Can we say “discrimination?” I thought we could!
*Insert loud screaming in frustration noise here*
Well, I just heard from my Equal Rights counselor regarding my long “quest” to find out why I wasn’t reappointed to my job and to try to get it back. I still have another phone call coming from her when she receives the message of whether or not the person she is dealing with has the right to reappoint me or not. At the moment, however, I couldn’t give crap one if they try to reappoint me to my old position. There’s no way I could possibly stand to work for these people after what I was just told they said about me and my disability!
So, quick rundown before I have to go grab another Xanax. The main Equal Rights Officer I worked with last year to get my reasonable accommodations to have Celeste come to work with me stated that I had proven that I had a disability and with all the letters from therapists, doctors, co-workers, and the trainer of my service dog that I had proven the need and should be allowed to bring her with me. My assistant Cadre Manager signed-off on all of the paperwork and sent me a memo stating how in the future I was to notify her when I was deploying with Celeste and the rules/regulations that I would have to follow for having her in our field offices. Basic stuff, all approved, all signed, and copies (both physical and electronic) are saved for my records.
Then, the counselor contacted my Cadre Manager and his assistant to speak with them on why I wasn’t reappointed to my job. He stated that he’d heard my name but didn’t know who I was. He also stated that he knew that there were issues last year with me bringing Celeste and problems at the office (which there weren’t any from her, just from others who wanted to pet and play with her) and that she was not a “service animal” but was a “comfort dog.” Really?? Since when did he become so educated on what constitutes the difference between a SD (service dog) and an ESA (emotional support animal)?? And this is a man I’ve only ever spoken to once since I started working for him in 2009 because he never returned my emails or phone calls and I always had to go through his assistant.
And speaking of his assistant, she was very quiet throughout the interview. I have her signature approving my request for reasonable accommodation but she told the counselor that all of that was handled at headquarters by the ERO officers.
I was right!! They were discriminating against me when they didn’t reappoint me. The Cadre Manager stated that my “comfort dog” would cause a problem and I couldn’t be deployed or retained because of it. Also, he said that he had to drastically reduce the number of people he had employed but he only released two people in my section. I guess all of the people who I trained last year will be able to go on to have full employment and success now.
I’m not expecting to get my job back because he said he’d be happy to write a letter of recommendation for me (which was the easy-out option given if they weren’t going to keep me) and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t want me back anyway now that I know what I know. But, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.
I’m shocked. I’m flabbergasted. I can’t believe that someone would be so bold to basically state outright that my disability is the reason they didn’t keep me — especially since this is a FEDERAL position and there are FEDERAL laws to protect the disabled.
You can be sure I’ll keep things updated as more info comes in. However, for anyone who thought I was just uselessly chasing a dream, I’m not upset and I’m not going to dance around with my tongue sticking out and my fingers in my ears saying “I’m right and you were wrong!” I’ve always had a tenacity to grab hold of something and see it all the way through to the end, regardless if I’m right or I’m wrong. I’m glad that I have that now because I have proof that I was right this time. And anyone who feels that they’ve been wronged should be brave enough to stand-up for what they believe in and fight for what is right. I hope I’ve been a good example.
Now I need to try to relax before I pop a vein in my head. That would kind of make going on to a formal complaint process difficult.