EEOC Reverses @StateDept Dismissal of Reasonable Accommodation Complaint Over Housing Assignment



Via EEOC Appeal No. 2021001832:
At the time of events giving rise to this complaint, Complainant was employed as a Criminal Investigator, GS-1811-13, with the Department of Justice – Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Caribbean Division – Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles Country Office, and stationed at the Department of State’s (hereinafter Agency or State) U.S. Consulate – Curaçao. On January 6, 2020, Complainant filed an equal employment opportunity (EEO) complaint against State alleging he was discriminated against based on his disability (asthma and association with his minor son with asthma who was part of his household) and reprisal for prior protected EEO activity under the Rehabilitation Act (requesting reasonable accommodation) when:
1. he was denied reasonable accommodation regarding his housing assignment in Curaçao; and
2. his assignment to US Consulate Curaçao was terminated on September 13, 2019.
State conducted an EEO investigation and then issued a FAD dismissing the complaint for failure to state a claim because Complainant was not a State employee, it had no decisionmaking authority on him, and it took no action “independent” of the DEA, Complainant’s employing agency. On appeal, Complainant submits a State regulation which indicates the Chief of Mission (Ambassador or Consul General) has full responsibility for the direction, coordination, and supervision of all U.S. executive branch employees in their country, with exceptions that do not apply here. We note that in his investigatory statement, the Consul General at Curaçao stated he was responsible for overseeing the activities of the DEA at his post, including Complainant, and that DEA asked if he would concur with curtailment (terminating the tour), which he did.
Additional details:

Complainant repeatedly articulated his view that State discriminated against him. See e.g., EEO complaint, at Bates No. 4; Affidavit A, at Bates Nos. 59, 60, 71; Rebuttal letter by Complainant’s former counsel writing Complainant “rebuts… that [the Consul General’s] actions to curtail… his assignment at… Curacao was at the request of DEA” at Bates No. 200; Complainant’s appeal statement that, “State was unilaterally responsible for the denial of a request for reasonable accommodation with respect to complainant’s housing assignment on September 13, 2019 (claim #1) and complainant’s assignment to… Curacao was broken on September 13, 2019 (claim #2)…. At no point in time did any individual from [DEA] request to break the… assignment at… Curacao or deny [my] request for a reasonable accommodation.”

Under a plain reading of 29 C.F.R. § 1614.106(a) – and this Commission’s own case law – Complainant’s belief alone is enough to enable him to file a discrimination claim with State. See e.g., Pion v. OPM, EEOC Request No. 05880891 (Oct. 18, 1988) (pointing out that the forerunner to current 29 C.F.R. § 1614.106(a) had once been amended precisely to guarantee the right of complainants “to bring a complaint against any agency they believed engaged in discriminatory conduct”); Warren v. OPM, EEOC Request No. 05950295 (Aug. 17, 1995) (ruling that “[i]n the present case, although [complainant] is clearly an employee of the Department of Agriculture, the Commission finds that the complaint was properly made against [OPM], the agency which allegedly discriminated against [him]”); Koch v. OPM, EEOC Appeal No. 01A13849 (Dec. 21, 2001) applying all the above cited cases. Thus, on these particular facts, State had no right to reject complainant’s complaint on the grounds that it was filed with the wrong agency.
The Agency is ordered to process the remanded claims, as redefined herein, from the point processing ceased. This means the Agency shall, within 10 days from the date of this decision, shall again notify Complainant that he has the option to request a hearing before an EEOC Administrative Judge (AJ) or an immediate FAD within 30 days of receipt of the notice in accordance with 29 C.F.R. § 1614.108(e). 2 If Complainant requests a FAD without a hearing, the Agency shall issue a final decision on the merits of the claim within sixty (60) days of receipt of his request.
Failure by an agency to either file a compliance report or implement any of the orders set forth in this decision, without good cause shown, may result in the referral of this matter to the Office of Special Counsel pursuant to 29 C.F.R. § 1614.503(f) for enforcement by that agency.

Full decision is available to read here (PDF).

Click to access 2021001832.pdf


U.S. Embassy Haiti Now on ‘Authorized Departure’ For Employees/Family Members #HurricaneIrma (Updated)

Posted: 3:01 pm ET
Updated: 8:58 pm PT
Updated: Sept 6, 1:17 am ET – Original headline: U.S. Embassy Haiti Now on ‘Authorized Departure’ For Non-Emergency Staff/Family Members Due to Hurricane Irma
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On September 5, the State Department warned of non-essential travel to Haiti due to Hurricane Irma. It also announced the authorized voluntary departure of non-emergency personnel and family members from Haiti ahead of Hurricane Irma, now a category 5 hurricane, and apparently larger than the state of Ohio. Excerpt below:

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the approach of Hurricane Irma and recommends U.S. citizens avoid all non-essential travel to Haiti. The National Hurricane Center ( reports that Hurricane Irma is a strong, dangerous Category 5 storm with high winds and heavy rain. A hurricane watch has been issued for the northern coast of Haiti, and a tropical storm watch has been issued from Le Mole St. Nicholas to Port-au-Prince. Additional information on Hurricane Irma is available (in Creole) from Haiti Civil Protection’s website and Twitter.

U.S. citizens residing and traveling in Haiti should be alert to flooding. Given the approaching hurricane, there is limited time available for a safe departure via air. The Department of State has authorized non-emergency personnel and family members to depart Haiti in advance of Hurricane Irma. We recommend U.S. citizens depart Haiti prior to the arrival of the hurricane. Airports are expected to close if conditions deteriorate.

As mentioned in yesterday’s emergency message, the Embassy has banned all personnel travel north of Port-au-Prince. In addition, the Embassy has cancelled the travel plans of all incoming employees to Haiti until the threat passes.

We recommend those citizens who are unable to depart to shelter in place in a secure location. U.S. citizens should apprise family and friends in the United States of their whereabouts, and keep in close contact with their tour operator, hotel staff, and local officials for any evacuation instructions.

For immigrant or nonimmigrant visa questions, please contact the call center at +509-2812-2929 or email If you will not be able travel to an already-scheduled appointment in American Citizen Services from Wednesday, September 6 through Friday, September 8, please call 509-2229-8000 or 2229-8900, or send us an email at to reschedule your appointment.

Read in full here.

The Haiti Travel Warning also dated September 5 now notes that “On September 5, the Department authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. government employees and their family members due to Hurricane Irma.” 

The U.S. Consulate General in Curacao issued an alert for U.S. citizens in the Dutch Carribean that the current track of Hurricane Irma brings the eye of the storm directly over Sint Maarten Tuesday evening into Wednesday with sustained winds of 180 mph, gusts over 200 mph, and storm surge in excess of 10 feet and advised U.S. citizens to “take shelter in concrete buildings on higher ground away from the coast.” (Note: In 2010, Curacao and St. Maarten acquired a semi-autonomus status within the Kingdom and Bonaire, St. Eustatious, and Saba (BES-Islands) became municipalities of the Netherlands). No “authorized departure” for employees/family members is noted in the alert.

On September 4, the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo issued a reminder to U.S. citizens in the Dominican Republic “to remain vigilant during the hurricane season.  At this time, Hurricane Irma is forecast to impact the entirety of the Dominican Republic to varying degrees with eastern and northern areas most heavily impacted, by Wednesday, September 6.” On September 5, U.S. Embassy Santo Domingo issued an Emergency Message advising U.S. citizens residing and traveling in the Dominican Republic that Hurricane Irma, “currently a category 5 storm, is projected to affect the Dominican Republic.” Also: “This storm may bring significant rainfall and wind that may result in life-threatening flooding, flash flooding, and storm surge, and Hispaniola-wide impacts are likely.  The National Hurricane Center (NHC) and local authorities are monitoring the progress of the storm, and the Embassy will issue updated messages as needed. Travelers and residents wishing to depart before the arrival of the storm should contact their airlines or tour operators and keep their families informed of their welfare and whereabouts.”  No “authorized departure” for employees/family members is noted in the Emergency Message.


James Hogan Case: A Royal Hurricane Shit Storm of Pain for All to Read

This blog has followed the James Hogan case since September 2009 when the Foreign Service officer was first reported missing in the Netherlands Antilles.  In March 2012, USDOJ announced that Abby Beard Hogan, 50, pleaded guilty in the Northern District of Florida for her role in the obstruction of a multinational investigation into the disappearance of her husband in Curacao.

The Scared Monkeys Forum recently posted some of the court documents related to this case, including the Government’s Sentencing Memorandum where it requests that the Court “impose a sentence within the applicable guideline range of 27-33 months.”

The memorandum fills in some of the details that we did not know about this story including how soon and how many agents were deployed in the search for James Hogan following his immediate disappearance and the fact that Mrs.Hogan apparently was the last person he talked to via phone before he disappeared. Excerpt via:

Within 48 hours, the U.S. government began dispatching agents from multiple domestic and foreign locations, eventually mobilizing approximately 25 agents within the first two weeks.  The Dutch and Antillean governments reacted similarly, committing significant resources to find James Hogan in the largest search in the history of the Netherland Antilles.

To this date, the disappearance of James Hogan remains unsolved, and Defendant has failed to reveal the truth of what happened that night, even declining a government request to speak after her guilty plea. Most significantly, Defendant has never told the truth about the last confirmed phone call from James Hogan after he left the house. Defendant’s claim in her March 2010 interview that she could not remember the nearly three-minute conversation because she was “groggy” is undeniably false, as her internet activity proves she was not asleep when her husband called and that she was alert enough to sign into her email account within minutes of concluding that call. This uncertainty and lack of closure has affected her family, including her children, see Email 70, and James Hogan’s mother and siblings.

A more detailed narrative of what happened is below. The full account is available here:

Sometime after 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 24, 2009, James Hogan – the Vice Consul at the U.S. Consulate in the Caribbean island of Curacao – left his residence in the capital city of Willemstad. Shortly after midnight on Friday, September 25, James Hogan’s cell phone (located near a tourist resort called “Lion’s Dive”) called Defendant Abby Hogan. That two minute, 58-second phone call is the last confirmed contact with James Hogan. Later that afternoon, a recreational diver discovered a pair of jeans with bloodstains, a pair of socks, and a pair of tennis shoes at a rocky beach area in Curacao known as Blue Rock. Dutch law enforcement also discovered blood on the beach and on rocks near the shore; the blood on the jeans and rocks matched James Hogan’s DNA. Investigators found James Hogan’s cell phone and a knife in the water near the blood-stained rocks. James Hogan’s body has never been found, and he is presumed dead.

American, Dutch, and Antillean officials mobilized immediately in an effort to locate James Hogan or to prevent the disposal of his body. Their primary source of information was Defendant Abby Hogan – James Hogan’s wife – who was the last known person to see or speak to him. In at least five interviews over the course of six months, Defendant told U.S. and Dutch law enforcement essentially the same story: that the evening James disappeared had been normal; that James had been in a good mood, nothing had been bothering him, and there were no marital problems. Defendant claimed that James had taken his normal evening walk and that she had taken a sleeping pill and slept through the evening. She was awakened briefly after midnight by a call from James to her cell phone. She could not remember anything from the nearly three minute conversation except that he was still out walking and she should leave the door unlocked.  She then fell back asleep and did not notice he was missing until the next morning. After her initial statement, Defendant amended her story to add that: (1) James had been worried that a recently-fired Consulate employee with a criminal record might seek revenge; and (2) someone had interrupted James during the midnight phone call.

Subsequent investigation, however, revealed that Defendant’s version of events was completely false. Defendant’s own emails (see Attach. 1) provide a timeline of events leading up to Hogan’s disappearance and disclose a household in turmoil. In March, 2009, Defendant reconnected with her high school boyfriend “Mike” (Attach. 1; Email 1). By early June, Defendant was planning a trip to Gainesville to see him (Email 2: “Do you understand I want to sleep with you?”); on August, 17, 2009, Defendant consummated the affair in Florida (Email 6).  Even before returning to Curacao, Defendant broached the idea of leaving her husband for her lover. See, e.g. Email 7 (8/27/09: “If there’s any way I can do it we are going to be together).  Within days of her return to Curacao, Defendant began exploring her options. See, e.g. Email 11  (9/1/09 email to sister asking about career options in Florida); Email 17 (9/8/09 email to friend “I’m thinking of leaving my 23+ year marriage”). Defendant, however, was concerned that James might “react very strongly” to her leaving (Email 13; Email 19); See also Email 21: (“will Jim let me leave”).

Upon her return, James Hogan became suspicious of his wife’s behavior and began asking questions about her trip. Email 10, 18, 23. Eventually, James caught his wife in a lie about seeing her high school boyfriend (Email 23), and two days before his disappearance, James discussed the lie in an email exchange (Email 25). On the night he disappeared, James Hogan used Defendant’s pink Dell laptop to make a Skype video call to his step-daughter. Afterwards, sometime around 9:00 pm, he saw Defendant’s emails, including her emails to her lover. Email 49. At 9:20 pm, four emails were forwarded from Defendant’s email account to James Hogan’s email account. See Email 33-36. These contained references to the affair. See, e.g. Email 28 & 36 (“it is very difficult for me to pretend to love him [James] when my heart is there with you.  To have sex when I don’t feel the love behind it.”) An argument ensued, which led Defendant to email her lover: “jim knows everything. it’s awful.” Email 37. During the argument, Defendant “refused to call” her lover and break off the relationship, as her husband requested, and as a result she might have “caused something terrible to happen.” Email 36.

Via Scared Monkeys Forum

Via Scared Monkeys Forum

Via Scared Monkeys Forum

More than a couple hundred emails were retrieved.  Some are posted here, a few are quite graphic, and includes some of the email exchange with the “other man” on the weeks following James’ disappearance and while the search was ongoing.

Even the other man’s concern of causing a “royal hurricane shit storm of pain” to others is an understatement.  One man is presumed dead. And life is never the same again for their children. The wife of the missing diplomat in her response to the sentencing memorandum cites the toll of constant relocation on her marriage as giving the wrong perception that the Hogans were “somehow distant or unresponsive.” The court document argues that “The correct perception, which should have been formed by those observing the Hogan family, is that they were intelligent, independent, and very adept at adjusting to difficult circumstances.”

At least one member appears to be extremely adept.  So far we have not been able to find a record of her sentencing. Our previous posts on this sad, tragic and tawdry saga are here.




James Hogan Case: Missing Diplomat’s Wife Pleads Guilty to Obstruction of Justice

Florida Woman Pleads Guilty to Obstruction of Justice in Relation to Her Husband’s Disappearance
Friday, March 30, 2012

Abby Beard Hogan, 50, pleaded guilty yesterday in the Northern District of Florida for her role in the obstruction of a multinational investigation into the disappearance of her husband, James Hogan, then an employee in the U.S. Consulate in Curacao, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Pamela Cothran Marsh for the Northern District of Florida, U.S. Department of State Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Eric J. Boswell and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office.

Abby Hogan pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary R. Jones to one count of obstruction of

Abby Hogan
(Photo from Aruba Daily)

justice. According to court documents, on the night of Sept. 24, 2009, James Hogan, an employee at the U.S. Consulate in Curacao, a Caribbean island that was part of the Netherlands Antilles, left his home on foot and subsequently disappeared.  In the early hours of Sept. 25, 2009, James Hogan called his wife and spoke for approximately three minutes.   The next day, when James Hogan failed to report to work, the U.S. government and Dutch and Antillean law enforcement launched an island-wide search and opened an investigation into Hogan’s disappearance.   On Sept. 25, 2009, a diver located James Hogan’s blood-stained clothing on a local beach.

Abby Hogan admitted that during the course of the investigation, she repeatedly provided false information to U.S. law enforcement about the time period before James Hogan’s disappearance and withheld relevant information.  Abby Hogan initially told investigators that, before his disappearance, she and her husband had an argument.   She subsequently modified that statement and claimed that there had been no argument, just a minor disagreement over her husband’s next assignment for the State Department.   Abby Hogan further told U.S. law enforcement agents that James Hogan had been in a “good mood” prior to leaving for his walk on the evening of his disappearance.   She repeatedly denied that there had been any marital problems or that her husband had been upset, depressed or suicidal in any way.   Abby Hogan further stated that she could not remember the full three-minute conversation before her husband disappeared because she was sound asleep when her husband called.   She claimed she fell back asleep after the call, and did not awake until the following morning.

According to court documents, after law enforcement interviews, between Sept. 30, 2009, and Jan. 15,

James Hogan
(Photo from ScaredMonkeys)

2010, Abby Hogan deleted more than 300 emails from her Internet email account.   These emails contained information that Abby Hogan knew was relevant to specific questions she had been asked by U.S. law enforcement.   The emails also contained information that she had either previously misrepresented or knowingly omitted during her interviews with law enforcement, including that she was engaged in an extramarital affair; the night James Hogan disappeared, the couple had argued, and he left the house angry and upset; and that she did not want law enforcement to know what had happened that evening.

Abby Hogan faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for obstruction of justice.

We have been following this case since September 2009 when FSO James Hogan was first reported missing in the Netherlands Antilles (see related posts below).  The ScaredMonkeys website has a copy of Ms. Hogan’s indictment here. The James Hogan missing flyer is still up on the US Consulate General Curacao’s website. Despite the obstruction of justice guilty plea here, we are nowhere closer to understanding what happened to Mr. Hogan over there.

Domani Spero



Related posts: (sorry about that; all links below have now been updated to

James Hogan Case: Wife of Missing Diplomat Charged with Witness Tampering, False Statements, and  Obstruction of Justice | August 26, 2011

What happened to American diplomat, James Hogan in Curacao? Dec 27, 2010

Vice Consul James Hogan: Still Missing | Aug 12, 2010

James Hogan: Now a Cold Case?| Dec 24, 2009

Vice Consul James Hogan: 1440 Hours Missing |Nov 23, 2009

James Hogan: Missing Now for 31 Days| Oct 26, 2009

US Diplomat James Hogan: 19 Days Missing| Oct 12, 2009

DNA Match in James Hogan Search |Oct 03, 2009

US Navy Joins Hogan Search in Curacao |Oct 01, 2009

US Diplomat Missing in Curacao | Sept 30, 2009