for the agency to provide a part-time reader to a blind employee. In this case, provision of a part-time writer has not resulted in improved performance and therefore there is no justification for attempting to provide additional accommodation.
6. An agency is not required to lower its standards for handicapped employees or to give them "trial periods" in which to demonstrate their abilities to perform at higher grade levels, when the existing work assignments and supervision accomplish the same result. See Bruegging v. Burke, 696 F. Supp. 674, 676 (D.D.C. 1987) (handicapped employee with cerebral palsy not promoted to GS-11 because his overall performance and accuracy were deemed inferior to other applicants'), cert. denied 488 U.S. 1009 (1989). Plaintiff's length of service does not justify a promotion because promotions to higher grades in the competitive federal service are based on performance, not tenure. Id. at 675.
7. The agency here went beyond the requiremerits of reasonable accommodation in providing plaintiff a trial period in which to demonstrate his ability to perform at a higher grade level. It also complied with the Act in providing plaintiff physical accommodation, a part-time writer-assistant and any technical equipment he could use.
8. The record shows that it was not the lack of accommodation that restricted plaintiff's career so much as his inability to follow through on assignments and apply the experience gained on one project to a different one. For example, in a memorandum to plaintiff dated January 12, 1987 he was told
Although you have been a member of RSA staff since 1977 and in your current assignment for over a year, you demonstrated little knowledge of the law, legislative history, regulations or policies. . . When you did research and obtained copies of the law and related materials, you appeared unable to apply it to assignments. . . You seem to try very hard to do exactly what is requested of you, but do not appear to think about what is behind the request. . . [Your assignment to develop an applications package] represents a cut and paste rote effort without reflecting an understanding of what the purpose of the task was. . . You require more supervision than would be expected of a grade eleven.
Similarly, his annual appraisal for 1989-90 states as follows:
Mr. Adrain, however, still produced work which was of very poor quality and generally useless to the Branch. He was given opportunities to produce letters to consumers; after extensive training and re-writing, he produced several satisfactory letters. He was encouraged to use the same format for future letters. However, when given several letters to respond to in July, he was unable to produce cogent responses and reverted back to the style that had been unacceptable in the first part of the year.
9. We find that the performance problems reflected here are not related to a lack of accommodation, and therefore that the failure to provide a full-time writer is not the reason for the poor quality of plaintiff's work and is not the reason why he has not been promoted. Furthermore, the agency is required to provide "reasonable" accommodation that is not unduly burdensome to the agency.
10. The agency cannot afford and is not required to hire a full-time assistant for every handicapped employee regardless of the employee's level of productivity. It would be unreasonable to require the agency to hire a full-time person to work with a GS-9 employee who isn't performing at that grade level, when the failure to perform is not attributable to the lack of a full-time writer. As noted above, other employees with plaintiff's handicap have been accommodated with equipment (which plaintiff appears to resist) and have been promoted to higher grades.
11. Finally, there is no evidence that this defendant violated the Rehabilitation Act in any respect in its treatment of this employee.
Accordingly, judgment is entered for defendant and this case is dismissed with prejudice.
An order consistent with the foregoing is entered this day.
Date: 13 May 92
JOHN H. PRATT
United States District Judge
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following court-provided text does not appear at this cite in 792 F. Supp. 124.
ORDER - May 13, 1992, Filed
In accordance with the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law filed this day, it is, this 13th day of May 1992, hereby
ORDERED that the Court finds for Defendant Lamar Alexander and against Plaintiff William R. Adrain; and it is
ORDERED that this case is dismissed, with prejudice.
JOHN H. PRATT
United States District Judge