In 2012, public school teacher Sue Aina requested her first RDA (reasonable disability accommodation) from her employer, the State of Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE). All she wanted was a key to the parking gate at Naalehu Elementary School so that she could access the campus parking lot, and work after 4:30 pm (when the gate was locked) and on weekends. The HIDO Civil Rights Compliance Office (CRCO) denied Aina's request!
Because she did not accept this violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and fought this RDA, she was subjected to years of abusive retaliation. In 2015, she was able to find an attorney who would help (on contingency). In 2016, she finally got the gate key and several of the retaliatory directives were overturned, but the retaliation didn't stop. There are still outstanding issues of discrimination.
This coming August, the truth will finally see the light of day in a Hawaii court of law.
In School Year (SY) 2008-2009 teacher Vanessa Ott requested her first RDA from the Principal of Naalehu Elementary School (NES), and an ugly conflict began. As the years and retaliation progressed, the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA), otherwise known as the teachers' union, represented Ott in a number of grievances concerning discrimination based on her disability.
One of the RDAs was a key to the NES gate so she could access the campus and handicapped parking in order to work after school hours and on weekends. She needed to work more hours because her physical handicaps slow her down, and there are many tasks an elementary school teacher can do only in the classroom. The Ott/HSTA v DOE Grievance Arbitration DECISION AND AWARD says:
Ott would have been awarded this had she remained a DOE employee and gone through the RDA process again. Still being subjected to retaliation, which the Arbitration Decision did not address, Ott opted to quit working for HIDOE in January 2012. Nonetheless, she thought that this arbitration decision would make it easy for Sue Aina, her friend and former work colleague, to get the same RDA (a key to the at NES gate blocking vehicle entry to the school campus ). Aina was and is still working at NES and was/is even more handicapped than Ott. What a surprise when the HIDOE CRCO denied Aina's RDA.
Copyright © 2022 Vanessa Ott - All Rights Reserved.