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Federal workers have 45 days to complain of bias internally

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

Federal employees who allege disability discrimination have to complain to an internal equal employment opportunity officer within 45 days of the alleged discrimination—unless they can show their employer had a discriminatory policy (not practice). But that’s hard to do.

Recent case: Anthony Ponomarenko quit his job as a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. The reason: He claimed his supervisors’ orders were aggravating his disabilities. Ponomarenko suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and a cardiac condition.

Although he missed his 45-day deadline, he said he should be excused for not complaining internally.

The court rejected the request, pointing out that each individual complaint Ponomarenko had involved a separate incident. He could show no discriminatory pattern in those incidents. The court said he should have filed a complaint with the EEO office each time. (Ponomarenko v. Potter, No. 1:10-CV-563, ND OH, 2011)

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