Handicapped DOE Teacher Seeking Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Attorney


  • 7/31/15 – EEOC Honolulu Local Office dismissed the charge and issued a Notice of Right to Sue.
  • 10/28/15 – Ninety-day deadline to file suit in Federal court.


  • Teacher has a walking impairment and uses an electric Power Chair for work.  Teacher requested a key to the parking gate be assigned to her for duration of school year so she can access handicapped parking to work after hours and on weekends.  Because she is allowed to sign out a key and sign it back in for each usage like other teachers, EEOC claims handicapped teacher has been accommodated.  However, other able-bodied teachers rarely have to go through this procedure because they can walk the distance from the gate to the campus.  Also, key sign out is not assured.  On the rare occasion another teacher signs out the key, the handicapped teacher will not be able to work on weekends.  This is not a problem for able-bodied teachers who do not need handicapped parking access and usually only sign out a key at the beginning of the school year, if ever.  The employer refuses to make a simple modification to standard policy (teachers aren’t assigned parking gate keys) so that the handicapped teacher can have a parking gate key to easily get in and out of the handicapped parking area on weekends and after hours.
  • Teacher requested safe storage of her Power Chair (an assistive device that was acquired and used only for work), and a key to a safe storage room for the Chair.  Request denied.  Teacher must choose between access to her wheelchair after hours or safe storage for the expensive assistive device after hours (the school is known for having had several burglaries). The administration will not give her a key to a safe storage location for the Power Chair she purchased to perform her job duties.  If stored in the safe room (for which she’s not allowed to have a key), the teacher cannot access the Power Chair before 7:20 am or after 4:10 pm  on workdays, or on weekends.  Able-bodied teachers can start work on their legs as early as 6:45 am and end at 5:30 pm, and they can easily roam the campus on weekends.  This teacher needs the Power Chair to work as freely as other teachers, but cannot financially risk having it stolen from an unsecured location on campus.  The administration can make an easy modification to policy and give her a key, but they won’t.


If you can help, please contact the Teacher (difficult to reach during the day) or her Friend (easy to reach).



The following documents provide detailed evidence (written communications) about the case.

Link to File Name

Content Description


Read pages 3-16 to fully understand the case!

This is the final appeal from the Teacher to the EEOC regarding her ADA discrimination claim (July 22, 2015).   Pages 3-16 fully explain the issues using several references to the EEOC ADA compliance guidelines to support her claims.   Pages 14-24 are responses to statements made by the Employer [Suzanne Aina v. SOH-DOE.pdf].  Pages 25-30 are reference citations.

Chronologic correspondence log re: EEOC Charge No. 486-2014-00305 from initial submission of complaint April 2014 to EEOC dismissal July 2015. Other files listed on this page are referenced in this log.  Search on file name to locate reference.

Teacher’s original letter to EEOC describing discriminatory treatment by Employer (Hawaiʻi Department of Education).  Hand delivered to EEOC.  Also attached to final appeal [Aina_to_EEOC_2015_0722.pdf].

Attachment to 5/2/14 response to EEOC’s request for additional information. 

Teacher’s EEOC Charge of Discrimination 486-2014-00305.  Final Draft.  Officially received by EEOC 6/27/14.  [EEOC Form 5]

Employer’s responses to Teacher’s June 2014 charge of discrimination written by EEOC Investigator.

Correspondence log attached to Teacher’s final appeal [Aina_to_EEOC_2015_0722.pdf]. Another example of Employer’s recalcitrant and irresponsible attitude about providing accommodations for Teacher’s Power Chair.

EEOC Dismissal and Notice of Rights.  [EEOC Form 161]

EEOC Charge Draft 1.

Requested corrections to EEOC Charge Draft 1.

Requested corrections to EEOC Charge Draft 1.

Correspondence with DOE in 2012 regarding request for Gate Key accommodation.

Sue’s RDA of safe storage for Power Chair and access to safe storage, and CRCO denial.

Naalehu Elementary School procedure for teachers to sign out gate key.

Excel formatted table of documents related to EEOC charge from initial employee complaint to Dismissal and Notice of Right to Sue.