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Frequently Asked Questions Employment

  • It is good business to hire from a potentially underutilized source of outstanding workers. People with disabilities represent one such resource. The practice of looking to qualified people with disabilities as a hiring resource applies equally to private industry and to public sector employment. The following excerpt from Craig Gray’s article in the September 2000 issue of Executive Online illustrates this point.

    "Many businesses are learning that workers with disabilities are not only meeting expectations in the workforce, but also exceed them. Employees with disabilities are helping companies learn how to most effectively relate to customers with disabilities and their families and friends. As an added bonus, hiring employees with disabilities has provided many employers with the knowledge and experience to help lower their overall cost of time lost to temporary disabilities experienced by the rest of their staffs."

    President Bush recognized the value of full participation of people with disabilities in America’s workforce. In his New Freedom Initiative, announced in February, 2001, he stated his commitment to " tearing down the remaining barriers to equality that face Americans with disabilities" and declaring his intention to "… increase the ability of Americans with disabilities to integrate into the workforce."

    For more information on the advantages of hiring persons with disabilities, see Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations website.

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  • First, contact your human resources office and your organization's Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Manager (or equivalent). Your agency may already have established recruiting and referral relationships with organizations serving people with disabilities, such as:

    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).

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  • No, conversion to a career or career-conditional appointment is not mandatory. The hiring agency maintains the discretion to determine whether an employee is ready for placement in the permanent career workforce. The agency is not required to convert an individual on the 5 CFR 213.3102(u) appointing authority; however, the intent of Executive Orders 12125 and 13124 concerning employment of people with intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities and psychiatric disabilities is to permit these individuals to obtain "civil service competitive status." Civil service competitive status is obtained through conversion to the competitive service, rather than remaining in the excepted service.
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  • Once any necessary accommodations are made to help the employee with a disability function on the job, no other special consideration need be made. As with a non-disabled employee, an employee with a disability must be evaluated according to the items in his/her annual performance plan or agreement. As with any other employee, direct and honest feedback aimed at improving performance is always appropriate. For more information on employee performance management see OPM's Performance Management Technical Center.
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  • OPM is changing the procedures in support of the President's "New Freedom Initiative" introduced in 2001, which encourages Federal agencies to consider employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The regulation improves the Federal Government's ability to hire persons with these disabilities. It is designed to remove possible barriers and increase employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.
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  • Employers have found that people with disabilities and people without disabilities are about the same in terms of attendance and job performance. Perhaps the longest recurring study of employment issues concerning people with disabilities was done by DuPont, a private corporation. For over 35 years, this DuPont study has shown that employees with disabilities are equivalent to other DuPont employees in job performance, attendance and safety.
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  •  

    In addition to competing for a position by applying via the link on a USAJOBS vacancy announcement, people with disabilities who are eligible for the Schedule A hiring authority may use the non-competitive hiring process to apply directly to agencies’ Selective Placement Program Coordinators (SPPC’s). SPPC’s may use this hiring authority to streamline the appointment of people with disabilities.

     

    If you are interested in being considered under this special hiring authority, please provide the agency’s SPPC your "Proof of Disability" letter stating that you have a severe disability. You can get this letter from your doctor, a licensed medical professional, a licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist or any Federal, state or local agency that issues or provides disability benefits.

    Certain veterans may also be considered under special hiring programs for veterans with disability ratings of 30% or more. Department of Veterans Affairs vocational rehabilitation counselors should be able to provide additional information about this process.

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  • 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.

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  • Yes.
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  • The date the regulation goes into effect is 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
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