Index of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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What is an Amicus Brief?
An amicus brief is a document which is filed in a court by someone who is not directly related to the case under consideration. An example of an amicus brief is a document filed by an advocacy group such as the Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C) or the NAACP. See sample that follows this narrative. The additional information which is found in an AMICUS BRIEF can be useful for the judge evaluating the case. It becomes part of the official case record. The tradition of accepting amicus briefs comes from a larger concept, the amicus curiae, or ďfriend of the court.Ē A friend of the court may be interested in a case although he or she is not directly involved. Such amicus curiae briefs are commonly filed in appeals concerning matters of a broad public interest; e.g., civil rights cases. Also visit link Sample Amicus Brief
SAMPLE AMICUS BRIEF
If I am able to prove my case of hostile work environment will the EEOC award me compensatory damages?
The Commission has ruled that it cannot award compensatory damages where a complainant did not previously request such damages in his formal complaint or at any time prior to appeal or did not present evidence of such damages. Timothy McLain v. Department of the Army, EEOC Appeal No. 0120053362 (January 19, 2007).
What is the average dollar amount for awards approved by EEOC?
To get an idea of the compensatory damages awarded by EEOC in recent years see narrative below. The decisions below are a selected sampling of awards of compensatory damages.
$20,000 Awarded for Denial of Reasonable Accommodation.
In a prior decision, the Commission found that the Agency denied Complainant reasonable accommodation in the form of an ergonomic chair and workstation, and ordered the Agency, among other things, to investigate Complainantís claim for damages. The Agency subsequently determined that Complainant was entitled to $2,500 in non-pecuniary damages. On appeal, the Commission found the Agencyís award insufficient, and concluded that Complainant was entitled to an award of $25,000. While Complainant experienced back problems prior to the discrimination, the Commission found that the denial of a doctor-prescribed accommodation for a period of 18 months resulted in an aggravation of his condition. In addition, Complainant stated that he suffered from depression, sleeplessness, irritability, problems with concentration, and loss of self-esteem. The Commission also determined that Complainant was entitled to an award of $61 in pecuniary damages for prescription co-payments based upon supporting documentation. Rafalski v. U.S. Postal Serv., EEOC Appeal No. 0120093891 (March 15, 2012).
$20,000 Awarded for Harassment.
Following a hearing, an AJ found that Complainant was subjected to disability based co-worker harassment over a two-year period. In addition, based on the testimony of Complainant, his wife, and his psychiatrist, the AJ found that Complainantís medical condition had been aggravated by the harassment such that he was entitled to an award of $10,000 in non-pecuniary compensatory damages. The Agency adopted the AJís finding of discrimination and fully implemented the relief ordered. Complainant appealed the issue of the damage award to the Commission. On appeal, the Commission concluded that the AJís award was insufficient, and found that an award of $20,000 would adequately compensate Complainant for the physical and emotional distress he suffered as a result of the Agencyís discriminatory acts. Complainant testified that he felt distressed, belittled, and suffered loss of enjoyment of life. Complainantís wife indicated that he became extremely depressed, seemed like he was ďsomewhere else,Ē and stopped taking care of his appearance. Complainantís psychiatrist testified that she treated Complainant and prescribed multiple medications for his depression and anxiety which were exacerbated by the stressful work environment. Shimko v. U.S. Postal Serv., EEOC Appeal No. 0120093033 (January 6, 2012).
Sex-Based and Retaliatory Harassment Leads to Award of $125,000 in Non-Pecuniary Compensatory Damages.
The Commission found that complainant was subjected to gender-based and retaliatory harassment with regard to various adverse actions by her supervisor. These actions included demeaning remarks, ignoring her at meetings, failing to share information pertinent to her program, and understaffing complainant's department. Finally, complainant was subjected to a tangible employment action when she was reassigned out of her area to a non-supervisory position that she neither requested nor desired. While complainant requested a new supervisor who would not harass her, she did not request to leave her area or request to be placed in a non- supervisory position. In addition, management did not discuss the reassignment with complainant prior to sending her the letter of reassignment. In affirming the AJ's damages award, the Commission noted the testimony of complainant's rheumatologist that the stress of discrimination substantially worsened her rheumatoid arthritis and lupus auto-immune diseases directly affected by stress. The physician also noted that complainant suffered from depression and anxiety due to a worsening of her conditions. The doctor further stated that complainant would need to receive aggressive treatment (i.e., chemotherapy) indefinitely and, possibly, for the rest of her life. Further, complainant would not be able to have children. Complainant's husband also testified to the effects of the discrimination on her, stating that she had been destroyed emotionally, that her relationship with her stepson was affected, and that she needed help dressing herself due to the severity of her arthritis. George v. Department of Health and Human Services, EEOC Appeal No. 07A30079 (July 21, 2004).
Disability Discrimination and Harassment Found.
Complainant, who had sustained a back injury at work, was accommodated by the agency for a period of approximately 10 years until a new supervisor was assigned to complainant's unit. The supervisor assigned complainant job duties on a daily basis that required him to exceed his medical limitations and threatened to fire him. Complainant experienced two relapses as a result of the supervisor's actions and underwent emergency back surgery. The Commission found that the agency failed to reasonably accommodate complainant's condition. In addition, EEOC found that complainant was subjected to harassment by the supervisor when he was continually assigned duties outside of his limitations and threatened with discipline. As part of the remedies awarded, the Commission directed the agency to pay complainant $125,000 in compensatory damages. Hernandez v. United States Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 07A30005 (July 16, 2004).
$125,000 Awarded for Sexual Harassment.
The Commission affirmed the Administrative Judgeís (AJís) finding that the Agency subjected Complainant to hostile work environment sexual harassment for over 19 months, and that the record supported the AJís award of $125,000 in non-pecuniary compensatory damages. Statements from Complainant, her Licensed Clinical Social Worker, her husband and a co-worker all showed that Complainant suffered severe emotional distress. Complainant stated that she was embarrassed, humiliated, and felt powerless. The Social Worker treated Complainant for acute stress, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, and stated that Complainant experienced excessive crying, excessive sleeping, difficulty concentrating, feelings of fearfulness and helplessness, intrusive thoughts, guilt, hypervigilance, and paranoia. Complainantís husband stated that she lost interest in most things, became withdrawn, and did not socialize. Jackson v. Depít of the Air Force, EEOC Appeal No. 0720110036 (March 13, 2012).
$2,500 Awarded for Disability Discrimination.
Following a hearing, an AJ found that the Agency violated the Rehabilitation Act when it included information regarding Complainantís medical condition in her Proficiency Report which was placed in Complainantís Official Personnel Folder. The AJ awarded Complainant $1,500 in non-pecuniary compensatory damages. On appeal, the Commission found that the AJís award was insufficient, and that Complainant was entitled to $2,500 in compensatory damages. Complainant addressed the effect of the impermissible medical disclosure as it related to her efforts to secure employment with other facilities. Specifically, she indicated that she applied to six different Agency facilities and supplied the Proficiency Report as part of the application process. Complainant also submitted affidavits from her daughter and a friend detailing the emotional distress and financial strain Complainant experienced. Daley v. Depít of Veterans Affairs, EEOC Appeal No. 0120091580 (January 27, 2012).
$50,000 Awarded for Non-selection.
In a prior decision, the Commission found that the Agency retaliated against Complainant when it failed to select him for a Store Director position. The Agency conducted a supplemental investigation, and awarded Complainant $13,000 in non-pecuniary damages. On appeal, the Commission found that the evidence of record supported an award of $50,000. Following the retaliatory non-selection, Complainant experienced hypertension, depression, stress, anxiety, headaches, chest pain, stomach cramps, sleep problems, nightmares, irritability, a lack of interest in social activity, and thoughts of violence. Complainantís psychiatrist found that he was unable to work, and Complainant ultimately filed for disability retirement. The Commission noted that while many of the symptoms were present before the retaliation, the non-selection significantly exacerbated Complainantís symptoms as evidenced by his seeking psychiatric help shortly thereafter. The Commission also found that Complainant was entitled to payment in the amount of $3,962 for medical bills which were substantiated in the record. In addition, the Commission ordered the Agency to compensate Complainant for loss of future earning capacity. Just before the non-selection, Complainant went on leave due, at least in part, to stress related to his work environment. The Commission noted, however, that there was no evidence that he was too disabled to return to work until after the non-selection. The Commission stated that Complainantís earning capacity was clearly diminished in that his disability retirement payments will be less than the salary he would have earned if selected for the Store Manager position. Lovett v. Depít of Def., EEOC Appeal No. 0120102682 (December 20, 2011).
$15,000 Awarded for Harassment.
Following an administrative hearing, an AJ found that the Agency perceived Complainant as disabled and management officials harassed him on the bases of this perceived disability. The AJ awarded Complainant, among other things, $15,000 in non-pecuniary compensatory damages. The Agency fully adopted the AJís decision. Complainant filed an appeal, contesting only the issue of non-pecuniary damages. On appeal, the Commission found that the AJís award of $15,000 in damages was supported by substantial evidence. According to the record, the harassment took place over a period of five months, and Complainant saw his physician because he was experiencing a rapid heart beat, elevated blood pressure, and dizziness. Complainant then saw a psychiatrist who diagnosed him with an adjustment disorder with mixed features including anxiety, depression and occupational problems. The psychiatrist noted that Complainant said he did not want to leave his home, had insomnia, and was worried, anxious, and ruminated. Complainant took medication for his condition. The Commission concluded that the AJís award was appropriate considering the severity of the harm suffered, and the length of time Complainant suffered the harm, and was consistent with prior Commission precedent. Thompson v. U.S. Postal Serv., EEOC Appeal Nol. 0120100682 (October 21, 2011).
$10,000 Awarded for Discriminatory Non-selection.
In a previous decision, the Commission determined that the Agency discriminated against Complainant when it did not select him for a Supervisory Grants Management Specialist position. Following a supplemental investigation, the Agency issued a decision awarding Complainant $2,000 in non-pecuniary damages. On appeal, the Commission initially found that Complainant failed to provide any evidence of pecuniary losses. With regard to non-pecuniary damages, the Commission concluded that Complainant was entitled to an award in the amount of $10,000. The Agency found that Complainant established a nexus between the discriminatory selection process and the specific harm incurred. Complainant indicated that he had been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, depression, and other physical and emotional conditions. The record, however, showed that Complainant had been under the care of various health professionals for years due to other factors. Complainantís medical information did note that his medical conditions worsened due to the hostility in the workplace. Harris v. Depít of Labor, EEOC Appeal No. 0120113120 (December 9, 2011).
Is there a time requirement for filing disability retirement?
Yes. OPM must receive your application not more than one year after the date you separated from your position.
Do I have to document that I have applied for social security disability benefits to obtain disability retirement?
If you are applying for disability retirement under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) or the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) with offset service you must document that you have applied for social security disability benefits.
A Medical Doctor who was to properly assess my work injury failed to administer test for my OWCP benefits, he saw me for 5 minutes, did not perform any xray or test and just wrote a report sayng I had zero disability what can I do?Find and Rate a Doctor
You can report the doctor's failure to OWCP; you should also file a complaint in the state where the doctor is licensed; and you can visit the link below to register a complaint on-line.
Maryland Complaint Form
EEO COMPLAINT PROCESSING
What is the first step I must take to file a complaint?
The first step is to contact an EEO Counselor at the agency within 45 days of the discriminatory action. The individual may choose to participate in either counseling, or in ADR when the agency offers ADR. Ordinarily, counseling must be completed within 30 days and ADR within 90 days. At the end of counseling, or if ADR is unsuccessful, the individual may then file a complaint with the agency.
Do ethnic slurs constitute harassment on the basis of race and/or national origin?
Yes. Ethnic slurs constitute harassment when it creates an offensive work environment, or interferes with an individual's work performance or equal employment opportunities. Harassment on the basis of national origin and race is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.
I have never filed a complaint before. How long does the process take?
The process, which is lengthy in nature, varies from agency to agency. While early resolution is most desirable, the majority of cases linger for years. In FY2007, the EEOC reported the governmentwide average for the investigation alone took 176 days (approximately 6 months).
See that chart below to obtain an idea of timeframes. This chart does not factor in days for such events as appeals by the agency (Defendant), court filings or motions for extension of time filed by either party,
Is there information that provides an overview of the EEO Federal Sector Process?
Information is available at:
Digest of EEOC Law, Volume XX, No. 1
An Overview of the EEO Process In The Federal Sector
From Initiation Through Investigations
Digest of EEOC Law, Volume XX, No. 2 An Overview of EEO Process In The Federal Sector From
Class Complaints Through Enforcement
Protection From Discrimination
How to File a Federal EEO Complaint
Filing A Complaint
EXHAUSTING ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES
I have heard that Federal employees must exhaust administrative remedies before filing a civil action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Rehabilitation Act. What does this mean?
Unfortunately the agency internal process is often lengthy and ineffective. Nevertheless, Federal employees must give the agency an opportunity to resolve claims against it despite the protracted process. Filing in court prematurely may jeopardize your case and cause it to be DISMISSED. See 42 U.S.C.2000e-16(c). Employees who allege discrimination must consult with an agency Equal Employment Opportunity counselor before filing a written complaint with the agency accused of discriminatory practices. See 29 C.F.R. 1614.105(a); 29 C.F.R. 1614.106(a)-(c). A complainant must initiate contact with [an EEO] Counselor within 45 days of the date of the matter alleged to be discriminatory 29 C.F.R. 1614.105(a)(l). The agency must then investigate the matter within 180 days, after which the complainant may demand an immediate final decision from the agency or a hearing before an administrative judge. See 29 C.F.R. 1614.106(e)(2); 29 C.F.R. 1614.108(f)-(g). If an employee subsequently
the complaint, the agency has the earlier of 180 days from the last amendment or 360 days from the filing of the original complaint in which to complete its investigation. See 29 C.F.R. 1614.106(e)(2).
The agency is taking forever to process my EEO complaint, when can I file the action in court?
Before filing a case in court, the Federal employee must exhaust administrative remedies. Agencies often move to have employees case dismissed for failing to--exhaust administrative remedies. Notably, a complainant who has filed an individual complaint with an agency is authorized under title VII to file a civil action in an appropriate United States District Court:
- Within 90 days of receipt of the final [agency] action on a complaint if no appeal has been filed;
- After 180 days from the date of filing a complaint if an appeal has not been filed and final action has not been taken [by the agency];
- Within 90 days of receipt of the [Equal Employment Opportunity] Commission's final decision on an appeal; or
- After 180 days from the date of filing an appeal with the Commission if there has been no final decision by the Commission.
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How do I go about contacting my elected official for assistance?
The following websites can be accessed to obtain contact information of your representative.
Find Your Congressional Official
Contact Your Elected Official
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Freedom of Information Officer Contacts
Where can I find information on FOIA contacts?
The following website provie contacts by agency:
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Where can I find information on lawyers?
The following websites provide links to attorneys that may be available to assist you:
Super Lawyers Website
In addition the link that follows shares ratings of lawyers.
Merit Systems Protection Board
Click To Read ----MSPB JUDGES HANDBOOK
My supervisor failed to file my OWCP claim. Can I file a EEO complaint on this matter?
Yes. EEOC has ruled that where an employees alleges discrimination in the agency's failure to submit an injury compensation claim to the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) the employee has stated an EEO claim. With regard to such matters the complaint must address the processing, rather than the merits, of the OWCP claim. Brown v. United States Postal Service, EEOC Request No. 05980128 (July 22, 1999).
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No FEAR Data
How do I obtan No FEAR Data By Agency?
Pursuant to the No FEAR Act, information about EEO complaint activity is
to be made available on the interested Department or Agency website.
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Q1. I cannot afford an attorney at this time; however I want to pursue the injustice against me. Can I represent myself in court?
Yes, you can represent yourself -- Pro Se. The term is a latin phrase that means for oneself. It refers to legal representation where a person represents himself or herself without a lawyer in a court proceeding. If filing in Washington DC more than likely you will file your proceeding in the E. Barrett Prettyman Building, United States Courthouse,
333 Constitution Avenue, NW,Washington, DC 20001. It would be advisable to read - The Federal Rules of Civil Procedures. These rules govern the procedure in all civil actions and proceedings in the United States district courts, except as stated in Rule 81. Additionally, you should review local rules of the applicable jurisdiction. For example, if filing in Washington DC see http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/LocalRules.pdf (This document is shown below)
Moreover, you should also be aware of the the Federal Rules of Evidence. These rules govern the introduction of evidence in proceedings, both civil and criminal, in Federal courts. http://www.uscourts.gov/rules/Evidence_Rules_2007.pdf Review----> Local Rules / Federal Rules of Civil Procedures / Federal Rules of Evidence
A.   LOCAL RULES
(i.) Maryland Rules-If filing in Maryland you may want to review the rules governing the State of Maryland. Maryland Rules
(ii.) D.C. Local Rules (See Below)
B. FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE
C. FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) are rules governing civil procedure in United States district (federal) courts, that is, court procedures for civil suits. The FRCP are promulgated by the United States Supreme Court.
Q2. I have often heard that the courts give the jury instructions regarding management‛s right to make business decisions. What type of instructions are given?
As a Plaintiff you should be aware that the courts have often given the jury the following instructions when rendering a verdict regarding discrimination/retaliation:
In reaching your verdict on the Plaintiff‛s race, etc.discrimination claim, you should
keep in mind that the law requires only that an employer not discriminate against an employee based on race, etc.
“The law does not require an employer to use good judgment, to make correct decisions, or even to treat its employees fairly. ” Therefore in deciding the Plaintiff‛s discrimination claim, it is not your function to second-guess the Defendant‛s decisions, such as [describe challenged decision], unless you find that the decisions were motivated by illegal discrimination and/or retaliation or other illegal act.
I. SAMPLE COMPLAINT 1-UNLAWFUL EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION
II. SAMPLE COMPLAINT 2-UNLAWFUL EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION
III. SAMPLE COMPLAINT 3-UNLAWFUL EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION
IV. SAMPLE COMPLAINT 4-REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION
IV. SAMPLE JURY INSTRUCTIONS-DISCRIMINATION
II. SAMPLE JURY INSTRUCTIONS-DISCRIMINATION
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Is the Federal government covered by the ADA?
No. The American Disabilities (ADA) does not cover the executive branch of the Federal government. The executive branch is covered by the title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It is important to cite the proper Act failure to do so may result in your complaint being dismissed.
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What is reasonable accommodation?
Reasonable accommodation is a change in the work environment or in the application process that would enable a person with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. There are three general categories of reasonable accommodations: (1) changes to a job application process to permit people with disabilities to be considered for jobs; (2) changes to enable people with disabilities to perform the essential functions of a job; and (3) changes to give people with disabilities equal access to the benefits.
Can a reasonable accommodation request be supported by Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)?
A LCSW can be an appropriate health care professional to provide documentation, depending on the case. Morgan v. Navy, EEOC Appeal No. 01972175 (February 3, 2000).
What resources are available to assist me in addressing unlawful practices in the workplace?Code of Federal Regulations
As a plaintiff in a EEO complaint, is it beneficial to have a breach clause in a settlement agreement?
Yes. It is important to understand that a breach refers to a refusal or failure to fulfill an obligation imposed by an agreement also referred to as a stipulation of settlement. Whether the agreement happens at the administrative level (prior to filing in court) or at the court level,it is expected that agencies will honor agreements with plaintiffs (i.e, employees). Notwithstanding the expectation, agencies have been known to breach settlement agreements. In such cases, you should outline what your recourse can be and where the dispute is to be handled, such as District Court, arbitration, EEOC, MSPB, in case a breach occurs. See narrative about an agency breach.
When can a probationary appointment be terminated and does the employee in this category have a right of appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board?
The probationary appointment of any person may be terminated at any time during the probationary period without the right of appeal. However, if the employee believes he or she was fired due to discrimination an EEO complaint may be filed.
DISCLAIMER: Information on this website is NOT to be considered legal advice.
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