U.S. MARSHALS SERVICE
We represent a combat veteran who applied for a position with the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) in 2009. In 2010, the USMS revoked his conditional offer of employment as a Deputy U.S. Marshal solely because he had been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) five years earlier, and his PTSD was not “fully cured.” The independent psychologist who evaluated him stated clearly that his remaining symptoms were so minimal that he no longer met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD. His treating therapist recommended him for the position “without reservation,” stating that he “copes well with his PTSD by staying active, as well as having had the opportunity to gain insight into his triggers and anniversary reactions, and put into effect appropriate coping skills….”
The USMS’s contract psychiatrist never personally examined our client, nor spoke to him or his treating and evaluating mental health professionals. Nevertheless, after a cursory review of our client’s medical records, he determined that our client was “likely to suffer sudden or subtle incapacitation in the performance of the tasks or duties of the Deputy U.S. Marshal position,” and recommended that the agency revoke his conditional offer. Despite the fact that our client has never experienced a single episode of incapacitation in the seven years since he was diagnosed, the Department of Justice affirmed the revocation of his conditional offer of employment on March 9, 2012. The Bazelon Center filed an appeal of this decision to the Office of Federal Operations at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The Justice Department issued a decision finding that its sub-agency, the U.S. Marshal Service, had discriminated against our client, a veteran with PTSD denied a position as a U.S. Marshal because of his diagnosis. We then reached a settlement providing for backpay and compensatory damages for the veteran.