everyone I know who telecommutes and they said they didn't complete or sign any paperwork. Is this paperwork issue considered discrimination or is it merely unfair treatment? I feel like I should have skipped mediation on gone directly to litigation.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.
It is not necessarily evidence of discrimination that you were required to complete paperwork. When an employee makes a formal request for accommodations under the ADA, the employer has a legal right to request documentation to corroborate the requesting employee's disability. Exercising this right, even when telecommuting requests from other employees are approved without hassle, is not against the law.
Your claim arises from the fact that your employer can reasonably accommodate your present telecommuting arrangement but is instead unreasonably and without justification insisting that you telecommute only one say a week. The fact other employees are able to telecommute more frequently is evidence in this specific context that your employer is violating your rights under the ADA. The paperwork issue not so much.
In any case, until you are fired or suffer some sort of quantifiable adverse employment action as a result of this accommodation dispute, you have no recoverable damages. Litigating this sort of claim would cost thousands of dollars and is not cost-effective without the prospect of recovering substantial damages. So, mediating at this stage is still your best bet.
I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.
If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Understood. However, if I am unhappy with the company's "reasonable accommodation" solution, i.e. lower paying position, different location, etc, what are my recourse options?
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply. Your options are to: (1) quit and claim "constructive discharge" (meaning that your work environment was so unbearable that no reasonable person would have been able to remain employed) and claim loss of earnings; (2) file a lawsuit against your employer for damages (i.e. if you are forced to take a lower paying position you can sue for the difference in what you are earning); or (3) attempt to resolve things through the EEOC mediation process.
Option one is probably a poor choice because proving constructive discharge is very difficult. Option two is viable but the costs of a lawsuit may outweigh what you stand to potentially recover. You would also likely need an attorney to pursue option two. Option three is probably the most solid and reasonable option. However, it also does not guarantee anything since mediation is voluntary and no end result is going to be compelled.
I hope this summary helps. Again, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns. If I have answered your question, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.
Very best wishes.