Thursday, July 31, 2014

Changes to 5 CFR Part 251 Organizations representing federal employees

When I saw this change to 5 CFR Part 251, I thought about the elite few federal employees entitled, only because they know about the new and established rules of making federal agencies pay for conventions, seminars and airfare, hotel and food. By bringing this knowledge to all federal employees, I am hoping to even the playing field.

OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT

5 CFR Part 251 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_00/5cfr251_00.html

RIN 3206-AG38

Agency Relationships With Organizations Representing Federal Employees and Other Organizations

AGENCY: Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is issuing final regulations governing agency relations with managerial, supervisory, professional, and other organizations that are not labor organizations. These regulations are being issued as part of the implementation of the Federal Personnel Manual (FPM) sunset. The regulations incorporate certain provisions that existed in former FPM chapters 251 and 252.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 26, 1996.

Accordingly, OPM is adding Part 251 as follows:

1. Part 251 is added to read as follows:

PART 251--AGENCY RELATIONSHIPS WITH ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTING FEDERAL EMPLOYEES AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS

Subpart A--General Provisions

Sec.

251.101 Introduction.

251.102 Coverage.

251.103 Definitions.

Subpart B--Relationships With Organizations Representing Federal Employees and Other Organizations

251.201 Associations of management officials and/or supervisors.

251.202 Agency support to organizations representing Federal employees and other organizations.

Subpart C--Dues Withholding

251.301 Associations of management officials and/or supervisors.

251.302 All other organizations.

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 1104; 5 U.S.C. Chap 7; 5 U.S.C. 7135; 5 U.S.C. 7301; and E.O. 11491.

Subpart A--General Provisions

Sec. 251.202 Agency support to organizations representing Federal employees and other organizations.

(a) An agency may provide support services to an organization when the agency determines that such action would benefit the agency's programs or would be warranted as a service to employees who are members of the organization and complies with applicable statutes and regulations. Examples of such support services are as follows:

(1) Permitting employees, in appropriate cases, to use agency equipment or administrative support services for preparing papers to be presented at conferences or symposia or published in journals;

(2) Using the authority under 5 U.S.C. 4109 and 4110, as implemented by 5 CFR part 410, to pay expenses of employees to attend professional organization meetings when such attendance is for the purpose of employee development or directly concerned with agency

functions or activities and the agency can derive benefits from employee attendance at such meetings; and

(3) Following a liberal policy in authorizing excused absence for other employees who are willing to pay their own expenses to attend a meeting of a professional association or other organization from which an agency could derive some benefits.

(b) Agencies may provide Government resources support to organizations (such as space in Government facilities for meeting purposes and the use of agency bulletin boards, internal agency mail distribution systems, electronic bulletin boards and other means of informing agency employees about meetings and activities) in accordance with appropriate General Services Administration regulations contained in title 41 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The mere provision of such support to any organization is not to be construed as Federal sponsorship, sanction, or endorsement of the organization or its activities.

Grantham University wants to transition federal employees to civilian employment

Most high value benefits are only known to very few federal employees, it seems like management are the only ones who know about full scholarships available for any federal employee at all GS levels at a University. While benefits that come with your job, such as health insurance, life insurance, employee assistance plans, most federal employees don't know they can apply for full scholarships for an education. Grantham University helps federal employees transition from federal employment to civilian employment, through several online college degrees they offer. The university is entirely online, from what I've read about them.

I found them through a group of women federal employees called FEW, that offers 1 full paid scholarship per year to their members. I went on the Grantham website and noticed other federal employment scholarships to AFGE members, and at least 2 black federal employee groups

Some subjects you can obtain degrees at Grantham

Engineering and Computer Science

School of Business

Nursing and Allied Health

Art and Sciences

Grantham also has special tuition's for Veterans and First Responders

Federal Government Employee Programs

Are you a federal government employee with your eye on career advancement, but lack the college degree to put you in the lineup for government job promotions?
At Grantham University, we thrive on seeing our students realize their educational and professional aspirations. For 60+ years, we've helped busy adult learners earn their college education without losing sight of other job and family obligations. And we can help you, too.
  • 100% online for anytime, anywhere education (all you need is an Internet connection!)
  • Accredited, professionally relevant degree programs
  • Frequent course starts, eight-week classes for optimum flexibility
  • Low tuition rates and affordable payment options, including scholarship programs available to eligible federal government employees

AFGE Scholarship to Grantham University

Complete form to the right to start application

Application deadline: August 31, 2014

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is partnering with Grantham University to offer one of its members a full scholarship to the University. Valued up to $36,000, the scholarship covers tuition costs, required textbooks, software and fees for the recipient to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree at Grantham. The scholarship recipient will also receive a laptop computer provided by Purchasing Power and AFGE.
Applicants must:
  • Be an AFGE dues-paying member in good standing.
  • Meet Grantham University's minimum admissions requirements.
  • Submit a 500 – 1000 word essay titled, “What my union means to me.” Describe your relationship with the union and the labor movement, how it has personally affected your life, and why you believe you are a good choice for the scholarship.
  • Scholarship recipient must begin studies at Grantham University within 6 months of being awarded the scholarship.
  • The scholarship is only valid in the name of the original recipient. It cannot be transferred.
Continuing Eligibility Requirements are as follows:
  • The scholarship recipient must maintain good academic standing.
  • The scholarship recipient must remain continuously enrolled as defined in the University Catalog.
The scholarship recipient is selected by the Grantham University Scholarship Committee. Selection criteria include meeting Grantham admissions requirements and the essay submission.
NOTE: The scholarship recipient must maintain good academic standing and remain continuously enrolled, as defined in the Grantham University Catalog, to maintain scholarship eligibility. The scholarship will cover the costs of courses, textbooks, software and fees required for the recipient’s chosen degree program. Courses outside of the degree program may be taken, but at the expense of the scholarship recipient.

Greater KC David C. Hampton Blacks In Government Scholarship

The Greater Kansas City (GKC) Chapter of Blacks In Government (B.I.G.) is partnering with Grantham University to offer a full scholarship for a Grantham graduate degree program. 


Application Closed
Application deadline: October 1, 2013

 


Scholarship Details

Each calendar year, one full scholarship will be awarded for the recipient to earn a graduate degree. The scholarship, valued at up to $13,100*, is inclusive of tuition, textbooks, software and fees.

Initial Eligibility Requirements:

  • Applicants must meet Grantham University’s minimum admissions requirements
  • Applicants must meet any special program admissions requirements
  • Applicants who are current students must be in good academic standing and be free of any financial holds on their account
  • Applicants must meet the criteria established by GKC BIG, which will be evaluated by GKC BIG on the following:
    • Membership length of time (applicants must be either a member of GKC BIG or a spouse, son or daughter of a member)
    • Membership participation at any level of BIG
    • Applicant’s scholarship benefit to BIG
    • Applicant’s justification of scholarship need (in essay format)
  • Application deadline closes October 1, 2013
  • Application materials must be submitted to GKC BIG at grantham.edu/BIG

Continuing Eligibility Requirements:

  • Scholarship recipient must begin studies at Grantham University within six months following award of the scholarship
  • Scholarship recipient must maintain good academic standing**
  • Scholarship recipient must remain continuously enrolled**
GKC BIG will provide the University with its top three applicants, based on the criteria established by GKC BIG. The final scholarship recipient will be selected by the Grantham University Scholarship Committee based on the following criteria:
  • The applicant must meet all initial eligibility requirements
  • Quality of the essay
    • Does the content properly address the essay question
    • Organization of ideas
    • Proper formatting, grammar, spelling and other writing mechanics
 As a condition of accepting the scholarship, each applicant will be asked to grant permission to Grantham University to release information contained in the scholarship application to the news media in the event that he or she is awarded a scholarship. Additionally, the scholarship recipient must provide a biography and photo for use by Grantham University.
* Estimate based on current tuition rates
** As defined in the Grantham University Catalog
NOTE: The scholarship will only cover the costs of tuition for courses, textbooks, software and fees required for the recipient’s chosen degree program. Courses outside of the degree program may be taken, but at the expense of the scholarship recipient. The Grantham University Scholarship Committee reserves the right not to award the scholarship if there is not a qualified applicant.

Federally Employed Women (FEW) Scholarship

Application Deadline – October 18, 2014
Start Application
Federally Employed Women (FEW) is partnering with Grantham University to award one FEW member a full scholarship* toward either an undergraduate or graduate degree from the University. The scholarship is valued up to $38,600, and covers tuition costs, required textbooks, software and fees. Scholarship value depends on the degree selected and credits transferred.
To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must meet the following criteria:
  • Membership in good standing for at least one year with demonstrated participation at the local FEW Chapter level or above or be the spouse or dependent child of an active FEW member.
  • Complete an essay on the topic “Why I should be awarded a FEW Foundation Scholarship.”
  • This essay should be 150-200 words and should be no longer than two pages, double-spaced format using Times New Roman 12-point font with one-inch margins on all four sides.  The essay should address your financial need, your educational interests and how the degree will help meet your training objectives and career goals.  FEW members must also indicate your commitment to FEW and your plans for continued involvement in the organization.
  • Submit three (3) letters of recommendation with your application from the local Chapter president, regional manager, community leader(s) and/or supervisor(s).  [High school and college applicants may submit letters of recommendation from teacher(s)/professor(s).]   FEW members must include a letter of recommendation from your Chapter president or regional manager.
  • All applicants must meet Grantham University’s academic and admissions policies.  Please review these policies at http://www.grantham.edu/online-college-admissions/requirements/.
  • Applicants must meet any special program admissions requirements.
  • Scholarship recipient must begin studies at Grantham University within six months of being awarded the scholarship.
  • The scholarship is only valid in the name of the original recipient.  It cannot be transferred.
Continuing Eligibility Requirements:
  • The scholarship recipient must maintain good academic standing.
  • The scholarship recipient must remain continuously enrolled as defined in the University Catalog.
Grantham University will make three attempts to award the scholarship. If the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place candidates decline the scholarship, Grantham will not award the scholarship for that current year.
Scholarship applications will be accepted until midnight Eastern Time on October 18, 2014. The scholarship recipient will be notified by November 7, 2014 by a member of the FEW Foundation.  A press release and announcement of the 2014 scholarship recipient will be posted on Grantham's website, www.grantham.edu and FEW Foundation for Education and Training website, www.fewfoundation.org by November 28, 2014.
The scholarship donated to FEW provides an opportunity for the recipient to obtain a degree. It does not guarantee degree completion. The recipient must comply with all University policies (i.e., admissions requirements and Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). The scholarship will only cover the costs of the courses, textbooks, software and fees required for the recipient’s chosen degree program. Courses outside of the degree program may be taken, but at the expense of the scholarship recipient.
*As defined in the Grantham University Catalog.

Don’t let another day go by without talking to Grantham about how to make your education – and promotion opportunities – happen for you. Call us today at (888) 947-2684 or email us at admissions@grantham.edu to learn more.



Instructions for hiring disabled federal employees

Just because someone has a disability ad wants to work for a federal agency, its a civil rights discrimination not to consider the disabled applicant, if they are qualified for the job. Even President Obama has weighed in with his executive order on hiring people with disabilities. Good luck with the job hunt.


MEMORANDUM FOR HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
From:
John Berry
Director
Subject:
Model Strategies for Recruitment and Hiring of People with Disabilities as Required Under Executive Order 13548
On July 26, 2010, President Obama issued Executive Order (EO) 13548, which directs Executive departments and agencies to improve their efforts to employ Federal workers with disabilities and targeted disabilities through increased recruitment, hiring, and retention of these individuals. OPM, in consultation with the White House, the Department of Labor (DOL), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), has developed, as required by the EO, model recruitment and hiring strategies for agencies to use to increase their employment of people with disabilities. That document is attached to this memorandum.
Agencies now have 120 days from the date of this memorandum to submit their plans for increasing employment of people with disabilities to OPM. The model strategies document contains detailed guidance on what agencies should include in their plans.
Executive Order 13548 demonstrates the President’s strong commitment to making the Federal Government a welcoming place for people with disabilities where they can thrive and make the most of their talents and abilities. We must all make it a priority to do a better job of recruiting, hiring, and retaining people with disabilities. These attached strategies set us on that path. OPM is committed to helping your agency achieve this important goal.
Please submit your agency plan to John Benison by email at john.benison@opm.gov. For accessibility purposes, please submit your agency’s plan in MS Word format. Mr. Benison is available to answer questions regarding the EO and your agency plan.
cc: Chiefs of Staff and Chief Human Capital Officers
Attachments:
  1. Model Strategies for Recruitment and Hiring of People Witih Disabilities
  2. SF-256, Self-Identification of Disability
  3. Rollups, Redifinitions, and Additions to Disability Codes

Attachment 1

MODEL STRATEGIES FOR RECRUITMENT AND
HIRING OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

I. Introduction

On July 26, 2010, President Obama issued Executive Order 13548, which provides that the Federal Government, as the Nation's largest employer, must become a model for the employment of individuals with disabilities. The order directs Executive departments and agencies (agencies) to improve their efforts to employ Federal workers with disabilities and targeted disabilities through increased recruitment, hiring, and retention of these individuals. This is not only the right thing to do, but it is also good for the Government, as it increases the potential pool of highly qualified people from which the Federal Government draws its talent.
The Executive Order further instructed the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), in consultation with the Secretary of Labor, the Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to design model recruitment and hiring strategies for agencies to facilitate their employment of people with disabilities. This document constitutes that guidance.
It provides recruitment, hiring, and retention strategies to assist agencies in increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in the Federal workforce through compliance with Executive Order 13163 and achievement of the goals set forth therein over 5 years, including specific goals for hiring individuals with targeted disabilities.
The Executive Order also required each agency to develop an agency-specific plan for promoting employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Tips for creating agency plans are included in this guidance.
OPM, in consultation with DOL, EEOC, and OMB, is also currently developing mandatory training programs for human resources personnel and hiring managers regarding the employment of persons with disabilities. Further information about these programs will be forthcoming.
In order to meet the goals the President set forth in the Executive Order, commitment is required at all levels of the agency. Accordingly, this document should be reviewed carefully by agency leadership, the senior-level official who is accountable for ensuring the agency meets the requirements of the Executive Order, agency hiring managers, HR staffing specialists, Selective Placement Program Coordinators, Disability Program Managers, and any other staff with responsibility for supporting the hiring and retention of people with disabilities/targeted disabilities.

II. Key Requirements of the Executive Order

  • The Executive Order adopts the goal set forth in Executive Order 13163 of hiring 100,000 people with disabilities into the Federal Government over 5 years, including individuals with targeted disabilities.
  • It creates a requirement that human resources personnel and hiring managers receive mandatory training on hiring people with disabilities.
  • Within 120 days of receiving the model strategies outlined herein, each agency must develop an agency-specific plan for implementing the Executive Order and promoting employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
  • The plans are to be developed in consultation with and, as appropriate, subject to approval by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
  • Agency specific plans are to include performance targets and numerical goals for employment of individuals with disabilities and sub-goals for employment of individuals with targeted disabilities, consistent with law. For the list of targeted disabilities, see Standard Form (SF) 256, Self Identification of Disability, which is attached to this document.
  • Each agency is required to designate a senior-level agency official to be accountable for enhancing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities and individuals with targeted disabilities. This official, among other things, is accountable for developing and implementing the agency's plan, creating recruitment and training programs for employment of individuals with disabilities and targeted disabilities, and coordinating employment counseling to help match the career aspirations of individuals with disabilities to the needs of the agency.
  • In implementing their plans, agencies, to the extent permitted by law, are directed to increase use of the Federal Government's Schedule A excepted service hiring authority for persons with disabilities and increase participation of individuals with disabilities in internships, fellowships, and training and mentoring programs.
  • The Director of OPM, in consultation with the Director of OMB, will implement a system for reporting regularly to the President, the heads of agencies, and the public on agencies' progress in implementing their plans and meeting the objectives of the Executive Order. OPM, to the extent permitted by law, will compile and post on its website Government-wide statistics on the hiring of individuals with disabilities.
  • The Director of OPM, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor and Chair of the EEOC, will identify and assist agencies in implementing strategies for retaining Federal workers with disabilities in Federal employment including, but not limited to, training, the use of centralized accommodation funds to provide reasonable accommodations, increasing access to appropriate accessible technologies, and ensuring the accessibility of physical and virtual workspaces.
  • Agencies are to make special efforts, to the extent permitted by law, to ensure the retention of those who are injured on the job. This includes working to improve, expand, and increase successful return-to-work outcomes for those of their employees who sustain work-related injuries and illnesses as defined under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA), to increase the availability of job accommodations and light or limited duty jobs, to remove disincentives for FECA claimants to return to work, and to take other appropriate measures.
  • The Secretary of Labor, in consultation with the Director of OPM, is to pursue innovative re-employment strategies and develop policies, procedures, and structures that foster improved return-to-work outcomes, including pursuing overall reform of the FECA system. The Secretary of Labor is also directed to propose specific outcome measures and targets by which each agency's progress in carrying out return-to-work and FECA claims processing efforts can be assessed.
  • To view the entire EO go to: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-18988.pdf.

III. Agency Specific Plans

As mentioned, the Executive Order requires each agency to develop an agency specific plan for implementing the goals of the Executive Order and promoting employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. OPM and OMB will review the plans. We encourage agencies to be creative and comprehensive in drafting their plans. At a minimum, though, all agency plans should contain the following:
  • The name of the agency senior-level official who will be accountable for enhancing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities and individuals with targeted disabilities within the agency and for meeting the goals of the Executive Order. This individual should be a member of the agency's Senior Executive Service (SES) ranks and should review the agency's plan before submission to OPM and OMB.
  • An overview of the agency's strategies to recruit, hire, and retain individuals with disabilities/targeted disabilities including the number of individuals with disabilities/targeted disabilities that the agency will set as a hiring goal for each year over the next five years, beginning with 2011, and a description of how the agency will hire individuals with disabilities at all grade levels and in various job occupations (series).
  • A description of the agency's plan for providing participation of appropriate personnel in mandatory training and for assessing and increasing the impact of that training on managers' use of effective tools to recruit, hire, and retain individuals with disabilities.
  • A description of how the agency will increase return-to-work outcomes and coordinate with the Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) to make accommodations available to injured Federal employees who sustain serious workplace injuries or illnesses. Agency plans should contain quarterly monitoring of return-to-work successes under the President's Protecting Our Workers and Ensuring Reemployment (POWER) Initiative and identify injured employees, as defined under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA), who would benefit from accommodations and reassignment. Reemployment of employees injured on the job will assist agencies in improving their disability hiring outcomes. For additional information on retention and re-employment of Federal employees who are injured on the job go to: http://www.dol.gov/owcp/dfec/power
In addition, Agency Heads shall encourage all agency managers, via letter, email, or other effective means of communication, to recruit, hire, and retain people with disabilities, including the agency's performance goals, describing the agency's obligation to do so under the Executive Order.

IV. Schedule A Appointing Authorities

A. Description
Excepted service appointing authorities are critical tools for increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities in the Federal Government. Two of these authorities are particularly relevant:
  • Schedule A, 5 CFR 213.3102(u), for hiring people with severe physical disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, and mental retardation. This excepted authority is used to appoint persons with severe physical disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, and intellectual disabilities. Such individuals may qualify for conversion to permanent status after two years of satisfactory service. Severe physical disabilities include but are not limited to blindness, deafness, paralysis, missing limbs, epilepsy, dwarfism, and more.
  • Schedule A, 5 CFR 213.3102(11) for hiring readers, interpreters, and personal assistants. This excepted authority is used to appoint readers, interpreters, and personal assistants for employees with severe disabilities as reasonable accommodations.
OPM has developed Bite Size Training on "Using Schedule A to Hire People with Disabilities." It is available at http://golearn.gov/HiringReform/index.htm. This 5-minute training provides managers and HR staff with a helpful overview of what they need to know to hire people with disabilities using Schedule A. Also, as mentioned above, OPM is working on further training programs for agencies to use in meeting their obligation to provide mandatory training to human resources personnel and hiring managers. Additional information on these programs will be forthcoming.
B. Documentation and the SF-256
In order to be eligible for employment through the Schedule A non-competitive process, documentation of the disability is required. Such documentation is used to verify that the individual being hired is indeed a person with an intellectual disability, severe physical disability, or psychiatric disability. This documentation must be provided to the hiring agency before an individual can be hired. Documentation of eligibility for employment under Schedule A can be obtained from a licensed medical professional (e.g., a physician or other medical professional certified by a state, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory to practice medicine); a licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist (i.e., state or private); or any Federal agency, state agency, or agency of the District of Columbia or a U.S. territory that issues or provides disability benefits.
In addition, upon hiring, the individual with a disability or the agency Human Resource office should complete the Standard Form 256. The SF-256 includes the legal definition of disability and lists various disabilities, including several that are considered targeted disabilities.
Applicants and employees with disabilities may also use the SF-256 to voluntarily identify their particular disability for data collection purposes only, even if they are not seeking to establish eligibility under Schedule A. Data captured from the SF-526 is used to compile the disability demographics of Federal agencies. This data is crucial for agencies to determine how well or poorly they are achieving their disability hiring goals.
In addition, as recommended by EEOC, agencies should use the updated SF 256 as a tool to measure progress by resurveying the workforce at least every other year to request that people with disabilities self-identify. Agencies should include the number of current employees who self identify for the first time through the resurvey process in their overall total number of employees with disabilities/targeted disabilities. Employees should be assured that the information collected through the re-survey is only to be used to determine if the agency is meeting its hiring and retention goals.
OPM recently updated SF-256 to better reflect current definitional language with respect to the disability community. The updated SF-256 and a bridge document that details the differences between it and the form previously used by OPM are attached. Agencies should begin using the updated SF-256 now, if they have not already done so.
Any information that is captured on the SF-256 is protected from improper disclosure under the Privacy Act.

V. Strategies To Increase Employment of People with Disabilities/Targeted Disabilities in the Federal Government

Agencies should employ each of the strategies and actions listed below to support the goals of the Executive Order and become a model employer of people with disabilities/targeted disabilities. The list of strategies and actions is not exhaustive and agencies are encouraged to add to it with their own approaches that will also lead to increased recruitment, hiring, and retention of people with disabilities/targeted disabilities.
A. Develop a Solid Foundation
A solid foundation is necessary to accomplishing the goals set by the President in the Executive Order. The following strategies will help agencies to create the foundation upon which future results will be built.
  • Have your agency specific plan for promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities approved by and implemented under the direction, close supervision, and support of the senior-level agency official and other members of the leadership of the agency as designated by the agency head. Build organizational support for the plans by implementing them in collaboration and partnership with other relevant program offices, such as the Human Resources, EEO/Civil Rights, and Chief Information Officer's organizations.
  • Conduct mandatory training for Senior leadership, hiring managers, and HR staffing and employee relations specialists on the agency's plan to promote employment opportunities for people with disabilities, including use of the Schedule A authority for people with disabilities, other tools available to assist agencies in identifying qualified applicants with disabilities for open agency positions, and the agency's procedures for providing reasonable accommodation to job applicants and employees with disabilities.
  • At the agency headquarters level, ensure that a full-time Selective Placement Coordinator is in place to recruit individuals with disabilities. This individual should be sufficiently senior (i.e., GS-13/14) to advise management on disability recruitment, hiring, advancement and retention. Ensure that the Coordinator is trained in Schedule A for people with disabilities and other excepted hiring authorities, the Rehabilitation Act, Reasonable Accommodation requirements and responsibilities, how to conduct workforce representation analysis, developing recruitment strategies, and establishing contacts with external recruitment sources to reach individuals with disabilities. This training is currently offered by EEOC and DOD.
  • Organize an agency disability recruitment task force made up of human resources staff, EEO staff, current employees with disabilities, and managers who have hired people with disabilities. Among other things, the taskforce can help the agency establish a network of disability recruitment resources.
  • Review and update all employment information and recruitment materials to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities. Ensure that all information posted on the agency's Internet and Intranet sites is reviewed for Section 508 compliance and, in particular, screen-reader compatibility. Employment information should also be made available in alternate formats such as large print, Braille, and CD.
B. Evaluate Your Hiring Process
  • When conducting a job analysis, include review of the agency's eligibility criteria and any agency-specific qualification standards for positions. Identify and revise criteria and standards that are unnecessarily restrictive and potentially exclude people with disabilities. Examples of potentially problematic standards may include blanket rules requiring certain levels of unaided hearing or unaided vision.
  • Consistent with the President's Hiring Reform initiative, draft clear, understandable job announcements that explain in plain language the required qualifications and the duties of the job. This is key to any successful recruiting effort, as the job announcement itself can be a barrier for any applicant, including applicants with disabilities, who are interested in Federal employment. In addition to being clear and understandable, every job announcement must communicate the agency's intent to make reasonable accommodations for qualified job applicants and employees with disabilities. All job announcements should also state that the agency is an equal opportunity employer and should encourage candidates with disabilities to apply.
  • Proactively use Schedule A for people with disabilities, as well as other excepted service hiring authorities, to hire people with disabilities expeditiously. Make sure job announcements contain information explaining how to apply under Schedule A.
  • In accordance with EEOC Management Directive (MD)715 (http://www.eeoc.gov/federal/directives/index.cfm), work with your EEO/Civil Rights office to collect, maintain, and analyze applicant flow data and to examine existing recruitment programs and hiring practices to identify and eliminate any barriers to recruiting/hiring individuals with disabilities and, in particular, individuals with targeted disabilities.
C. Identify Qualified People with Disabilities Through Existing Resources
There are a number of resources currently in existence that can help agencies make progress towards the goals set by the President in the Executive Order. Agencies should make full use of these resources to tap into the great potential of people with disabilities:
  • Use OPM's Shared Register of Candidates with Disabilities. OPM, in collaboration with the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) Council, established a contract to populate a shared register of individuals with disabilities who have an interest in working for Federal agencies and who satisfy the requirements of positions federal agencies are frequently required to fill. On a monthly basis, the current vendor will recruit, screen, and direct a minimum of 50 individuals with disabilities to the shared register. This register is sent bi-weekly to the CHCO Council, Deputy CHCOs and agency designated contacts. There is no charge for agencies to use the shared register. Agencies that wish to access the register or that have questions should contact their human capital office. In addition, agencies may contact John Benison or Michael LaRosa in the OPM Deputy Director's Office by e-mail at "> or ">
  • Partner with State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies and State Disability Service agencies to recruit potential applicants with disabilities. State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies (SVRAs) provide counseling, evaluation, training and other services to individuals with disabilities. These agencies can assist with information regarding accommodations, effective retention strategies, legal compliance, and training for the agency's organizations. SVRAs' are one of several sources that candidates may use to obtain proof of disability and certification of job readiness required under the Schedule A appointing authority for people with disabilities. For more information, go to www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/rsa/. In addition, State Disability Service Agencies, such as State mental health agencies, frequently have employment training programs and can be a good recruitment resource.
  • Consult, coordinate and establish working partnerships with Ticket-to-Work Employment Networks and Employment One-Stop Career Centers. The Ticket-to-Work Program provides people receiving Social Security benefits (beneficiaries) choices for receiving employment services. Under this program, the Social Security Administration (SSA) issues tickets to eligible beneficiaries who may assign those tickets to an Employment Network (EN) of their choice to obtain employment services, vocational rehabilitation services, or other support services necessary to achieve a vocational (work) goal. One-Stop Career Centers (One-Stops) were established under the federal Workforce Investment Act to provide a full range of job seeker assistance under one roof. One-Stops are located at a variety of locations in each state, with more than 3,200 centers across the country. The One-Stop system is required to be "universally accessible;" any member of the general public (including those with disabilities) can access the system and use the basic, or "core," One-Stop services. More information is available at www.yourtickettowork.com, www.socialsecurity.gov/work and www.servicelocater.org.
  • Consult with the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), a component of the Department of Education that provides Federal funds in support of the Projects with Industry (PWI) program, the Centers for Independent Living (CIL) program, and the Migrant Seasonal Farm Workers (MSFW) program. Individuals receiving services from these programs are not always clients of state Vocational Rehabilitation Services programs. Often times, through the provision of independent living services, individuals with severe disabilities can reach a level of employment. Agencies should explore opportunities for outreach and collaboration with RSA-supported organizations, including rehabilitation programs for Native Americans, to develop additional recruiting resources to improve employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. For this collaboration to be successful, agencies should ensure that RSA state agencies understand the types of jobs for which it is recruiting and that they receive timely information on job openings. Information on RSA can be found at www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/rsa/.
  • Use the Internet and social media such as Face Book and Twitter to help recruit individuals with disabilities and raise awareness of the agency as an employer.
  • Develop an electronic mailing list of disability advocacy groups in the local geographic area. Remember to send regular email notices to these organizations with all job openings and include a description of the Schedule A authority for people with disabilities and basic instructions on how to apply for a Federal job using this Schedule A authority. The notice is a great opportunity to reinforce the agency's commitment to become a model employer of people with disabilities. The human resources offices in field facilities should establish similar links with local disability advocacy groups. Rely on the support of your Selective Placement Coordinator, Disability Program Manager, and other HR and EEO staff to help with developing the list.
  • Seek collaborative recruiting relationships with community and governmental groups to improve outreach and access to employment opportunities for minority individuals with disabilities.
D. Focus on Student Programs
Agencies should also look to students as a viable source of qualified people with disabilities. Specifically, when recruiting for internship programs, ensure that you include students with disabilities. Effective outreach to students with disabilities is a great way to tap into the enormous potential offered by this segment of society. Here are some strategies to keep in mind that will assist you in tapping into that resource.
  • The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (WRP) is a source of candidates for Federal employment jointly managed by the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Department of Defense. The program helps connect Federal agencies nationwide with highly motivated post-secondary students and recent graduates with disabilities. The WRP seeks: (1) to provide college students with disabilities the opportunity to obtain summer employment that may lead to permanent employment in the Federal or private sector; and (2) to break down attitudinal barriers held by employers and co-workers by demonstrating that people with disabilities can work successfully in a variety of jobs. Agencies can employ summer interns through the WRP and also use WRP as a source of candidates for both temporary and permanent positions. Information on using the WRP as a recruitment resource can be found at www.dol.gov/odep/programs/workforc.htm. Agencies can also send job announcements via mass e-mails to students with disabilities who are listed in the WRP database.
  • Improve outreach efforts through campus visits and partnerships both with the career placement offices and the campus organizations and other networks providing services to students with disabilities. Encourage staff members (particularly those with disabilities) to participate in campus visits to recruit students with disabilities through the WRP.
  • Target professional organizations and publications directed to student with disabilities. Such organizations can be found by contacting disability student service offices at colleges and universities, and Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies.
  • Use student internship programs (currently the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) and the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP)) to offer employment opportunities to students with disabilities, including students from the WRP database, and to complement disability recruitment efforts. (Note: Improvements that are intended to consolidate and enhance the STEP and SCEP programs are expected in the near future.)
  • Identify and participate in special college and university recruiting initiatives and other events. These are opportunities to recruit qualified candidates with disabilities who can be hired immediately using the Schedule A appointing authority.
E. Become A Model Employer of People with Disabilities/Targeted Disabilities
Getting people with disabilities to apply for jobs at your agency and selecting them if they are qualified is only part of the goal of the Executive Order. The President also directed agencies to make the Federal Government the model employer of people with disabilities. By becoming a model employer, agencies will also improve their retention of people with disabilities. Currently, people with disabilities/targeted disabilities leave the Federal Government at three times the rate of those without a disability. Retention is essential to making the investment you are making to identify and hire qualified people with disabilities pay off. Agencies should use the strategies and actions listed in this section to create an accessible, positive, and welcoming environment for job applicants and employees with disabilities.
  • Strive to make every aspect of the agency employment experience accessible to people with disabilities. This includes facilities, programs, technology, websites, and the benefits and privileges of employment. Set targets and measure progress in meeting them.
  • Ensure employees with disabilities are provided training opportunities at the beginning and throughout their careers. Agencies must provide reasonable accommodations in a timely manner to ensure all training programs are accessible.
  • Use and publicize workplace flexibility strategies such as telework, flexiplace, and flextime, including the availability of these flexibilities for people requiring reasonable accommodations, to enhance employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
  • Agency leadership should encourage and participate in agency-wide events that publicize successful efforts to recruit and hire people with disabilities/targeted disabilities. Leaders should also promote the formation of an employee affinity group for employees with disabilities. Regular meetings with this group will provide leadership with the information they need to address issues impacting this community in the workplace. Both actions will demonstrate the agency's commitment to become a model employer of people with disabilities.
  • Conduct exit interviews of any person with a disability leaving Federal employment to collect information and develop data necessary to determine and eliminate barriers to retention.
  • As a means of helping injured and ill employees return to work, engage in an interactive process to determine the availability and appropriateness of reasonable accommodations. Such accommodations could include but are not limited to telework, temporary light duty assignments, and job reassignment.
  • Conduct appropriate succession planning that includes a strategy to recruit and retain people with disabilities for positions and career paths in which they are interested. Where staff input is sought, provide entry- and mid-level employees with disabilities an opportunity to be included when planning for the agency's future management and leadership.
  • Share successful approaches for recruitment and hiring of people with disabilities through the CHCO Council and EEO Director Meetings as well as other venues, so that other agencies may benefit from this information.
F. Use Innovative Approaches To Provide Reasonable Accommodations
Agencies have a legal obligation to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. In order to meet these obligations, agencies should think creatively about ways to make their workplace more accessible and create an environment where their employees who have disabilities can thrive. Here are some suggestions that relate specifically to reasonable accommodation issues.
  • Review your reasonable accommodation procedures and update them if necessary. Consistent with Executive Order 13164 (Requiring Federal Agencies to Establish Procedures to Facilitate the Provision of Reasonable Accommodations), agencies should submit to the EEOC any modifications to their reasonable accommodation procedures at the time that those modifications are adopted. To view Executive Order 13164, go to http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=2000_register&docid=fr28jy00-140.pdf.
  • Establish/continue partnership with DOD Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP), a program that provides technology-based accommodations to interns and employees with disabilities at no charge to the agency. Information on establishing partnerships with CAP can be found on the CAP website at www.tricare.mil/CAP/.
  • Establish a centralized fund to cover accommodation costs for which the agency is financially responsible. Further, make clear to management and staff that the determination of whether the cost of a particular accommodation represents an undue hardship is based, as a matter of law, on the agencies' overall budget, not the specific budget of the program office where the accommodation is needed. Therefore, when making a determination on whether a reasonable accommodation can be provided, the decision-maker should not consider just the budget in the office where the employee works but consider the budget of the entire agency. For this reason, denial of a reasonable accommodation request based on a financial undue hardship determination should be extremely rare.
  • Consult with the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a service offered through the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. JAN provides expert accommodation information before, during, and after the recruitment and hiring process. It is a confidential service that allows any manager, applicant or employee to receive individualized information on his or her accommodation issue. JAN may be reached at (800) 526-7234 or on-line at www.askjan.org.
  • In addition, the EEOC recently issued updated procedures for processing reasonable accommodation requests at their agency. Other Federal agencies should use these procedures as a model when developing and updating their own reasonable accommodation procedures. EEOC updated procedures can be found at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/internal/reasonable_accommodation.cfm

VI. Conclusion

Executive Order 13548 demonstrates the President's strong commitment to making the Federal Government a welcoming place for people with disabilities where they can thrive and make the most of their talents and abilities. We must all make it a priority to do a better job of recruiting, selecting, accommodating, and retaining people with disabilities. These strategies are intended to get you started on that path. As new successful strategies come to light, we will communicate them to you so that the Federal Government leads the way on this important issue. Questions about this guidance should be directed to john.benison@opm.gov or michael.larosa@opm.gov

Attachment 3

Rollups, Redefinitions, and Additions to Disability Codes


Targeted Disabilities (Severe)
New SF 256 CategoryOld SF 256 CategoryNew Code & DefinitionPrevious Code & Definition
HearingHearing Impairments18- Total deafness in both ears (with or without understandable speech)16- Total deafness in both ears, with understandable speech.
17- Total deafness in both ears, and unable to speak clearly.
VisionVision Impairments21- Blind (inability to read ordinary size print, not correctable by glasses, or no usable vision, beyond light perception)23- Inability to read ordinary size print, not correctable by glasses (Can read oversized print or use assisting devices such as glass or projector modifier).
25- Blind in both eyes (No usable vision, but may have some light perception)
Missing ExtremitiesMissing Extremities
30- Missing extremities (missing one arm or leg, both hands or arms, both feet or legs, one hand or arm and both feet or legs, both hands or arms and one foot or leg, or both hands or arms and both feet or legs)
28- One arm
32- One leg
33- Both hands or arms
34- Both feet or legs
35- One hand or arm and one foot or leg
36- One hand or arm and both feet or legs
37- Both hands or arms and one foot or leg
38- Both hands or arms and both feet or legs
Partial ParalysisPartial Paralysis69- Partial paralysis (because of a brain, nerve or muscle impairment, including palsy and cerebral palsy, there is some loss of ability to move or use a part of the body, including both hands; any part of both arms or legs; one side of the body, including one arm and one leg; and/or three or more major body parts)64- Both hands
65- Both legs, any part
66- Both arms, any part
67- One side of body, including one arm and one leg
68- Three or more major parts of the body (arms and legs)
Complete ParalysisComplete Paralysis79- because of a brain, nerve or muscle impairment, including palsy and cerebral palsy, there is a complete loss of ability to move or use a part of the body, including both hands; one or both arms or legs; the lower half of the body; one side of the body, including one arm and one leg; and/or three or more major body parts71- Both hands
72- One arm
73- Both arms
74- One leg
75- Both legs
76- Lower half of body, including legs
77- One side of body, including one arm and one leg
78- Three or more major parts of the body (arms and legs)
Other ImpairmentsOther Impairments82- Epilepsy 82- Convulsive disorder (e.g. epilepsy)
90- Severe intellectual disability 90- Mental retardation (A chronic and lifelong condition involving a limited ability to learn, to be educated, and to be trained for useful productive employment as certified by a State Vocational Rehabilitation agency under section 213.3102(t) of Schedule A)
91- Psychiatric disability 91- Mental or emotional illness (A history of treatment for mental or emotional problems)
92- Dwarfism92- Severe distortion of limbs and/or spine (e.g. dwarfism, kyphosis [severe distortion of back])


Non-targeted Disabilities
New SF 256 CategoryOld SF 256 CategoryNew Code & DefinitionPrevious Code & Definition
Hearing ConditionsHearing Impairments15- Hearing impairment/hard of hearing15- Hard of hearing (Total deafness in one ear or inability to hear ordinary conversation, correctable with a hearing aid)
Vision ConditionsVision Impairments22- Visual impairments (e.g., tunnel or monocular vision or blind in one eye)22- Ability to read ordinary size print with glasses, but with loss of peripheral (side) vision (Restriction of the visual field to the extent that mobility is affected-"Tunnel vision")
24- Blind in one eye
Physical ConditionsMissing Extremities26- Missing Extremities (one hand, one foot, or one hand and one foot) 27- One hand
29- One foot
[New code: no corresponding old category name.]40- Mobility impairment[New code: no corresponding old code.]
41- Spinal abnormalities (e.g., spina bifida, scoliosis)[New code: no corresponding old code.]
51- HIV Positive/AIDS[New code: no corresponding old code.]
52- Morbid obesity[New code: no corresponding old code.]
95 - Gastrointestinal disorders (e.g., Crohn's Disease, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, celiac disease, dysphexia, etc.)[New code: no corresponding old code.]
98 - History of alcoholism[New code: no corresponding old code.]
Non-paralytic Orthopedic Impairments (Because of chronic pain, stiffness, or weakness in bones or joints, there is some loss of ability to move or use a part or parts of the body)44- Non-paralytic orthopedic impairments: chronic pain, stiffness, weakness in bones or joints, some loss of ability to use part or parts of the body44- One or both hands
45- One or both feet
46- One or both arms
47- One or both legs
48- Hip or pelvis
49- Back
57- Any combination of two or more parts of the body
Partial Paralysis61- Partial paralysis of one hand, arm, foot, leg, or any part thereof61- One hand
62- One arm, any part
63- One leg, any part
Complete Paralysis70- Complete paralysis of one hand70- One hand
Other Impairments80- Cardiovascular/heart disease with or without restrictions or limitation on activity; a history of heart problems w/ complete recovery80- Heart disease with no restriction or limitation of activity (History of heart problems with complete recovery)
81- Heart disease with restriction of limitation of activity
83 - Blood diseases (e.g., sickle cell anemia, hemophilia)[Roughly same as new code. Inserted for reference.]
84 - Diabetes[Roughly same as new code. Inserted for reference.]
86 - Pulmonary or respiratory conditions (e.g., tuberculosis, asthma, emphysema, etc.)[Roughly same as new code. Inserted for reference.]
87 - Kidney dysfunction (e.g., required dialysis)[Roughly same as new code. Inserted for reference.]
88- Cancer (Present or past history) 88- Cancer- a history of cancer with complete recovery
89- Cancer- undergoing surgical and/or medical treatment
93 - Disfigurement of face, hands, or feet (such as those caused by burns or gunshot wounds) and noticeable gross facial birthmarks[Roughly same as new code. Inserted for reference.]
Speech/Language/Learning ConditionsSpeech Impairments13 - Speech impairment - includes impairments of articulation (unclear language sounds), fluency (stuttering), voice (with normal hearing), dysphasia, or history of laryngectomy[Roughly same as new code. Inserted for reference.]
Other Impairments94 - Learning disability - a disorder in one or more of the processes involved in understanding, perceiving, or using language or concepts (spoken or written) (e.g., dyslexia, ADD/ADHD)[Roughly same as new code. Inserted for reference.]


Other Options
New SF 256 CategoryOld SF 256 CategoryNew Code & DefinitionPrevious Code & Definition
Other Options[No old title.]01 - I do not wish to identify my disability status. (Please read the notes on the next page.) (Note: Your personnel officer may use this code if, in his or her judgment, you used an incorrect code.)[Roughly same as new code. Inserted for reference.]
05 - I do not have a disability.[Roughly same as new code. Inserted for reference.]
06 - I have a disability, but it is not listed on this form.[Roughly same as new code. Inserted for reference.]

Notes:
  • Beginning 09/26/2010, new hires will complete the new SF 256. Agencies may, but are not required to, resurvey their current employees with the new SF 256.
  • Every code on the new SF 256 appears on the table above.
  • Combining new (bolded) and old codes, the following common definitions apply:
    • Targeted disability = 16 – 18, 21, 23, 25, 28, 30, 32 – 38, 64 – 69, 71 – 79, 82, 90 – 92
    • Non-targeted disability = 06, 13, 15, 22, 26, 27, 29, 40, 41, 44 – 49, 51, 52, 57, 61 – 63, 70, 80, 83 – 89, 93 – 95, 96 – 98
    • No disability = 04, 05
    • Disability status unknown = 01, ** 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Does your federal agency use telework exclusively for reasonable accommodation?

How does your federal agency assign federal employees to telework? Is this position exclusively for federal employees with a reasonable accommodation request?

MEMORANDUM FOR HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTORS
From:
Katherine Archuleta
Director
Subject:
2013 Telework Data Call
The 2013 Telework Data Call is scheduled to open for agency input on April 2, 2014.  Telework Managing Officers and coordinators, who have been designated as points of contact for the survey, have been notified via email.  On April 2, they will be provided with individual passwords to enter agency telework data into a web-based form in accord with the data collection requirements in the Telework Enhancement Act.  Responses must be entered into the electronic system by close of business on Wednesday, May 14, 2014.
Telework is an important flexibility useful to achieving agency human capital objectives, including retention and performance, and agency mission accomplishment through continuity of operations in the event of an emergency.  OPM is committed to supporting telework and assisting agencies to meet their goals.  Congruent with requirements established in the Telework Enhancement Act, questions in the Data Call reflect the importance of goal-setting.  The questions asked this year are the same, or substantially similar, to those asked in the last Data Call (to see the prior data call in its entirety, consult the appended Data Call in the 2013 Telework Status Report to Congress on http://www.telework.gov/Reports_and_Studies/Annual_Reports/2013teleworkreport.pdf).
  
We will assess agency progress with telework using the data we receive from the Call and other sources, such as the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.  Results will be included in the 2014 Telework Status Report to Congress.
The Office of Personnel Management’s Governmentwide Work-Life and Performance Culture office will provide support and assistance to agency coordinators as they respond to the 2013 Data Call.  Further information is available by contacting teleworkquestion@opm.gov.

Education discounts for federal employees

If you have a full time employment position with a federal agency, you can still take advantage of college courses online, at a 25% discount for federal employees..

MEMORANDUM FOR CHIEF HUMAN CAPITAL OFFICERS
From:
Katherine Archuleta
Director
Subject:
University of Maryland University College Alliance Offers Federal Employees Discounted Rates to Pursue Post-Secondary Education
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is pleased to announce an alliance with the University of Maryland University College (UMUC), as part of OPM’s continuing effort to increase Federal employees' access to high quality, affordable educational resources, to close skills gaps, and to make Federal employment attractive to our nation's top talent. 
UMUC will provide a 25 percent discount to Federal employees, their spouses and legal dependents (excluding Maryland residents – see below) for most educational programs.  The discount provided under this alliance will apply to all undergraduate programs and most graduate programs.  The current out-of-state tuition rates are $499.00 per credit hour for undergraduate and $659.00 per credit hour for graduate programs before the discount.  Maryland residents are entitled to the in-state tuition rate of $266.00 per credit hour for undergraduate and $458.00 per credit hour for most graduate programs.  UMUC courses are available through traditional classroom or online virtual classroom delivery.  For registration instructions, please visit umuc.edu/opmlearning.
In addition to offering this discounted tuition, this alliance will afford the opportunity for collaboration between Federal subject matter experts and UMUC curriculum developers, in order to infuse the public sector perspective into UMUC courses designed to prepare students for possible future Federal employment. 
Answers to Training Officers’ and prospective students’ Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are hyperlinked below.  For additional information, please contact Mrs. Soraya Smith at 202-606-1476 or Soraya.Smith@opm.gov.
Attachments:  UMUC-OPM Alliance Training Officer FAQs, and UMUC-OPM Alliance Student FAQs
cc: Deputy Chief Human Capital Officers, Human Resources Directors, Equal Employment Opportunity Directors, Headquarters and Field Offices Training Officers, Chief Learning Offices, and Benefits Officers

How common is suicide from federal agency employment?

After seeing this press release about suicide from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, I began to wonder how common is suicide for a federal employee because of a discrimination at their federal agency?

The facts and bullet points presented seem to veer into substance abuse and alcohol abuse. Is this self medication for mental illness and a personal way to prevent suicide?


MEMORANDUM FOR HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
From:
Katherine Archuleta
Director
Pamela S. Hyde, J.D.
Administrator Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Subject:
Federal Workplace Conversations about Mental Health
Mental health is an important issue in the workplace.  It is a state of well-being in which an individual achieves his or her own potential, copes effectively with the normal challenges of life, and is able to work more efficiently and productively.  When an employee has a mental health concern or significant stress, timely access to mental health services and support can facilitate prompt recovery and avert a crisis.
Mental health can be a delicate balance, with problems developing over a series of adverse circumstances.  Individuals at risk may demonstrate an inability to make decisions, repeatedly miss deadlines, be late to work, or exhibit distractibility and a general lack of focus.  We need to do everything we can to provide employees and their supervisors with tools to recognize impending problems and be able to respond appropriately.

People of all ages and backgrounds are affected by mental health challenges.  This year, one in five Americans over age 18 will experience a mental health condition.  Many will experience substance abuse themselves or in their families.  In a 3-month period, adults with depression miss an average of 4.8 workdays, and each year employees with depression cost employers an estimated $17 to $44 billion in lost productivity.  Nearly 500 million workdays are lost annually due to alcohol abuse.  Employees who use drugs are likely to have absences of 8 days or more annually. (Is that prescription drugs or street drugs?)  These numbers do not include the many workers whose productivity is impacted by concerns about children, spouses, and other loved ones with mental health challenges.  With proper support, the majority of individuals return to good health and productive lives.

Fewer than half of Americans needing mental health care receive it.

Unrecognized and untreated mental health issues can lead to serious consequences.  Regrettably, suicide is a leading cause of death among working-age Americans, the second leading cause of death for people 25-34 years old, and the fourth leading cause of death for people 35-54 years old.  Every suicide profoundly affects the family, co-workers, and community of the victim. 
In June 2013, President Obama called attention to the overarching need to improve mental health when he convened the National Conference on Mental Health at the White House.  Together, the President and Vice President have been focused on increasing public awareness of mental health issues, reducing negative attitudes, and encouraging people to seek help when needed.  Further, in September 2012, the U.S. Surgeon General published the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/national-strategy-suicide-prevention/) in collaboration with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.  The report highlights Federal Agency and employers’ role in a coordinated approach to suicide prevention. 
The Office of Personnel Management and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recognize the critical role that health programs available through a worksite can play in reducing risk for mental health problems and suicide.  A supportive worksite:

  • educates workers on the basics of mental health and the signs of distress (including suicide warning signs);
  • decreases concerns associated with seeking help; and
  • enhances emotional health through social connectedness, resilience, and improved problem-solving skills.
Effective and confidential Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) can assist in managing individual, family, or workplace stress before a crisis develops.



The EAP can provide support, access to short-term behavioral health services, and referrals for ongoing care.  Federal employees and families can also access mental health services and substance use disorder treatment through their Federal Employees Health Benefits insurance plans.
As a top Agency leader, you can start a workplace conversation that will positively impact mental health and well-being.  To begin, please share the attached fact sheets throughout your organization.  They highlight key resources to increase awareness and access to services when needed.  Your EAP administrators, benefits officers, and health unit personnel are also important sources of information to support this conversation within your Agency.

More detail can also be found at www.mentalhealth.gov.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.  Working together, we can help ensure a healthier Federal workforce and timely assistance for those in need.
Attachments:  Supervisor Fact Sheet, and Employee Fact Sheet
cc: Chief Human Capital Officers, and Human Resources Directors


People with mental health and/or substance abuse problems, exposure to traumatizing events, prior suicide attempts, chronic pain, or serious medical conditions may be at increased risk for suicide. Supervisors can recognize warning signs and know what to do when concerns arise. While some warning signs are specific to suicide, any of these signs may be worrisome in their own right and cause for concern:

What are the warning signs of suicide?
• Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
• Looking for a way to kill oneself
• Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
• Talking about feeling trapped, in unbearable pain, or being a burden to others
• Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
• Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless
• Sleeping too little or too much
• Withdrawing or feeling isolated
• Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
• Displaying extreme mood swings

What can I do if I believe someone is at risk?
If the individual is in immediate danger, call 911. Otherwise, consult the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). You will be connected to a trained crisis worker immediately. You can also reach out to those you believe need help. Asking if an individual is thinking about killing themselves communicates your concern and will not put the idea into their heads or make it more likely that they will attempt suicide. If the individual indicates they are having thoughts of harming themselves, do not leave them alone. Seek help and stay with the individual until help is available.
For additional information, visit:
http://www.mentalhealth.gov
http://samhsa.gov
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
http://sprc.org
http://nimh.nih.gov
http://nida.nih.gov
http://niaaa.nih.gov

Please consider adding the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s logo (featured below) (available at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetInvolved/logos) to your website. It may be the key to saving a life! 2

Friday, July 25, 2014

$200,000 awarded for EEOC discrimination claim

What kind of discrimination got Tova Glockner a $200,000 award from the EEOC?
I was concerned you would visit this post more if I mentioned the $200,000 award, however there are many more merits to this EEOC claim, and it is worthwhile reading in its entirety. I could have easily used the following titles to my post.

Migraine headaches from stress at federal agency hostile work environment

She was told to stop being a princess at federal agency job

Kidney Stones caused by hostile work environment

How many bathroom breaks does a federal employee need for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Biting cheeks from stress required surgical repair



Tova Glockner v. Department of Veterans Affairs
07A30105
September 23, 2004
.



Tova Glockner,
Complainant,

v.

Anthony J. Principi,
Secretary,
Department of Veterans Affairs,
Agency.

Appeal No. 07A30105

Agency Nos. 99-2927; 200P-1130; 2624; 2670; 2728; 2930

Hearing Nos. 340-A0-3504X & A2-3221X

DECISION

Following its May 29, 2003 final order, the agency filed a timely appeal
which the Commission accepts pursuant to 29 C.F.R. § 1614.405.  On appeal,
the agency requests that the Commission affirm its rejection of an EEOC
Administrative Judge's (AJ) order awarding the sum of $207,233.00 in
pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.  For the following reasons, the
Commission modifies the agency's final order.

Complainant, a Clinical Pharmacist employed at the agency's facility
in West Los Angeles, California, filed formal EEO complaints with the
agency on July 14, 1999, August 29, 2000, November 19, 2000, December 19,
2000, February 15, 2001, and June 27, 2001, claiming that the agency
discriminated against her on the bases of race (Caucasian), religion
(Jewish), age (D.O.B. 5/7/48), and reprisal for prior EEO activity when
she was subjected to a pattern of harassment.

The complaints were consolidated and following a hearing, the AJ issued a
decision finding that complainant was discriminated against based on her
race, religion, and reprisal concerning the issues relative to complainant
being demoted; receiving unwarranted negative performance comments; being
denied leave and overtime; being deprived of choice work assignments and
career opportunities; being scheduled to work on Saturdays and religious
holidays; having information about her EEO activity disseminated; and
the duration and manner in which complainant was issued a reprimand.<1>
The AJ awarded complainant $7,233.00 in pecuniary damages and $200,000.00
in non-pecuniary damages, and ordered the agency to undertake various
remedies.  The AJ also awarded complainant $78,749.75 in attorney's fees
and costs in the amount of $4,369.96.

The agency's final order adopted the AJ's findings in their entirety.
However, the agency declined to adopt the AJ's award of pecuniary and
non-pecuniary damages.  On appeal, the agency argues that complainant
failed to show that her pre-existing condition was exacerbated by the
discrimination she suffered, and that the award was not supported by
testimony at the hearing or evidence contained in the file.  Further,
the agency argues that the amount awarded by the AJ was excessive and
inconsistent with amounts awarded by the Commission in similar cases,
and suggested that a more appropriate award was no pecuniary damages
and $5000.00 in non-pecuniary damages.<2>  In response, complainant
argues that the agency's appeal is untimely and should be dismissed.
Complainant further argues that the evidence supports the amount awarded
by the AJ and requests that we affirm the AJ's decision.

FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS

Initially we note that complainant has not shown that the agency's appeal
failed to comply with 29 C.F.R. § 1614.110(a).  Specifically, the record
reveals that the agency date-stamped the AJ's decision on April 24,
2003, the date that it was received by the agency.  Accordingly, the
request to dismiss is denied.

Legal Standard for an Award of Compensatory Damages

Pursuant to section 102(a) of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, a
complainant who establishes his or her claim of unlawful discrimination
may receive, in addition to equitable remedies, compensatory damages
for past and future pecuniary losses (i.e., out of pocket expenses)
and non-pecuniary losses (e.g., pain and suffering, mental anguish). 42
U.S. C. § 1981a(b)(3).  For an employer with more than 500 employees,
such as the agency, the limit of liability for future pecuniary and
non-pecuniary damages is $300,000. Id.

Compensatory damages may be awarded for past pecuniary losses,
future pecuniary losses, and non-pecuniary losses that are directly or
proximately caused by the agency's discriminatory conduct. Compensatory
and Punitive Damages Available Under Section 102 of the Civil Rights Act
of 1991 (Compensatory Damages), EEOC Notice No. N 915.002 (July 14, 1992),
at 8. Pecuniary losses are out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of
the employer's unlawful action, including medical and other quantifiable
out-of-pocket expenses. Id.  To receive an award of compensatory damages,
a complainant must demonstrate the following: that she has been harmed
as a result of the agency's discriminatory action; the extent, nature,
and severity of the harm; and the duration or expected duration of the
harm. Rivera v. Department of the Navy, EEOC Appeal No. 01934157 (July
22, 1994) req. for recons. den. EEOC Request No. 05940927 (December 11,
1995); Compensatory Damages, at 11-12, 14.

In Carle v. Dept. of the Navy, the Commission explained that
"objective evidence" of non-pecuniary damages could include a
statement by the complainant explaining how he or she was affected
by the discrimination. EEOC Appeal No. 01922369 (January 5, 1993).
Statements from others, including family members, friends, and health
care providers could address the outward manifestations of the impact
of the discrimination on the complainant. Id. The complainant could also
submit documentation of medical or psychiatric treatment related to the
effects of the discrimination. Id.

Additionally, in determining damages, the Commission applies the principle
that "a tortfeasor takes its victims as it finds them." Wallis v. United
States Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 01950510 (November 13, 1995)
(quoting Williamson v. Handy Button Machine Co., 817 F.2d 1290, 1295 (7th
Cir. 1987)).  However, the Commission also applies two exceptions to this
general rule.  First, when a complainant has a pre-existing condition,
the agency is liable only for the additional harm or aggravation caused by
the discrimination. Second, if the complainant's pre-existing condition
inevitably would have worsened, the agency is entitled to a reduction
in damages reflecting the extent to which the condition would have
worsened even absent the discrimination; the burden of proof is on the
agency to establish the extent of this entitlement. Wallis, EEOC Appeal
No. 01950510 (citing Maurer v. United States, 668 F.2d 98 (2d Cir. 1981));
Finlay v. United States Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 01942985 (April
29, 1997).

Non-Pecuniary Damages

The agency first contends that the evidence in the record did not
support a conclusion that complainant's migraine headaches were caused
by her workplace condition and that, by her own admission, her headaches
could have been triggered by alcohol, cheese, cold cuts, and monosodium
glutamate.  The record reveals that complainant suffered from recurrent
migraine headaches since age sixteen, and, that they occurred particularly
when complainant was stressed or fatigued.  Further, the record reveals
that around November 14, 1996, prior to the start of the discrimination
alleged herein, complainant experienced particularly severe headaches,
which lasted five days and then had a further recurrence over that same
weekend.  Complainant Exhibit (CE) 81, p. 260.  Complainant underwent
a Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) test at that time to conclusively rule
out physiological causes for the migraines.

Complainant testified that the stress of adjusting to a new country when
she was younger caused her migraines, but that they went away and she
only had occasional migraines thereafter.  However, with the onset of
the harassment and stress at work in 1998, she noted that the migraines
intensified and were more frequent and severe to the point where she
was having migraines once a week or every other week with each bout
lasting two or three days.  Hearing Transcript One (HT-1), p. 259-260.
Due to her concern about their severity and frequency, complainant
testified that she went to a neurologist and had an MRI's performed
in October 2000 to rule out physiological causes.  CE 81, pp. 266-267.
After ruling out such causes, complainant testified that her neurologist
attributed her migraines to stress. HT-1, pp. 260-263.

The record also reveals that as far back as 1999, complainant's
doctor attributed the exacerbation of complainant's headaches to work
related stress.  CE 80.   Further, the Chief of Administrative Medicine
(Staff Physician) at the complainant's facility, testified that after
several visits from complainant, he believed that complainant's headaches
originated from her working conditions.  HT-1, pp. 33-34.  We note that
there is no evidence that complainant suffered migraines as severe or
as frequent as the ones she suffered in 1996 until the time period
of the discriminatory events herein.   Further, we find that there
was no medical or testimonial evidence in the record to show that the
frequency and severity of the migraines would have worsened over time,
absent the increased stress that was placed on complainant as a result
of the harassment and discrimination she suffered.  We also note that
contrary to the agency's contention, the record reveals that complainant
does not drink, and that the other identified triggers, i.e., cheese
and monosodium glutamate, were noted from past not current use.  CE 81,
p. 260.  Therefore, we find that complainant has shown that her migraines
were in fact significantly exacerbated by her hostile working conditions.

The agency further contends that the AJ's award of $200,000 in
compensatory damages was not supported by testimony at the hearing
or the evidence contained in the file.  We note that complainant
testified that, as a result of the ongoing harassment and stress at
work, she started to experience severe intestinal distress, which she
was told by her physicians was consistent with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
(IBS) triggered by stress, and serious sleep disturbances.  She also
testified that she experienced the stomach disorders on a nearly daily
basis. Complainant testified that she started to bite her cheeks and
developed an irritational fibroma, which required surgery.  Further,
she suffered from depression, anxiety and exhaustion.  She further
testified that while she once loved her job, she now drives to work in
tears and often does not want to go to work at all.  She testified that
she continues to feel isolated at work in that her supervisors treat her
like a pariah or like she is invisible and her co-workers often avoid her
because of the negative things said about her by her supervisors.  She
testified to the deep humiliation she experienced and the psychological
loss caused by the damage to her reputation.  Moreover, while she
once felt that she had the respect of her professional colleagues and
the doctors in the community and in the agency, she had been isolated
from them and her performance has been constantly criticized to them.
Additionally, professional relationships that she had with doctors in the
diabetic clinic and other sub-speciality clinics, developed over many
years, have been severed, causing her great pain and a sense of loss.
Complainant also avers that she has not recovered from any of the injuries
or conditions that she alleges were caused by the agency, and that her
life outside the agency had been dramatically impacted and that she
has significant fears and concerns about the future in that the Chief
of Pharmacy encouraged her to look for employment outside the agency.
Several witnesses also testified that on several occasions during the
period when the discrimination occurred, they observed complainant crying
at work, complaining of stress from how she was being treated by her
supervisors, or suffering from migraine headaches.

In response, the agency argues that complainant's doctor never diagnosed
her irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in that he testified that a diagnosis
required additional studies beyond what he performed.  The agency further
contended that, assuming, arguendo, that complainant was diagnosed
with IBS, the record did not show that it was caused by her workplace
conditions.  We note however, that while the doctor did not make an
official diagnosis, he noted that if he had to offer a medical opinion,
he believed that her workplace distress was causing her irritable bowel
syndrome.  Further, complainant testified that her IBS problems started
around the time that she was being scheduled to work on Saturdays, her
Sabbath day, and that she continues to suffer from bloating and other
symptoms of gastrointestinal distress, which at times results in her not
being able to fit in her clothes.  HT-1, p. 263.  Therefore, we find that
complainant has shown a nexus between her IBS and her working conditions.
In addition, the record shows that after the harassment began in 1998,
complainant began biting her cheeks from stress.  This resulted in an
irritational fibroma, which she needed to have surgically removed in
July 1999.  HT-1, p. 267.  

Complainant also averred that she developed kidney stones because she was afraid to take breaks due to the harassment she suffered at work.  

Report of Investigation II (ROI-II), Complainant Affidavit, p. 73; see also HT-1, p. 267.  Further, as the AJ found, there was creditable evidence provided by complainant that employees and management resented that complainant was not required to work on Saturdays and that her religious practices made her the target of hostility.  Moreover, complainant was also the subject of hostility
because she filed an EEO complaint in that complainant was told to stop
being a “princess” and encouraged to drop her complaints.  Additionally,
as the AJ noted, much of the harassing conduct complainant suffered,
occurred directly following complainant's protected activity. CE 93.
In view of the evidence in the record, we find that complainant has
persuasively shown a nexus between her physical ailments and the agency's
discriminatory actions.  Further, we find that complainant provided
sufficient medical documentation of her conditions, including the MRI
scan from her doctor diagnosing her migraines, and the letters from her
doctors regarding the treatment of her kidney stones and removal of the
irritational fibroma. CE 79-82.

The agency contends that while complainant contends that she suffered
from depression because of the discriminatory actions of the agency,
she testified that she was not under a doctor's care for her alleged
symptoms nor did she take prescribed medication to alleviate her symptoms.
We note however that, medical evidence is not a mandatory prerequisite
for recovery of compensatory damages.  Carpenter v. Department
of Agriculture, EEOC Appeal No, 01945652 (July 17, 1995).  In the
absence of this evidence, a complainant's own testimony, along with
the circumstances of a particular case, can suffice his/her burden in
this regard.  See U.S. v. Balistrieri, 981 F.2d 916, 932 (7th Cir. 1992),
cert. denied, 114 S. Ct. 58 (1993) (housing discrimination).  As the court
noted in Balistrieri, “[t]he more inherently degrading or humiliating the
defendant's action is, the more reasonable it is to infer that a person
would suffer humiliation or distress from that action; consequently,
somewhat more conclusory evidence of emotional distress will be acceptable
to support an award for emotional damages.”  Nonetheless, the absence of
supporting evidence may affect the amount of damages deemed appropriate
in specific cases.  Lawrence v. USPS, EEOC Appeal No. 01952288 (April
18, 1996).  We note however, that complainant submitted ample evidence of
how she was devastated by the discrimination she suffered.  For example,
complainant noted that she was isolated and humiliated with respect to
the assignment of clinics, in that despite complainant's exemplary work
and expertise in the clinics, she was removed from her speciality clinic
in 1999 and never assigned to another one.  Complainant also noted that
she was described by her supervisors as “slow” and a “troublemaker” to
new employees.  Further, while complainant may not have taken medication
for her depression, complainant testified that she often cried over the
events at work, withdrew from her family and friends, and while she once
loved to cook and go out, she no longer performs those tasks and goes
out socially only infrequently.  Complainant's coworkers also testified
to seeing complainant upset and crying at work and also suffering from
migraines as a result of the treatment from her supervisors.  The evidence
in the record also revealed that complainant sought out treatment for
her migraines and took large doses of over-the-counter medications
(well above those she would permit her patients to take) as well as
the prescription drug Fiorinal to combat her migraines.  HT-1, p. 262.
Further the record reveals that complainant avoided taking any stronger
drugs for her conditions, including depression, because she knew that as
a pharmacist, most drugs available to her had side effects which would
not allow her to stay clear headed for her job.  Therefore, we cannot
find that complainant should be penalized for otherwise refraining from
taking medication which could negatively impact her ability to perform
her job, or that such failure lessens the degree of harm she suffered
from the discrimination.

Finally, the agency argues that complainant was not entitled to the
amount awarded by the AJ because the facts of complainant's case were
distinguishable from cases where larger amounts were awarded in that
complainant continued to work during the period of discrimination and
did not undergo treatment or take medication for the alleged symptoms
of depression and anxiety from which she suffered.  The agency then
cited favorably to Benson v. Department of Agriculture, EEOC Appeal No,
01952854 (June 27, 1996), and Brown v. Department of Veterans Affairs,
EEOC Appeal No. 01950342 (June 13, 1997), as examples of cases and awards
that where comparable to the injury that complainant suffered.

The Commission notes that damage awards for emotional harm are difficult
to determine and that there are no definitive rules governing the amount
to be awarded in given cases.  A proper award must meet two goals:
that it not be "monstrously excessive" standing alone, and that it be
consistent with the amounts awarded in similar cases.  See Cygnar v. City
of Chicago, 865 F.2d 827, 848 (7th Cir. 1989) at 574.  Further, several
Commission decisions have awarded significant compensatory damages  in a
wide range of amounts depending on the facts of the particular case, and
the supporting evidence presented.  See generally, Mack v. Department of
Veterans Affairs (June 23, 2000)(award of $185,000.00 where individual was
left homeless for two years as a result of discriminatory termination);
Franklin v. United States Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 07A00025;
01A03882 (January 19, 2001) (award of $150,000 where emotional distress
caused by denial of reasonable accommodation, with no medical evidence,
but extensive evidence by family, including testimony of wife on break-up
of marriage); Bernard v. Department of Veterans Affairs, EEOC Appeal
No. 01966861(July 17, 1998) (award of $80,000.00 where complainant
presented testimony that over a five year period he became depressed,
withdrawn, cynical, angry, and during part of this time had ringing in
the ears, headaches, teeth grinding and insomnia).

The AJ, who had the opportunity to observe the witnesses, considered
the severity of the harm caused by the agency's action; and the extent
to which other factors in complainant's life may have exacerbated
complainant's pre-existing condition and determined that $200,000.00 was
a reasonable amount to compensate complainant.  We note that the instant
case, wherein complainant was continually harassed and degraded for a
period of close to five years, is immediately distinguishable from the
cases referenced by the agency in that, in Benson,  the damages were
awarded based on four discriminatory incidents related, in relevant
part, to the agency failing to provide complainant with information
concerning a whistleblower charge, and interference with the supervisory
relationship.  Similarly, complainant's case is distinguishable from
the Brown appeal in that the period of harassment complainant suffered
through was significantly longer than the  fourteen months in the
Brown case.  Moreover, complainant twice had her pay step reduced and
was deprived of various career opportunities.  We note as did the AJ,
that many of the incidents that comprise complainant's harassment
claim will permanently impact complainant's career, and cannot be
remedied other than through compensatory damages.  For example, the
agency's obstruction of complainant's professional growth and damage to
her professional reputation by not permitting her to teach classes or
attend team meetings when she was assigned to the diabetic clinic and its
denial of complainant's scope of practice credentials which repeatedly
caused complainant humiliation when she, unlike pharmacists with much
less experience, was unable to order lab tests.  This made it necessary
for complainant to ask physicians to  order her tests for her, which
resulted in them asking complainant why she could not order her own lab
tests.  We also note that complainant introduced medical evidence of her
injuries, and statements from her co-workers about how she was impacted
by the discriminatory harassment.  Further, we note that complainant
avers that she has not recovered from any of the injuries or conditions
that she alleges were caused by the agency, and that her life outside
the agency has been dramatically impacted and that she has significant
fears and concerns about the future.  We also find that the record is
devoid of substantive evidence of problems outside of the discriminatory
work environment which contributed to the development or exacerbation
complainant's ailments. Therefore, we are unpersuaded by the agency's
argument that there was insufficient evidence or testimony in the record
to support the AJ's award or that it was inconsistent with awards issued
by the Commission.  Accordingly, the Commission finds that complainant
is entitled to non-pecuniary damages in the amount of $200,000.

Pecuniary Damages

The Commission requires objective evidence in support of these expenses,
typically in the form of receipts, bills, physicians' statements, or
other proof of actual loss and expenses.  EEOC's Enforcement Guidance:
Compensatory and Punitive Damages Available Under Section 102 of the
Civil Rights Act of 1991, EEOC Notice No. 915.002 at 4 (July 14, 1992).

We next consider complainant's request for pecuniary damages.  Here, the
agency contends that complainant failed to establish a nexus between her
medical expenses and the agency's discriminatory actions.  Given our
review of the record, however, we find that the agency's argument
lacks merit.  We find that complainant supplied medical evidence in
support of much of her claim for damages.  Specifically, complainant
submitted medical evidence that she underwent an MRI in October 2000 in
relation to her migraine headaches at a cost of $3,472.00; an ultrasound
and a PET scan in October 1999 when she suffered from severe abdominal
pain, bloating and irritable bowel syndrome, at a cost of $676.00 and
$1212.00 respectively; and underwent an oral pathology and oral surgery
related to her cheek-biting problem at a cost of $124.00 and $475.00
respectively.  The record also reveals that complainant incurred bills
totaling $317.00 for visits to her neurologist regarding her migraines,
and bills of $110.00 and $847.00 from her urologist for visits related to
her bloating and stomach pains.  Further, as discussed earlier, all these
visits, exams and surgeries occurred during the period that complainant
alleged that the discrimination, harassment and reprisal were occurring,
and that, as discussed above, that complainant conclusively linked her
conditions to the discriminatory events.

The agency also argues that assuming, arguendo, that complainant
established a causal nexus between her reported medical complications and
her workplace conditions, complainant introduced no bills or receipts to
support the $7,233.00 pecuniary damage award.   In response, complainant
contends that the itemized list in the record which summarized the
expenses and costs for her medical providers and procedures, along with
her physician's report attributing several of the physical symptoms for
which she had to seek medical treatment to stress from work was sufficient
to establish complainant's expenses for the purpose of proving pecuniary
damages.   We note that while complainant's submissions may be sufficient
to establish a causal nexus, they do not in and of themselves constitute
objective evidence of complainant's medical expenses.  Nevertheless,
the record clearly reflects that complainant underwent the procedures for
which she submitted the itemized list, that they were undertaken during
the time of the alleged discriminatory events, and that they were causally
linked to the discrimination. Therefore, to the extent that complainant is
able to submit objective evidence of her pecuniary expenses as explained
in the order below, we will permit complainant to recover those damages
in an amount not to exceed the $7,233.00 discussed herein.<3>

CONCLUSION

After a careful review of the record, including arguments and evidence
not specifically discussed in this decision, the Commission reverses the
portion of the agency's final order which denied complainant the full
amount of the non-pecuniary compensatory damages awarded by the AJ,
and modifies the award of pecuniary damages.  Accordingly, the agency
is directed to take corrective action in accordance with this decision
and the Order below.





ORDER (D0403)

To the extent it has not already done so, the agency is ordered to take
the following remedial action:

1. The agency shall pay complainant compensatory damages in the amount of
$200,000.00, within sixty (60) calendar days of the date this decision
becomes final.  In addition, the agency shall, within ten (10) days of
the date this decision becomes final, afford complainant thirty (30)
days to submit the documentation which fully supports the amounts
she requested for past medical expenses. Within thirty (30) days of
its receipt of the subject documentation, the agency shall recalculate
complainant's entitlement to past medical expenses, and pay complainant
the past medical expenses for which documentation has been submitted.
A copy of the documentation supporting the calculation and payment of
past medical expenses and compensatory damages, must be sent to the
Compliance Officer, as referenced below.

2. The agency shall implement the corrective equitable relief ordered
by the AJ and adopted in its final agency decision.

3. The agency shall provide a minimum of eight (8) hours of remedial
training for all managers and supervisors located at the facility, to
ensure that acts of harassment and reprisal do not recur, and that no
retaliatory acts are taken against any employee who opposes unlawful
discrimination, requests religious accommodation, or engages in the
EEO process.

4. The agency shall consider discipline for the managers and supervisors
who have been found to have created a hostile environment and permitted it
to exist.  The agency shall report its decision.  If the agency decides
to take disciplinary action, it shall identify the action taken.  If the
agency decides not to take disciplinary action, it shall set forth the
reason(s) for its decision not to impose discipline.

5. The agency shall pay attorney's fees in the amount of $78,749.75 and
costs in the amount of $4,369.96.

6. The agency is further directed to submit a report of compliance, as
provided in the statement entitled "Implementation of the Commission's
Decision."  The report shall include supporting documentation of the
agency's calculation of backpay and other benefits due complainant,
including evidence that the corrective action has been implemented.

POSTING ORDER (G0900)

The agency is ordered to post at its facility in West Los Angeles,
California, copies of the attached notice.  Copies of the notice, after
being signed by the agency's duly authorized representative, shall
be posted by the agency within thirty (30) calendar days of the date
this decision becomes final, and shall remain posted for sixty (60)
consecutive days, in conspicuous places, including all places where
notices to employees are customarily posted.  The agency shall take
reasonable steps to ensure that said notices are not altered, defaced,
or covered by any other material.  The original signed notice is to be
submitted to the Compliance Officer at the address cited in the paragraph
entitled "Implementation of the Commission's Decision," within ten (10)
calendar days of the expiration of the posting period.

ATTORNEY'S FEES (H0900)

If complainant has been represented by an attorney (as defined by
29 C.F.R. § 1614.501(e)(1)(iii)), he/she is entitled to an award of
reasonable attorney's fees incurred in the processing of the complaint.
29 C.F.R. § 1614.501(e).  The award of attorney's fees shall be paid
by the agency.  The attorney shall submit a verified statement of fees
to the agency -- not to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,
Office of Federal Operations -- within thirty (30) calendar days of this
decision becoming final.  The agency shall then process the claim for
attorney's fees in accordance with 29 C.F.R. § 1614.501.

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE COMMISSION'S DECISION (K0501)

Compliance with the Commission's corrective action is mandatory.
The agency shall submit its compliance report within thirty (30)
calendar days of the completion of all ordered corrective action. The
report shall be submitted to the Compliance Officer, Office of Federal
Operations, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, P.O. Box 19848,
Washington, D.C.  20036.  The agency's report must contain supporting
documentation, and the agency must send a copy of all submissions to
the complainant.  If the agency does not comply with the Commission's
order, the complainant may petition the Commission for enforcement
of the order.  29 C.F.R. § 1614.503(a).  The complainant also has the
right to file a civil action to enforce compliance with the Commission's
order prior to or following an administrative petition for enforcement.
See 29 C.F.R. §§ 1614.407, 1614.408, and 29 C.F.R. § 1614.503(g).
Alternatively, the complainant has the right to file a civil action on
the underlying complaint in accordance with the paragraph below entitled
"Right to File A Civil Action."  29 C.F.R. §§ 1614.407 and 1614.408.
A civil action for enforcement or a civil action on the underlying
complaint is subject to the deadline stated in 42 U.S.C. 2000e-16(c)
(1994 & Supp. IV 1999).  If the complainant files a civil action, the
administrative processing of the complaint, including any petition for
enforcement, will be terminated.  See 29 C.F.R. § 1614.409.

STATEMENT OF RIGHTS - ON APPEAL

RECONSIDERATION (M0701)

The Commission may, in its discretion, reconsider the decision in this
case if the complainant or the agency submits a written request containing
arguments or evidence which tend to establish that:

 1. The appellate decision involved a clearly erroneous interpretation
 of material fact or law; or
 2. The appellate decision will have a substantial impact on the policies,
 practices, or operations of the agency.

Requests to reconsider, with supporting statement or brief, must be filed
with the Office of Federal Operations (OFO) within thirty (30) calendar
days of receipt of this decision or within twenty (20) calendar days of
receipt of another party's timely request for reconsideration. See 29
C.F.R. § 1614.405; Equal Employment Opportunity Management Directive for
29 C.F.R. Part 1614 (EEO MD-110), 9-18 (November 9, 1999).  All requests
and arguments must be submitted to the Director, Office of Federal
Operations, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, P.O. Box 19848,
Washington, D.C. 20036.  In the absence of a legible postmark, the
request to reconsider shall be deemed timely filed if it is received by
mail within five days of the expiration of the applicable filing period.
See 29 C.F.R. § 1614.604.  The request or opposition must also include
proof of service on the other party.

Failure to file within the time period will result in dismissal of your
request for reconsideration as untimely, unless extenuating circumstances
prevented the timely filing of the request.  Any supporting documentation
must be submitted with your request for reconsideration.  The Commission
will consider requests for reconsideration filed after the deadline only
in very limited circumstances.  See 29 C.F.R. § 1614.604(c).

                        COMPLAINANT'S RIGHT TO FILE A CIVIL ACTION (R0900)

This is a decision requiring the agency to continue its administrative
processing of your complaint.  However, if you wish to file a civil
action, you have the right to file such action in an appropriate United
States District Court  within ninety (90) calendar days from the date
that you receive this decision.    In the alternative, you may file a
civil action after one hundred and eighty (180) calendar days of the date
you filed your complaint with the agency, or filed your appeal with the
Commission.  If you file a civil action, you must name as the defendant in
the complaint the person who is the official agency head  or   department
head, identifying that person by his or her full name and official title.
Failure to do so may result in the dismissal of your case in court.
"Agency" or "department" means the national organization, and not the
local office, facility or department in which you work.  Filing a civil
action will terminate the administrative processing of your complaint.

RIGHT TO REQUEST COUNSEL (Z1199)

If you decide to file a civil action, and if you do not have or cannot
afford the services of an attorney, you may request that the Court appoint
an attorney to represent you and that the Court permit you to file the
action without payment of fees, costs, or other security.  See Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.;
the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 791, 794(c).
The grant or denial of the request is within the sole discretion of
the Court.  Filing a request for an attorney does not extend your time
in which to
file a civil action.  Both the request and the civil action must be
filed within the time limits as stated in the paragraph above ("Right
to File A Civil Action").

FOR THE COMMISSION:


______________________________
Stephen Llewellyn
Acting Executive Officer
Executive Secretariat

September 23, 2004
__________________
Date







NOTICE TO EMPLOYEES
POSTED BY ORDER OF
THE EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION
An Agency of the United States Government

This Notice is posted pursuant to an Order by the United States Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission dated ________ which found that a
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended,
42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. has occurred at the VA's Medical Center in
West Los Angeles, California.

Federal law requires that there be no discrimination against any employee
or applicant for employment because of the person's RACE, COLOR, RELIGION,
SEX, NATIONAL ORIGIN, AGE, or DISABILITY with respect to hiring, firing,
promotion, compensation, or other terms, conditions or privileges of
employment.

The VA Medical Center in West Los Angeles, California supports and will
comply with such Federal law and will not take action against individuals
because they have exercised their rights under law.

The VA Medical Center in West Los Angeles, California, was found to
have unlawfully discriminated against the individual when she was
harassed and subjected to reprisal in that her pay step was lowered,
she was denied favorable work assignments, denied overtime, and had
inaccurate comments placed on her performance appraisal.  The agency has
been ordered to reverse the step decrease and provide other equitable
relief and compensatory damages.  The agency has also been ordered to
provide appropriate training to managers and supervisors and ensure
that appropriate steps are taken to prevent a recurrence of the unlawful
discrimination.  The VA Medical Center in West Los Angeles, California
will ensure that officials responsible for personnel decisions and
terms and conditions of employment will abide by the requirements of
all Federal equal employment opportunity laws.

The VA Medical Center in West Los Angeles, California will not in any
manner restrain, interfere, coerce, or retaliate against any individual
who exercises his or her right to oppose practices made unlawful by,
or who participates in proceedings pursuant to, Federal equal employment
opportunity law.

______________________________

Date Posted: ___________

Posting Expires: ________

29 C.F.R. Part 1614
1The AJ found that complainant was not discriminated against based on
her age with regard to any of complainant's allegations.  Further, the
AJ found that complainant did not show that she subjected to unlawful
discrimination on any basis with regard to the issues involving
compensatory time, changes in schedule, and a issued reprimand.

2The agency did not contest the AJ's award of attorney's fees or costs.

3We note that the Commission has previously held that, under the
collateral source rule, payments made by a health insurer for treatment on
a complainant's behalf cannot be used to reduce a compensatory damages
award. Wallis v. USPS, EEOC Appeal No. 01950510 (November 13, 1995);
Johnson v. Department of the Interior, EEOC Appeal No. 01961812 (June
18, 1998).

�

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.

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