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deadlinesall without any accommodation for his disability. The pressure of that performance pace, according to written reports from his physicians at the Dallas veterans’ hospital, was aggravating and accelerating not only Ramirez’ physical disability, but also complicating the previously-diagnosed severe depression associated with his PTSD. The OCR asked Ramirez to present medical documentation before the administration could determine what workplace accommodation would be appropriate. Ramirez complied and turned over the records. When Harris and Honig investigated, however, Taylor August told them that Ramirez had not complied with the request for medical documentation. When Harris and Honig challenged August by showing him the medical information obtained from August’s own secretaryinformation already on fileAugust reversed himself, saying that the division director, George Cole, was supposed to keep him abreast of that kind of information. Cole, when confronted, stated that he believed Ramirez was still being diagnosed and that he had not seen anything recently from the VA. “We can only presume that either Cole’s statement is intended to mislead or that he did not receive copies of the correspondence provided by Dr. Perry,” the report states. “His statement that ‘the VA is not on record that they feel he’s got it [PTSD],’ for that reason, appears disingenuous.” The report notes that at least three VA physicians had diagnosed Ramirez with PTSD and major depression. “We found Cole’s adoption of a passive role in developing an accommodation selfserving and at odds with the guidelines. We also note that Cole’s perspective, which reflected views espoused by August, effectively established a discriminatory policy against disabled employees.” “There is great hostility in the office. There always has been. But what I don’t understand is why headquarters in Washington won’t remedy the problem,” Ramirez said. “This is the Office of Civil Rights. We are charged to make certain that these very types of egregious acts do not happen in schools and universities. Yet, they are rampant in this very office.” Citing pending litigation filed by Ramirez and others at Dallas OCR, neither Taylor August nor the Department of Education would comment on Ramirez’ case or the other conclusions of the Harris Management report. R.E. Gatewood, a former investigator for the Dallas OCR and also a Vietnam veteran, said the stress in the OCR was overwhelming at times. “Just by nature of what we didinvestigating civil rights abusesthe stress is high and inconsistent, like a Chinese water torture. But when you add an element of bad management, you create a powder keg.” Gatewood, who was rendered partially disabled from exposure to Agent Orange and has been diagnosed with severe PTSD from combat, asked for but never received accommodations for his disability, despite submitting substantial medical documentation. After pressing management to accommodate his disability, Gatewood said, he received the lowest performance level rating of his government career, although he had received no advance warning of performance problems. In an interview, Gatewood said the stress became so severe that he suffered a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized for ten days. The day he returned to work, George Cole and Gatewood’s supervisor presented him with a memo requiring him to supply his full medical history and asked that he adjust his therapy schedule so he could resume travel duties for the office. Additional pressure came in the form of a caseload and work schedule heavier than what was required of other employees, despite letters from Gatewood’s doctor describing his condition as tenuous at best, adding that he showed “suicidal ideation.” Two months after he checked out of the hospital, on March 4, 1993 Gatewood attempted suicide. “I was the poster child for stress there,” Gatewood said. Gatewood has since resigned his position with the OCR and is currently a law student, but fears for his former colleagues and believes that if steps aren’t taken to address the problems plaguing the OCR, the workplace could become even more volatile. The management report also conveys those fears, and notes that disabled employees found themselves in a “Catch-22” situationOCR rules were inconsistent and devised in such a manner it was impossible for disabled employees to comply with them. Harris said that even though the employees would provide extensive documentation of their illnesses and disabilities, the administration would later conveniently claim never to have seen it. One of the more disturbing portions of the EEO section of the Harris Report quotes an employee’s statement about the death of a quadriplegic co-worker, who had been given such an extensive caseload, without reasonable accommodation, that he sometimes would spend the night at the office or pay personal attendants to help him try to complete his work. The employee pushed himself so hard because “he feared losing his job. That would have meant a return to Social Security disability and a return to a nursing home. For that reason, he was afraid to complain.” The report says that the internal bleeding that caused his death may have been due to stress. DISABLED WORKERS aren’t the only ones who have complained of mismanagement and abuse at the OCR. The Harris investigation also found that forty percent of the female employees at Region VI reported sexual harassment on the job. The reported incidents include: intentional grabbing of a woman’s breast by her supervisor; a male employee’s lewd descriptions of his genitals; and supervisors pressuring female employees for dates. The report noted sixteen individual reports of unacceptable sexual remarks and innuendoes, and fourteen independent incidents of unwanted sexual advances or touching. \(When it released the report to the press, two pages of details concerning sexual harassment were censored by the DepartThe report also noted that although the OCR’s management was well aware of the incidents of sexual harassment, the practices had persisted and the individuals responsible were neither disciplined nor deterred. “It really is a case of Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill all over again,” one investigator said. “The federal government simply does not know how to handle a black man in a position of power who abuses that power.” In 1994, Veronica Davis, an OCR lawyer, filed a seven million dollar lawsuit against Education Secretary Richard Riley for incidents she contends took place at the Dallas OCR. Davis’ lawsuit also alleges a failure to promote her based on her skin color \(she is a darkleave and being declared AWOL; and sexual harassment. In her court petition, Davis alleges she was the recipient of disparaging remarks and sexual harassment from OCR regional director Taylor August. She alleges that August specifically discussed her promotion with her, and requested sexual favors in order to ensure her promotion. Davis was informed that she had thirty days to report a complaint, which she did both verbally and in writing. At this point, the stress became unbearable and Davis took a leave-of-absence. Upon her return, she alleges, she was subject to retaliation for her Office of Civil Rights rules were inconsistent and devised in such a manner it was impossible for disabled employees to comply with them. 12 SEPTEMBER 1, 1995 411W