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- What is Reasonable Accommodation?
- Who Can Request a Reasonable Accommodation?
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A. Modifications or adjustments to a job application process that enable a qualified applicant with a disability to be considered for the position such qualified applicant desires; or
B. Modification or adjustments to the work environment, or to the manner or circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, that enable an individual with a disability who is qualified to perform the essential functions of that position; or
C. Modifications or adjustments that enable an agency’s employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by its other similarly situated employees without disabilities.
An applicant for employment may request an RA, either orally or in writing, from any EPA employee authorized to interact with the applicant in the application process, the National Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator, or the Local Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator.
An employee, or an individual acting on behalf of the employee, may request an RA either orally or in writing, from his/her supervisor, another supervisor in his/her immediate chain of command, or the Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator in the office. When an RA request is made by a third party on behalf of an individual, the Agency official processing the request should confirm the individual's authority to represent the employee with a disability.
Full and open communication is a critical component of the accommodation process, and helps to ensure that there is a full exchange of relevant information. Ongoing, even extensive, communication between the decision-maker and/or the Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator and the applicant or employee is especially important when the specific limitation, problem, or obstacle is unclear.
The timing for resolution of requests involving facility access or modifications to the building can be difficult to determine because of necessary coordination with other federal agencies. All facility access requests will be handled as promptly as possible, and the RAC should update the person making the request every 10 work days until a determination is made.
When requests involving the essential job functions do not require supporting medical information, and no extenuating circumstances apply, the supervisor should determine whether the Agency will provide a reasonable accommodation and notify the employee within 10 working days from receiving the initial request.
May be made by an employee, an applicant for employment or an individual acting on behalf of the employee or applicant, either orally or in writing.
Within 5 business days of initial request
EPA official works interactively with the employee to complete the "Employee Confirmation of Request for RA" form (Appendix B), and forwards a copy to the LORAC, who forwards it to the NRAC, and the employee.
Within 10 business days, of initial request
D-M requests medical information, if necessary, in writing from the Employee.
Within 15 business days of initial request or within 5 business days after receipt of requested medical information
Agency D-M makes a determination to approve or deny the request. If the RA request is approved, the D-M completes an "RA Information Reporting" form (Appendix D). If the request is denied, the D-M completes a "Final RA Decision" form (Appendix F). In each case a copy of the completed form is forwarded to the NRAC and the employee. If the supervisor is not the D-M, s/he should be notified of the determination to approve or deny a requested RA, and provided appropriate information regarding the employee's RA in terms of the employee's functional limitations, but not any other specific information regarding the nature of the employee's disability.
Within 10 business days of approval
Management funds the RA request or grants/implements the accommodation. If the funded item has not arrived or cannot be provided within the ten (10) business days, management will provide !effective interim/temporary accommodations expeditiously until the RA is implemented, and will provide the employee with a status update every ten (10) days.
The following links exit the site Exit
- Sign Language Interpreting Services
- Office of Personnel Management – Reasonable Accommodation
- The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues to managers and employees.
- The Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP); a program of the Department of Defense, provides assistive technology and services to people with disabilities. Federal managers, supervisors, IT professionals, and Wounded Service Members. CAP provides necessary accommodations FREE OF CHARGE to federal agencies.
- Q1: What exactly is reasonable accommodation?
- Q2: What does reasonable mean?
- Q3: Who is eligible for reasonable accommodation?
- Q4: Who is disabled under the rehabilitation act?
- Q5: What are major life activities?
- Q6: What does substantially limits mean?
- Q7: Are specific medical impairments included as disabling?
- Q8: Does EPA have more than one set of reasonable accommodation procedures?
- Q9: Who coordinates the reasonable accommodation policy and procedures?
- Q10: Must all reasonable accommodation requests be made in writing?
- Q11: How are reasonable accommodation requests processed?
- Q12: Who is authorized to approve or deny a request?
- Q13: Are there specific time limits for granting or denying a reasonable accommodation request?
- Q14: When may EPA Request Medical Documentation?
- Q15: When necessary, who receives and reviews medical documentation to determine its sufficiency?
- Q16: When may EPA not request medical documentation?
- Q17: Must the D-M provide the accommodation requested by the employee?
- Q18: Can working from home be considered a reasonable accommodation?
- Q19: How frequently may someone with a disability work at home as a reasonable accommodation?
- Q20: May a D-M withdraw a telework arrangement or a modified schedule provided as a reasonable accommodation because the employee is given an unsatisfactory performance rating?
- Q21: What constitutes 'undue hardship'?
- Q22: When is reassignment considered as a reasonable accommodation?
- Q23: Is EPA required to inform an individual of the decision made regarding their reasonable accommodation request?
- Q24: If an employee's disability causes violation of a conduct rule, may management discipline the employee?
- Q25: What should a supervisor do if an employee requests an accommodation for the first time in response to counseling or a low performance rating?
- Q26: Are agencies required to track reasonable accommodation requests?
- Q27: Are there any resources to contact regarding reasonable accommodation?
- Q28: What is the computer electronic accommodation program (CAP)?
- Q29: What do I do if there is no money set aside in my budget to purchase items for reasonable accommodation?
- Q30: Must reasonable accommodation requests be made at a specific time?
- Q31: What do I do when I don't know what to do?
- Q32: Is EPA required to inform an individual of the decision made regarding their reasonable accommodation request?
A3 - ONLY applicants or employees who are disabled in accordance with Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 amended, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) or, EPA Policy and Procedures for Reasonable Accommodation, are eligible for reasonable accommodation consideration. This includes an individual with a disability who is qualified and can perform the essential functions of the current job or one they desire. To be qualified, the individual with a disability must be able to perform the essential functions of the current job or one they desire, either with or without a reasonable accommodation.
- An impairment need not prevent, significantly or severely restrict, the individual from performing a major life activity to be considered substantially limiting;
- The term substantially limits should be construed broadly in favor of expansive coverage;
- Requires an individualized assessment;
- The determination of disability should not require extensive analysis;
- Usually, it will not require scientific, medical, or statistical evidence, but such evidence may be used if appropriate;
An individual need only be substantially limited, or have a record of a substantial limitation, in one major life activity to be covered under the first or second prong of the definition of disability.
Q20 - MAY A D-M WITHDRAW A TELEWORK ARRANGEMENT OR A MODIFIED SCHEDULE PROVIDED AS A REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION BECAUSE THE EMPLOYEE IS GIVEN AN UNSATISFACTORY PERFORMANCE RATING?
- The nature of the accommodation needed;
- The overall financial resources of EPA (not just the resources of the office, division, branch or region);
- The impact of the accommodation on the operation of the office, division, branch, etc.
Q23- IS EPA REQUIRED TO INFORM AN INDIVIDUAL OF THE DECISION MADE REGARDING THEIR REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION REQUEST?
A23 - Yes. It is required when a decision regarding the individual’s request is made, that the applicant or employee be informed in writing by the D-M. The denial of reasonable accommodation must include the specific reason why the request was denied and inform the person of their rights to appeal as well as other available avenues of redress. Standard language regarding this notification is included in the EPA Reasonable Accommodation Procedures.
Q24 - IF AN EMPLOYEE'S DISABILITY CAUSES VIOLATION OF A CONDUCT RULE, MAY MANAGEMENT DISCIPLINE THE EMPLOYEE?
A24 - Yes. If the conduct rule is job-related and consistent with business necessity and other employees are held to the same standard. The Rehabilitation Act does not protect employees from the consequences of violating conduct requirements even where the conduct is caused by the disability. If an employee states that the disability is the cause of the conduct problem or requests reasonable accommodation, management may still discipline the employee for the misconduct. If the appropriate disciplinary action is termination, the Rehabilitation Act would not require further discussion about the employee’s disability or request for reasonable accommodation. If the discipline is something less than termination, management may ask about the disability's relevance to the misconduct, or if the employee thinks there is an accommodation that could help him/her avoid future misconduct. If an accommodation is requested, management should begin an interactive process to determine whether one is needed to correct a conduct problem, and, if so, what accommodation would be effective.
Q25 - WHAT SHOULD A SUPERVISOR DO IF AN EMPLOYEE REQUESTS AN ACCOMMODATION FOR THE FIRST TIME IN RESPONSE TO COUNSELING OR A LOW PERFORMANCE RATING?
A25 - The supervisor may proceed with the discussion or evaluation but also should begin the interactive process by discussing with the employee how the disability may be affecting performance and what accommodation the employee believes may help to improve the performance. The supervisor cannot refuse to discuss the request or fail to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee with a disability who is as punishment for the performance problem If a reasonable accommodation is needed to assist an employee with a disability in addressing a performance problem and the D-M refuses to provide one, absent undue hardship, the D-M has violated the Rehabilitation Act and the Reasonable Accommodation Procedures.
A26 - Yes. The EPA Reasonable Accommodation Procedures outline the specific information that must be tracked in accordance with EEOC guidelines. This information is tracked by the NRAC.
A27 - Both sets of Reasonable Accommodation Procedures lists resources managers, supervisors and employees can utilize to find suggestions and recommendations related to specific accommodations for an individual. It is strongly advised that either the LORAC or NRAC also be utilized as such a resource.
A28 - Established by the Federal government, the Computer/Electronic Accommodation Program (CAP) is a centrally funded program that provides assistive technology (AT) and reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities. CAP's mission is to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to information and employment opportunities in the Department of Defense (DOD) and throughout the Federal government. The program is managed by the DOD. EPA is a partner in this program and is therefore eligible to receive assistive technology devices and services for employees with disabilities AT NO COST to EPA. That's right FREE!! Contact the NRAC or your LORAC for more information about this program.
Q29 - WHAT DO I DO IF THERE IS NO MONEY SET ASIDE IN MY BUDGET TO PURCHASE ITEMS FOR REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION?
A29 - Some regions have decided to have a centralized fund to pay for reasonable accommodation. Both reasonable accommodation procedures describe what is required if the accommodation being requested cannot be funded by the employee’s office. Research done by the Job Accommodation Network and the Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, indicates that the large majority of all reasonable accommodations cost less than $1,000. It is virtually impossible to use cost as the reason not to provide an accommodation that is effective. EEOC guidelines clearly state that the overall budget of an agency/department would be considered, not just the operating budget of a particular office, region, unit, etc.
A30 - No. Under the Rehabilitation Act, the duty to provide reasonable accommodation is an ongoing one. Thus, an individual with a disability must be permitted to request accommodation whenever he/she chooses or be allowed to modify a current reasonable accommodation, when necessary. That request will then trigger EPA's obligation to start the process identified in the procedures.
A31 - Again, each region and the labs in Cincinnati and RTP have designated LORACs to assist management and employees with this process. The National and Assistant Reasonable Accommodation Coordinators assist all headquarter employees and the other labs with the reasonable accommodation process. For more information regarding the reasonable accommodation program, please contact Amanda Sweda, National Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator at (202) 564-0678 or Sweda.Amanda@epa.gov or Kristin Tropp, Assistant National Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator at (202) 559-0006 or Tropp.Kristin@epa.gov.
Q32- IS EPA REQUIRED TO INFORM AN INDIVIDUAL OF THE DECISION MADE REGARDING THEIR REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION REQUEST?
A32 - Yes. It is required when a decision regarding the individual's request is made, that the applicant or employee be informed in writing by the D-M. The denial of reasonable accommodation must include the specific reason why the request was denied and inform the person of their rights to appeal as well as other available avenues of redress. Standard language regarding this notification is included in the EPA Reasonable Accommodation Procedures.
|National Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator
|Assistant National Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator