GREENBELT, Md., August 16, 2022 – Yesterday Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, P.A., filed a Complaint (Cosmann v. Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.) to hold national consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton (NYSE: BAH) accountable for refusing to provide reasonable accommodations for an employee’s disability, actively preventing her from seeking additional billable client projects, and then ultimately terminating her employment as a result. The lawsuit seeks relief for unlawful disability discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended (“ADA”) and the Virginia Values Act (“VVA”).
The Complaint alleges the following: Plaintiff Deirdre N. Cosmann alleged in the Complaint that she was a long time, high performing employee of Defendant Booz Allen Hamilton, all until she encountered a new manager who did not want to accommodate her disability. Ms. Cosmann was diagnosed with migraines and required telework approximately six to eight days a month for her disability. Booz Allen granted this accommodation back in 2013, but in the Complaint, Ms. Cosmann alleges that when she moved on to a new project in June 2019 her new “Job Manager” refused to abide by the existing accommodation, despite Ms. Cosmann’s disability needs and the fact that other employees on the project teleworked. Ms. Cosmann alleges in the Complaint that the Job Manager intentionally scrutinized her work, berated her in front of her client and colleagues, and demanded Ms. Cosmann show detailed activity logs of her time spent teleworking, a requirement not extended to any other teleworking employee. According to the Complaint, Ms. Cosmann continued to request accommodations for her disability and escalated the issue with official complaints to Booz Allen, but the company did not intervene. Ms. Cosmann alleges that Booz Allen removed her from her project and then refused to consider her for other jobs due to her need for telework.
According to Ms. Cosmann as detailed in the Complaint, when Booz Allen switched to full time telework due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, Booz Allen still did not accommodate, and denied Ms. Cosmann the telework benefits it provided to all other employees. Booz Allen allegedly insisted that Ms. Cosmann (and only Ms. Cosmann) could not work at Booz Allen jobs due to her need to telework, and unceremoniously terminated her in the midst of the pandemic.
As outlined in the Complaint, filed in federal court, Booz Allen’s actions were in direct violation of the ADA. Additionally, Booz Allen blatantly disregarded its commitment to The Federal Procurement Policy, which “permit[s] telecommuting by employees of Federal Government contractors in the performance of contracts entered into with executive agencies,” and Booz Allen’s obligations under the Federal Acquisition Regulations, which state that a federal “agency shall generally not discourage a contractor from allowing its employees to telecommute in the performance of Government contracts.” Booz Allen also did not abide by its Contract and Preliminary Work Statement with the federal government (Ms. Cosmann’s client), which did not prohibit telework.
“Booz Allen repeated denial of Ms. Cosmann’s requests for reasonable accommodations for her disability is nothing short of a blatant refusal to comply with federal anti-discrimination laws. Booz Allen failed Ms. Cosmann at every stage, from repeatedly denying her accommodations, allowing her Job Manager to retaliate against her, removing her from her project just two weeks after she finally got a formal reasonable accommodation in place, refusing to consider her for jobs because she needed episodic telework, and then terminating her due to her disability,” said Michal Shinnar, Senior Counsel at Joseph Greenwald & Laake, PA, and co-counsel for Ms. Cosmann. “Booz Allen should have had systems in place to stop all of this misconduct and ensure its employee received equal treatment and accommodations. But, instead, Booz Allen at all levels condoned these blatant violations of the ADA. We believe a jury will agree that Booz Allen acted unlawfully and will award Ms. Cosmann with the proper damages.”
“Booz Allen denied Ms. Cosmann the telework benefits it gave to other employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, removed her from a major contract despite protests from the client, refused to give her new work, and terminated her in early 2020 even when Booz Allen had instituted a company-wide policy to not lay off employees until July 2020,” said Lenore Garon of the Law Office of Lenore Garon, PLLC, and co-counsel for the Plaintiff. “No employee should have been fired due to their need to occasionally telework for a disability at a time when everyone in the company was teleworking due to COVID-19. It is evident that Booz Allen Hamilton actively penalized and targeted Ms. Cosmann for her disability which is a clear violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
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