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US Department of Labor sues Alexandria federal contractor for allegedly firing disabled worker seeking reasonable accommodation

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit against a cybersecurity provider and federal contractor in Alexandria after an investigation found the employer allegedly fired an employee with a disability for having a disability and requesting a reasonable accommodation.

Filed in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Administrative Law Judges, the suit against Resource Metrix seeks position reinstatement, back and front pay, interest, retroactive seniority and all other employment benefits for the employee who was terminated eight days after joining the company as an executive administrative assistant in September 2019.

The lawsuit follows a complaint investigation begun on Feb. 20, 2020, by the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. OFCCP determined that the former employee indicated on their job application and during an interview with the company’s owner, Cory Ash, and Resource Metrix’s human resources recruiter and coordinator, that they needed an ergonomic chair as a reasonable accommodation due to a disability that caused regular neck pain and difficulty sitting still.

The employee started the job on Sept. 3, 2019, and worked for several days in a non-ergonomic chair. On Sept. 6, the employee informed Resource Metrix that the chair provided had exacerbated their back condition. The employer granted the administrative assistant permission to leave work that day to see a doctor, obtain necessary medical documentation, and take leave the following week on Sept. 9 and 10 to await the arrival of the ergonomic chair, which the employee did.

On Sept. 10, the company terminated the assistant while the complainant was on the approved leave. On Sept. 11, when they questioned their termination, the company’s owner told the employee that the company terminated them for being a “no-show.” OFCCP concluded that Resource Metrix’s actions violated Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against individuals with disabilities and retaliating against employees who request reasonable accommodations and requires employers to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote and retain employees with disabilities.

“When the administrative assistant questioned the termination, Resource Metrix’s owner told them not to use disability as an excuse, which is discriminatory and unacceptable,” said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Mid-Atlantic Regional Director Samuel Maiden in Philadelphia. “Companies will not be permitted to reap the benefits of contracting with the federal government while unlawfully discriminating in their employment process based on one’s disability.”

“This lawsuit sends a clear message to federal contractors that the U.S. Department of Labor will vigorously enforce the law to ensure equality and compliance with anti-discrimination regulations,” explained Regional Solicitor Oscar L. Hampton III in Philadelphia.

The department’s lawsuit additionally seeks to permanently enjoin Resource Metrix and its owner from failing and refusing to comply with the requirements of Section 503 and debar and cancel the company’s federal contracts if it does not provide relief as ordered.

Founded in 2011, Resource Metrix provides management consulting and software development services. It has federal contracts with the National Guard Bureau, the worksite where the discrimination alleged in this complaint originated, as well as with the U.S. Army, Federal Aviation Administration, and General Services Administration.

OFCCP enforces  Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These legal authorities require that federal contractors provide equal employment opportunity through affirmative action.