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Frequently Asked Questions Employment

Disability Employment

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  • Executive Order 13163, which became effective in July, 2000, calls for Federal agencies to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities employed at all levels and occupations in the Federal Government. It focuses attention on the need to hire and advance qualified individuals with disabilities within the Federal Government. Executive Order 13163 also requires each Federal agency to have a plan as to how it will increase the opportunities for individuals to be hired in the agency.
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  •   An agency is not required to make an accommodation if it can demonstrate that providing the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on its everyday operations. An undue hardship is an action that requires "significant difficulty or expense" in relation to:  
    • overall size of the agency's program with respect to the number of employees, number and type of facilities and size of budget;
    • type of operation, including the composition and structure of the agency's workforce; and
    • nature and cost of the accommodation.
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  • A major life activity is a function that the average person in the general population can perform with little or no difficulty. Major life activities include activities such as caring for oneself, seeing, hearing, walking, breathing, speaking, learning, sitting, standing, lifting, reaching, and working.
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  • An individual who is granted a reasonable accommodation might not receive the exact form of accommodation requested. The deciding official has the discretion to identify reasonable and appropriate alternatives.
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  • An individual can make either an oral or written request for accommodation. To request an accommodation, an individual may use "plain English" and does not need to mention the Rehabilitation Act or "reasonable accommodation." A family member, friend, health professional, or other representative may request a reasonable accommodation on behalf of an individual with a disability. An individual with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application process or during the period of employment. The request for a reasonable accommodation must be made for a reason related to a medical condition.
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  • No, in a case of a 5 CFR 213.3102(u) appointee transferring from one agency to another, time previously spent under a Schedule A appointment counts toward the completion of the 2 year period if the person is reappointed without a break in service.
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  • An agency is not required to make an accommodation if it can demonstrate that providing the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on its everyday operations. An undue hardship is an action that requires "significant difficulty or expense" in relation to:
    • overall size of the agency's program with respect to the number of employees, number and type of facilities and size of budget;
    • type of operation, including the composition and structure of the agency's workforce; and
    • nature and cost of the accommodation.
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  • Generally the agency (employer) must bear the costs of accommodations. Some agencies are organized to provide central funding of the costs of accommodations. Central funding assures that funding is available for accommodations. Check with your personnel office, disability coordinator, or EEO office or your agency’s reasonable accommodation policy to see how funding for accommodations is handled in your agency. Also, the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) at the Department of Defense may pay the cost of any technology-related accommodations for covered agencies. Contact the CAP for more information. If a client of the State vocational rehabilitation program is being hired, the State agency may pay for those accommodations that the individual would be able to use at any job site (e.g., a Braille notetaking device, an assistive listening device for use with the telephone). The State agency generally does not pay for accommodations to a work station or worksite that must then remain at that location after the individual leaves. If a client of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is being hired, the VA may pay the cost of accommodations.
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  • As with all interviews, the interviewer should have a full understanding of the job requirements before interviewing any candidate. The interviewer should be familiar with his/her agency’s own policies and practices. The interview must focus on abilities and how the applicant will accomplish tasks and meet the goals and objectives of the position. Ask all applicants the same questions including whether or not they have any needs that will require reasonable accommodation. Do not ask specific questions about an applicant's disability even if the disability is obvious. Some applicants will voluntarily explain how their disability relates to their ability to do the job, but others will not. Even if the applicant does discuss a disability, do not ask any questions about the disability that are not relevant to the actual position. It is important not to speculate about how you would perform a specific job if you had the applicant’s disability. For more tips on interviewing people with disabilities, visit the Mainstream website and the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) website.
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