Reasonable Accommodations

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, in conjunction with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), requires federal agencies to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified Individuals or applicants with disabilities, unless to do so would cause undue hardship.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states, “A reasonable accommodation is any change in the workplace or the way things are customarily done that provides an equal employment opportunity to an individual with a disability. While there are some things that are not considered reasonable accommodations (e.g., removal of an essential job function or personal use items such as a hearing aid that is needed on and off the job), reasonable accommodations can cover most things that enable an individual to apply for a job, perform a job, or have equal access to the workplace and employee benefits such as kitchens, parking lots, and office events.” Some common types of accommodations include, but are not limited to sit-to-stand desk, telework, assistive technology and software.”

Disabilities Protected Under Regulations

Type of Disability

Examples

Physical or Mental Condition that substantially limits a major life activity

Impairments with walking, talking, seeing, hearing, or learning

History of a disability

Cancer in remission

A physical or mental impairment that is not transitory-lasting or expected to last six months or less) and minor (even if he does not have such an impairment)

Cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, bipolar/manic depression


 

If you believe you need an accommodation, you should do the following:

  1. Initiate a Reasonable Accommodation request by speaking with, or submitting a request in writing, to your immediate supervisor, or the Disability Program Manager. If you cannot make the request, a family member, friend or health professional, or representative may also request a reasonable accommodation on your behalf. The process of requesting and receiving a reasonable accommodation is anticipated to be completed within 30 calendars, unless medical documentation is necessary.
  2. Once your request has been received, you must engage in the interactive process with your immediate supervisor to determine the appropriate reasonable accommodation for your disability. Although the interactive discussion will begin within five calendar days of receiving the request, this discussion should continue throughout the reasonable accommodation process.
  3. Your immediate supervisor will inform you of the agreed upon reasonable accommodation, if approved, and when and how it will be implemented.
Regulations

Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Prohibits discrimination based on disability and encourages employment within the federal sector.

Final Rule on Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Engages in affirmative action for people with disabilities.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Prohibits discrimination and encourages employment for individuals who have disabilities within both the private and public sector.

American with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008

Expanded the definition of what was covered as a disability to allow more people to be covered under the law.

Civil Rights Act of 1964

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability

29 Code of Federal Regulation 1614

Federal implementation of the Civil Rights Act

Executive Order 13548

Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities

Accommodation Resources
  • CAP - The Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) provides assistive technology and services to people with disabilities throughout the federal government FREE OF CHARGE! (Note: Before contacting CAP directly, check with the Disability and Diversity Program Manager or Selective Placement Program Coordinator, as they may already have a relationship with CAP.)
  • JAN - The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the most comprehensive resource for job accommodations available and is a terrific and easy-to-use resource. This free consulting service is designed to increase the employability of people with disabilities. JAN provides individualized worksite accommodation solutions, as well as information on job accommodations and related subjects for employers and people with disabilities.