Jantz v. Social Security Administration
In November 2008, lawyers and advocacy groups for disabled employees of the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) were granted class-action status for a groundbreaking action against the agency that is currently before a judge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).
In the action, employees allege that SSA discriminates against targeted disability employees (“TDEs”) “by creating a glass ceiling and limiting promotional and other career advancement opportunities,” according to a consortium of law firms handling the case for the complainants. Litigants are seeking back pay and compensatory damages for lost promotional opportunities.
The federal government considers TDEs to be the “harbingers of success” among all of its antidiscrimination efforts, because “employees with targeted disabilities tend to experience more discrimination than others – they have readily apparent disabilities including: deafness, blindness, paralysis, convulsive disorders, mental illness, and genetic and physical conditions affecting the limbs or spine,” according to a release from the complainants’ lawyers.
Lead Plaintiff/Class Agent
Ronald Jantz is the Lead Plaintiff/Class Agent in this class action law suit. Mr. Jantz is a targeted disabled employee: he’s deaf. Mr. Jantz is highly qualified: he holds an MBA in Finance/Accounting, a Bachelors of Business Administration and an Associates of Business Administration. He’s been with SSA since 1988, when he started working as a GS-12 Management Analyst, and has a total of 31 years of federal service. Despite numerous applications for promotions and other advancement opportunities, Mr. Jantz has not once been promoted throughout his 22 year career at SSA. After 22 years of stagnation at his grade level, Mr. Jantz decided to take action. He filed an EEO Complaint in August 2005, which was converted to a class complaint in October 2006.
An Administrative Law Judge ordered a period of discovery on the issue of whether a class exists. The class has been defined as:
Social Security Administration applicants and employees with a targeted disability who have been denied being hired or promoted or other career advancement to one or more positions beginning two years prior to the seeking of EEO Counseling and continuing to the date that a final determination is made on the class complaint claim.
In response to a letter informing targeted disabled employees of the law suit, responses were received from over 350 employees. Attorneys for the class estimate that the lawsuit will cover approximately 2,000 current and past employees.
The following documents are available for review: