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Yes. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, requires Federal agencies to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees or applicants with disabilities, unless doing so would cause an undue hardship to the agency. An undue hardship means that a specific accommodation would require significant difficulty or expense. A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that allows an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform the essential job functions, or enjoy equal access to benefits available to other individuals in the workplace.
Federal agencies are required by Executive Order 13164 (EO 12164) to develop written procedures for providing reasonable accommodation. You may gain greater understanding of your specific situation and alternatives available to you by reading the agency's reasonable accommodation procedures. Different agencies place responsibility for reasonable accommodation in different offices. Contact the agency's personnel office, reasonable accommodation coordinator, civil rights office, selective
placement program coordinator, disability program manager or EEO office to request a copy of an agency's written procedures.
Federal agencies may work directly with these organizations to refer candidates for employment opportunities using the excepted appointing authorities for hiring people with disabilities. Your agency's Plan for Employment of People with Disabilities may also include good sources of qualified candidates with disabilities for your vacancies. In addition, individuals with disabilities may always apply for vacancy announcements that are open to the general public.
The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) for college students with disabilities is a great source of potential candidates when considering college students with disabilities for employment. Employers can access the WRP candidate database by contacting their agency's WRP representative (usually in the human resources office).
All denials of reasonable accommodation requests must be made in writing, and the decision must specify the reason for the denial. The denial should be written in plain language, clearly stating the specific reasons for the denial. After denying a request, the individual must be informed that s/he has the right to file an EEO complaint, has the right to pursue any applicable union grievance and informal alternative dispute resolution.
Individuals with disabilities who use service animals must be allowed time to attend to their basic needs. It is not the responsibility of office colleagues to provide care for the service animal. For more information, see People with Disabilities in the Federal Government: An Employment Guide located on this website.
The term "reasonable accommodation" is a term of art that Congress defined only through examples of changes or modifications to be made, or items to be provided, to a qualified individual with a disability. A reasonable accommodation is adapting the job site or job functions
for a qualified person with a disability to enable an individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. This does not mean that the employer must lower the standards of work for the position or change the job requirements. There are three categories of reasonable accommodations:
Reasonable accommodations that can be requested include, but are not limited to, the following:
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