ROCKLAND — The Maine Human Rights Commission ruled earlier this year that the operator of the Rankin Center and its executive director discriminated against a resident.

There are negotiations ongoing between the parties to settle the claim in lieu of going to court.

The commission voted 4-0 at its June 14 meeting to find there were reasonable grounds to believe that Summer Street Housing Preservation Inc., MCH Inc., MCH Housing Inc. and Elizabeth Schuh discriminated against resident Kevin Osgood.

Osgood filed his complaint with the commission Feb. 5, 2021.

According to the investigative report filed by investigator Kit Thomson Crossman, in April 2020, Osgood had an encounter with a worker while sitting on a sofa in a common area. Osgood and the worker had a disagreement about whether Osgood was allowed to be in the common area, given the center’s COVID-19 policy. This encounter exacerbated Osgood’s mental health symptoms, according to the investigative report.

On May 12, 2020, Osgood’s attorney sent a letter to Schuh. The letter stated, “… the Firm writes to you requesting accommodation for Kevin’s condition… We therefore ask that only your building managers, except in bonified [sic.] emergencies, approach Kevin to inform him of all policies, not just those in place because of the pandemic. When they approach Kevin, do so with respect and give him the underlying reason for the policy,” the report states.

On June 5, 2020, Schuh responded to the attorney’s letter. Her response did not mention the request for reasonable accommodation, nor did it give any indication she considered that request and granted or denied it, according to the investigator.

On June 17, 2020, the attorney responded with disappointment to Schuh’s letter. He again stated he was requesting an accommodation on behalf of Osgood. Osgood received no further communication from center officials as to his accommodation request. Schuh stated she granted his accommodation, but did not believe she told him it was granted, the report states.

Respondents provided two policy change memos, one dated Dec. 3, 2020, and one dated Feb. 4, 2021, which were delivered to residents at the Rankin Center in their mailboxes, hung on bulletin boards and in the elevator.

However, Osgood never received notice that the center granted his request. Part of Osgood’s disability includes a low tolerance for conflict, and center officials were aware of this, the report states. Because he received no response, Osgood was worried about another interaction like the one he had with the worker.

“Respondents’ failure to provide a substantive response to Complainant’s request effectively denied the request by denying Complainant the peace of mind that would have come with an affirmative, explicit communication from Respondents. Discrimination on the basis of disability is found,” the report concluded.