Ask The Lawyer

By Debra Roth

Q & A Session – Possible EEOC Issue after Department Withheld Travel Reimbursement

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Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.

Q:

I am currently in a situation where a travel reimbursement is being held due to irregular paperwork. I was in a carpool that gets a travel reimbursement if it has seven or more persons. For six months, we all submitted the same paperwork and all got reimbursements. At month 7, I received a letter stating that my reimbursement paperwork was irregular and, due to department procedures, need to submit additional paperwork. The other six passengers submitted the same exact paperwork for reimbursement but none of them got the same scrutiny. Month 8 we all submitted reimbursement documents again. Again, all six other passengers received the reimbursement and mine is being withheld for more documentation. I am the only African American in the carpool. The department doing the paperwork should not have any basis for discrimination, however, as the only individual not receiving any reimbursement. I am having a hard time feeling there is no discrimination taking place. Am I justified?

A:

Based on what you have said, I think you would have a hard time proving discrimination. This is especially true considering how common it is for employees who are similarly situated to be treated differently. You need to persist to have it corrected.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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