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Federal Discrimination Appeal Fails on Procedure

A Schaumberg woman’s discrimination suit against a federal agency failed when judges in the Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled that the US Social Security Agency acted properly when it hired another candidate. Risa Stegall sued the SSA after being denied a position as a service representative. She claimed the agency withdrew an offer of employment after it learned of her physical and mental disabilities, despite giving the job to a disabled candidate. A district court judge last year sided with the agency, which said that no offer was made and that the most appropriate candidate was hired for the position.

Stegall initially cited race as a factor, saying SSA officials were looking to take on an African-American when they interviewed her in 2010 but then pulled back after she told interviewers about the medication she took for depression and the back injury that prevents her from sitting for long periods. Stegall pressed the claim with the agency and federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to no avail before dropping the racial and mental health elements of her suit as it went to federal court. Appellate judges cited procedural rules in finding the SSA acted appropriately, adding that Stegall’s failure to file a timely motion once the district court verdict was handed down also doomed her appeal.