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Disability Employment Reference Materials

 

Job Seekers

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Laws and Executive Orders

  • 5 U.S.C. Sections 3312 and 3318 require any disqualification, non-selection, or passing over of a veterans' preference eligible applicant for medical reasons be approved by the Office of Personnel Management before the position can be filled. This includes an agency medical disqualification of a 30 percent or more disabled veteran for assignment to another position in a reduction in force. A non-preference eligible who is disqualified for medical reasons also has the right to a higher level review of the determination in the agency as stated in OPM regulation Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 5, Section 339.306.
  • The Architectural Barriers Act, enforced by the Access Board, requires buildings and facilities be accessible to people with disabilities if they were constructed or altered by, or on behalf of, the Federal Government or with certain Federal funds, or leased for occupancy by Federal agencies, after 1968. When individuals with disabilities are unable to use a building because there are no accessible parking spaces, no curb ramps, no ramps at the entrance, no accessible rest rooms, no accessible drinking fountains, no raised lettering on signs, or other barriers exist, they may file a complaint with the Access Board.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 covers employers in the private sector and state and local governments. The substantive employment standards of the ADA, which are applicable to the Federal Government through the Rehabilitation Act, can be found at 42 U.S.C. Section 12111, et seq. and 42 U.S.C. Sections 12201, 12202, 12203, 12204 and 12210.
  • Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 - The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) identifies prohibited personnel practices. The CSRA prohibits any employee who has authority to take certain personnel actions from discriminating for or against employees or applicants for employment on protected bases, including disability. The prohibited personnel practices and the merit system principles for Federal personnel management are codified at 5 U.S.C. 2302.
  • Executive Order 13078, Increasing Employment of Adults with Disabilities, established the National Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities (now referred to as the Presidential Task Force). The purpose of the Task Force is to create a coordinated and aggressive national policy to bring adults with disabilities into gainful employment at a rate as close as possible to the general adult population. The Executive Order included actions to ensure that the Federal Government is a model employer of adults with disabilities.
  • Executive Order 13163, Increasing the Opportunity for Individuals with Disabilities to be Employed in the Federal Government, promotes an increase in the opportunities for individuals with disabilities to be employed at all levels and occupations of the Federal Government. Agencies shall use available hiring authorities; expand outreach efforts; and increase their efforts to accommodate individuals with disabilities. This website incorporates OPM's guidance on the provisions of this Executive Order.
  • Executive Order 13548 Increasing Federal Employment of People with Disabilities
  • U.S. Department of Justice: ADA Home Page - Information about the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • U.S. Department of Justice: "A Guide to Disability Rights Laws" - Describes laws affecting people with disabilities.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor's Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities' created the "Americans with Disabilities Act: Re-charting the Course" reports for the President.
  • Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. Section 791), prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in Federal employment and requires the Federal Government to engage in affirmative action for people with disabilities. The law does the following:
    • Requires Federal employers not to discriminate against qualified job applicants or employees with disabilities. Persons with disabilities should be employed in all grade levels and occupational series commensurate with their qualifications. Federal employers should ensure that their policies do not unnecessarily exclude or limit persons with disabilities because of a job's structure or because of architectural, transportation, communication, procedural, or attitudinal barriers.
    • Requires employers to provide "reasonable accommodations" to applicants and employees with disabilities unless doing so would cause undue hardship to the employers. Such accommodations may involve, for example, restructuring the job, reassignment, modifying work schedules, adjusting or modifying examinations, providing readers or interpreters, and acquiring or modifying equipment and/or facilities (including the use of adaptive technology such as voice recognition software).
    • Prohibits selection criteria and standards that tend to screen out people with disabilities, unless such procedures have been determined through a job analysis to be job-related and consistent with business necessity, and an appropriate individualized assessment indicates the job applicant cannot perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation.
    • Requires Federal agencies to develop affirmative action programs for hiring, placement, and advancement of persons with disabilities. Affirmative action must be an integral part of ongoing agency personnel management programs.
  • The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 - This law makes it illegal to discriminate against a qualified person with a disability in the federal government. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business.
  • Section508.gov - "Opening Doors to IT." This site provides resources for understanding and implementing the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
  • Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. Section 794d), requires Federal agencies to procure, use, maintain, and develop accessible electronic and information technology, unless doing so imposes an undue burden. National security systems are exempt. Federal agencies were required to comply with standards promulgated by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (the Access Board) that took effect on August 7, 2000. Agencies must biannually evaluate their compliance with Section 508 and must report the results of these self-evaluations to the Attorney General.
  • The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 - This law is similar to the Rehab Act.

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Federal Agencies

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Laws and Executive Orders

  • 5 U.S.C. Sections 3312 and 3318 require any disqualification, non-selection, or passing over of a veterans' preference eligible applicant for medical reasons be approved by the Office of Personnel Management before the position can be filled. This includes an agency medical disqualification of a 30 percent or more disabled veteran for assignment to another position in a reduction in force. A non-preference eligible who is disqualified for medical reasons also has the right to a higher level review of the determination in the agency as stated in OPM regulation Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 5, Section 339.306.
  • The Architectural Barriers Act, enforced by the Access Board, requires buildings and facilities be accessible to people with disabilities if they were constructed or altered by, or on behalf of, the Federal Government or with certain Federal funds, or leased for occupancy by Federal agencies, after 1968. When individuals with disabilities are unable to use a building because there are no accessible parking spaces, no curb ramps, no ramps at the entrance, no accessible rest rooms, no accessible drinking fountains, no raised lettering on signs, or other barriers exist, they may file a complaint with the Access Board.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 covers employers in the private sector and state and local governments. The substantive employment standards of the ADA, which are applicable to the Federal Government through the Rehabilitation Act, can be found at 42 U.S.C. Section 12111, et seq. and 42 U.S.C. Sections 12201, 12202, 12203, 12204 and 12210.
  • Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 - The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) identifies prohibited personnel practices. The CSRA prohibits any employee who has authority to take certain personnel actions from discriminating for or against employees or applicants for employment on protected bases, including disability. The prohibited personnel practices and the merit system principles for Federal personnel management are codified at 5 U.S.C. 2302.
  • Executive Order 13078, Increasing Employment of Adults with Disabilities, established the National Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities (now referred to as the Presidential Task Force). The purpose of the Task Force is to create a coordinated and aggressive national policy to bring adults with disabilities into gainful employment at a rate as close as possible to the general adult population. The Executive Order included actions to ensure that the Federal Government is a model employer of adults with disabilities.
  • Executive Order 13163, Increasing the Opportunity for Individuals with Disabilities to be Employed in the Federal Government, promotes an increase in the opportunities for individuals with disabilities to be employed at all levels and occupations of the Federal Government. Agencies shall use available hiring authorities; expand outreach efforts; and increase their efforts to accommodate individuals with disabilities. This website incorporates OPM's guidance on the provisions of this Executive Order.
  • Executive Order 13548 Increasing Federal Employment of People with Disabilities
  • Section508.gov - "Opening Doors to IT." This site provides resources for understanding and implementing the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
  • U.S. Department of Justice: ADA Home Page - Information about the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • U.S. Department of Justice: "A Guide to Disability Rights Laws" - Describes laws affecting people with disabilities.
  • The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 - This law makes it illegal to discriminate against a qualified person with a disability in the federal government. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business.
  • The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 - This law is similar to the Rehab Act.

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Training and Guidance

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Additional Resources

  • Browse FAQs for Supervisors and Managers
  • Integrating People with Disabilities into the Workforce
  • Review OPM training for supervisors and managers
  • Success Stories about Federal employment of people with disabilities.
  • Learn about tracking results.
  • The Veterans Guide explains the hiring authorities and preference for veterans, including veterans with disabilities, in Federal civil service employment. The guide helps Federal managers and personnel specialists to ensure that veterans are provided with the rights and benefits to which they are entitled.

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Glossary

Individual with a Disability
A person who (1) has a physical impairment or mental impairment (psychiatric disability) that substantially limits one or more of such person's major life activities; (2) has a record of such impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. This definition is provided by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. 701 et. seq., as amended.
Major Life Activities
Include but are not limited to seeing, hearing, walking, breathing, working, reading, sleeping, and more.
Reasonable Accommodation
Any change made in the work environment or the way things are usually done that insures Equal Employment Opportunity for applicants and employees with disabilities. For applicants, accommodations are made to provide full access to the application process. For employees, accommodations are made to enable the individual to successfully perform the essential functions of the position. In addition, accommodations are made for employees to insure that they have full access to the benefits and privileges of employment.
Standard Form (SF) 256
This form is required when using Schedule A to appoint people with disabilities non-competitively to Federal jobs to identify, for data collection purposes only, the individual's particular disability. Also, current Federal employees may use this form at anytime during their employment to self-identify as having a disability. Agencies should use SF-256 to resurvey their workforce to determine how many people with disabilities are on board. Any information that is captured on this form is Privacy Act protected. This form is used to capture data on the disability demographics of Federal agencies so that such agencies may conduct analysis to determine how well or poorly they are achieving their disability hiring goals. SF-256 defines disability, targeted disability, and lists the various conditions that are considered disabilities/targeted disabilities. OPM recently updated this form to better reflect current disability language.
Targeted Disabilities
These are the most severe disabilities including blindness, deafness, partial and full paralysis, missing extremities, dwarfism, epilepsy, intellectual disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities. Individuals with these disabilities typically have the greatest difficulty finding employment. As a matter of policy, the federal government has a special emphasis on recruiting, hirng, and retaining people with targeted disabilities.
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