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Frequently Asked Questions Employment

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    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:

    • Modifications or adjustments to a job application process to permit an individual with a disability to be considered for a job (such as providing application forms in alternative formats like large print or Braille);
    • Modifications or adjustments necessary to enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job (such as providing sign language interpreters); and
    • Modifications or adjustments that enable employees with disabilities to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment (such as removing physical barriers in an office cafeteria).

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  • Yes, if the individual is from a different agency. However, if the person is going from one location/activity/component to another location/activity/component in the same agency, the agency would not have to clear the RPL. For purposes of the RPL, all DOD agencies are considered the same agency. DOD agencies (e.g., Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Investigative Service) and the Departments of Army, Navy, and Air Force are all considered DoD.
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  • If you believe your performance has been unfairly evaluated because of your disability, you should talk with your supervisor about his/her appraisal of your performance to resolve the matter. You may also obtain advice on how to seek redress from the employee relations office, a union official, or Office of Equal Employment Opportunity.

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  • People with disabilities who work in offices have been using service animals successfully for many years. Service animals may accompany a person with a disability to the office, cafeteria, meetings, and on travel. Since service animals are alert to the needs of their owner, it is important not to interfere or distract them while they are working. Most service animals sleep when not providing service and need to have a safe rest area of adequate size located near their owner. The person with a disability should be allowed to provide water and food rewards for their animal. Offices that are already wheelchair accessible usually have wider hallways and doorways that are accessible enough to provide the individual full access while walking with their animal.

    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.

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  • Reasonable accommodations that can be requested include, but are not limited to, the following:

      • making existing facilities accessible;
      • restructuring the job;
      • utilizing part-time or modified work schedules;
      • adjusting or modifying tests, training materials, or policies;
      • providing qualified readers and interpreters;
      • acquiring or modifying equipment; and
      • reassigning an individual to a vacant position for which the employee must be qualified.
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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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  • No, the new regulation does not provide for priority in Federal hiring. The regulation applies to excepted service appointments.
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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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  • The excepted hiring authorities referenced in question 18 create a streamlined process to hire people with disabilities. Using these excepted hiring authorities eliminates the requirement for competition which may be very time-consuming. The excepted hiring authorities may require that the disabled person have a certification from a State vocational rehabilitation agency or the Veterans Administration.

    Once again, consult your human resources office to ensure that you use the best hiring strategy for your specific vacancy.

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  •  

    When the disability and/or the need for accommodation is not obvious, the employer may ask the individual for reasonable documentation about his/her disability and functional limitations. An employer should respond expeditiously to a request for reasonable accommodation.

     

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