ALL I ASKED FOR WAS REASONABLED ACCOMMODATION AND WAS TERMINATED
Until recently, I was a Federal employee with the Army Air Force Exchange Service at Fort Meade, Md. as a Tractor Trailer Driver. In June of 2012 I was injured in an on the job accident. This injury required surgery to my left knee.
Prior to my most recent surgery I had 6, maybe 7 surgeries to both knees combined ( I have lost count ). These surgeries were performed by 3 different Surgeons. In one set of surgeries I had to have 2 sets of titanium screws installed in each knee to stabilize them and I feel them with every step. Since my last surgery, I have developed debilitating arthritis in both knees causing severe pain and a inability to walk or stand properly ( This can vary day to day ). Pain also radiates from my knees into my hips and lower back. Also, before my last surgery I was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation, which sometimes causes shortness of breath, dizziness, possible stroke or heart attack ( Something you don’t want to hit you if you’re driving a Tractor Trailer…..obviously ). One doctor also stated a loss of 45% of motion in my left knee alone.
As you can see and Doctors can prove, I can no longer perform the job as a Tractor Trailer Driver without killing myself. ( Or God forbid, someone else. )
I have asked my supervisor on more occasions than I can remember to request Reasonable Accommodation. Or a transfer to another position within the Department of Defense on my behalf. His request were denied every time. The Department of Defense must have hundreds of positions I could have been placed in at Fort Meade Md..
Note: Reasonable Accommodation needs only to be requested verbally.
I have been discharged by AAFES for my inability to return to my position as a Tractor Trailer Driver.
Doctors and I have overwhelming files and X-rays as evidence of my disability that can be provided. Especially from Dr. John O’Donnell, head of the Orthopedics Department at Union Memorial Hospital and a world renown doctor and surgeon in the field of Orthopedics.
AAFES and the Department of Defense are clearly in violation of:
A: The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ( Sections 501-504 )
B: President Obama’s Executive order #13548, Section #3
C: The Presidential Power Intuitive ( To protect and support Disabled Federal Employees and keep them employed )
In January of this year I was forced to file a complaint against AAFES/DoD and requested a mediation meeting in the hope that I could keep this in house and get this resolved without legal intervention.
The mediation was held on Wednesday April 9, 2014 at 8am at conference room/administration office, 4432 Llewellyn avenue, Ft. Meade, Md. 20755. It was attended by myself, my union representative, a representative from AAFES and a mediator from the Department of Defense. What was to happen this day was absolutely shameful.
I opened the meeting with a statement of evidence that supported my request for Reasonable Accommodation. My legal right of Reasonable Accommodation and the support I had from a number of politicians who were outraged that things had progressed to this point. I then again made my request for Reasonable Accommodation and reiterated it was my legal right do so and my disappointment that things had progressed to this point. I attributed it all to probable miscommunication and Government red tape.
At this point, the representative from the Department of Defense asked me to sign a paper withdrawing my complaint and stated it would be a gesture of good faith on my behalf. My union representative agreed and suggested I do this also. I thought nothing of it, as I didn’t want things to progress as far as it had in the first place.
At that point the representative of AAFES made the statement that his evidence stated that the doctor said I only had 10% disability and could return to work with no restrictions. A statement the is entirely false and can be proven so.
Then my union representative told me he could no longer represent me as he felt the AAFES evidence was all that was needed and my complaint HAD NO MERIT. At that point the mediator from the Department of Defense stated the same. Then a statement from the representative from AAFES that I was fired for ( LOWP ), Leave without pay.
I feel this was retaliation for filing the complaint against them. So much for the Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (“No FEAR Act”)
I have lost my job through no fault of my own, but because of a disability.
I have no insurance and need medication for my A-Fib ( A Heart condition ).
Social Security Disability Insurance followed up on my evidence and found out, yes I have a disability and it can be proven and I was approved. But unfortunately, I get only about 33% of what I made with the Government. That’s only enough to pay my mortgage, nothing more.
I have a choice my home or food, medication and utilities.