FRESNO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has resolved a federal disability discrimination and retaliation charge filed with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Thursday.
According to the EEOC, the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) at the Hugh Burns State Building, a division of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, denied an employee a reasonable accommodation to continue working remotely without participating in the interactive proceedings.
The employee also suffered unlawful retaliation for requesting the accommodation, the EEOC said.
The EEOC investigated the allegations and found reasonable grounds to believe that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Without admitting liability, CDCR entered into a settlement agreement with the EEOC.
Under the terms of the settlement, the agency agreed to pay the individual $14,889 and assign him a different supervisor.
In addition, the agency agreed that, over the course of the agreement, all BPH employees will receive annual EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) training focused on their rights and responsibilities, including disability discrimination and retaliation, under disability law.
The agreement requires all management and supervisory employees to also receive EEO training, including how to recognize discrimination, with particular emphasis on disability harassment and retaliation, training on reasonable accommodation, the interactive process and undue hardship; Training on how to properly identify, manage and neutrally report discrimination complaints; and how to recognize and prevent retaliation under anti-discrimination laws.
In addition, BPH will post a notice to all employees regarding the resolution of this charge and their rights under federal anti-discrimination law. The EEOC will monitor compliance with this agreement.
“We commend the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for addressing concerns in this position and implementing training to provide education to all Parole Hearing Board employees so that they are aware of their rights and responsibilities under the law,” said Armando Hernández , director of the EEOC Fresno Field Office.
“The EEOC continues to see employers denying reasonable accommodations without going through the interactive process.
“We hope this serves as a reminder to all employers of their duty to thoroughly consider a request for accommodation before acting on it,” he concluded.