Friday, October 12, 2012

Denial of a Request for Reinstatement Following Earlier Request for Reinstatement Can Constitute A Separate, and Thus Actionable, Instance of Discrimination


In Jaiyeola v. District of Columbia, 40 A.3d 356 (D.C. 2012), the Court found that denial of a renewed request for reinstatement which follows the denial of such a request can constitute a separate act of discrimination.

The district court had originally found plaintiff’s complaint to be untimely on the basis that the discrimination against plaintiff occurred when plaintiff’s first request for reinstatement in 2001 was denied.  In so holding, the lower court ruled that plaintiff’s subsequent requests for reinstatement, one of which was made in 2003, within the limitations period, were “[m]ere requests to reconsider…[and] cannot extend the limitations periods applicable to the civil rights laws.”  

On appeal, the Court of Appeals found that plaintiff’s 2003 request was more than a mere request to reconsider, explaining:

 When an employee, whose employer has denied his initial request for a disability accommodation, makes a subsequent request for “a new accommodation” (or for reinstatement without previously requested accommodation on the ground that he is impaired no longer), the denial of that new request can give rise to a fresh act of discrimination, because “the denial of a new request, made in light of changed circumstances, [will] not be time-barred.”

The Court went on to note that, plaintiff supported his renewed request for reinstatement with additional evidence informing his employer that his condition had improved and that he therefore suffered fewer work restrictions.  The Court determined that this new evidence “permitted [plaintiff] to argue that [employer’s] failure to reinstate him despite those changed circumstances amounted to fresh acts of disability discrimination that are not time-barred.” 

Please be sure to visit our website at