The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Individual makes request for
reasonable accommodation (See pages 3-4):
- An employee can request
reasonable accommodation from his/her supervisor; another supervisor or
manager in the immediate chain of command; the Office Director; or the
Disability Program Manager.
- An applicant can request
reasonable accommodation from any EEOC employee with whom s/he has
contact in connection with the application process.
- For record keeping purposes, individuals
must follow up an oral request either by completing a "Confirmation
of Request" form or by confirming their request in writing
(including by e-mail) to the Disability Program Manager.
- The staff member receiving the request must
determine who will be responsible for handling it and forward it, if
necessary, to that person as soon as possible but in no more than
five business days. The individuals designated to
process requests for reasonable accommodation are: a Personnel
Management Specialist (for applicants); an employee's supervisor; the Office
Director; or the Disability Program Manager. (See pages 4-6).
- Time frames for processing requests
and providing reasonable accommodation (See pages 10-13):
- If a request can be processed by the
employee's supervisor or Office Director, no supporting medical
information is required, and no extenuating circumstances apply, the
request shall be processed and the accommodation, if approved, provided
in no more than 15 business days from the date the
supervisor or Office Director receives the request, and sooner, if
- If the Disability Program Manager is the
decision maker, s/he will make a decision on the request and provide the
accommodation within 20 business days from the date the
request was initially made.
- If medical documentation is required, time
frames may be longer. (See pages 11 and 12).
- Certain "extenuating
circumstances" may delay providing reasonable accommodations within
the time frames listed above. (See pages 12-13).
- Denial of reasonable accommodation
must be recorded on the attached "Denial of Request" form. The
form explains about the individual's right to ask for reconsideration, first
from the decision maker and then from another designated individual. (See
- The decision maker must complete the attached "Information
Reporting" form within ten business days of
the decision and give it to the Disability Program Manager. (See pages
EEOC's policy is to fully comply with the
reasonable accommodation requirements of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Under
the law, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to qualified
employees or applicants with disabilities, unless to do so would cause undue
hardship. EEOC is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to its
employees and applicants for employment in order to assure that individuals with
disabilities enjoy full access to equal employment opportunity at EEOC. EEOC
provides reasonable accommodations:
- when an applicant with a disability needs an
accommodation in order to be considered for a job;
- when an employee with a disability needs an
accommodation to enable him or her to perform the essential functions of the
job or to gain access to the workplace; and
- when an employee with a disability needs an
accommodation to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment.
EEOC will process requests for reasonable
accommodation and, where appropriate, provide reasonable accommodations in a
prompt, fair and efficient manner.
In order to effectuate this policy, EEOC has
dedicated centralized funding resources to pay for reasonable accommodations. In
addition, EEOC has designated a Disability Program Manager who has direct
administrative responsibility for the program, agency-wide.
Employees may refer to the Commission's "Enforcement
Guidance on Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship Under the Americans with
Disabilities Act" (available on EEOC's internet and intranet sites)
for additional information on the rights and responsibilities of applicants and
employees requesting reasonable accommodation, and the responsibilities of EEOC
personnel involved in responding to those requests.
As a model employer, EEOC may take steps, as
appropriate, beyond those required by the reasonable accommodation process.
DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS
- Reasonable Accommodation: Any
change in the work environment or in the way things are customarily done
that would enable a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy equal
- Qualified Individual with a
Disability: An individual with a disability is qualified if (1)
s/he satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education, and other
job-related requirements of the position; and (2) s/he can perform the
essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable
- Essential Functions: Those
job duties that are so fundamental to the position that the individual holds
or desires that s/he cannot do the job without performing them. A function
can be "essential" if, among other things: the position exists
specifically to perform that function; there are a limited number of other
employees who could perform the function; or the function is specialized and
the individual is hired based on his/her ability to perform it.
Determination of the essential functions of a position must be done on a
case-by-case basis so that it reflects the job as actually performed, and
not simply the components of a generic position description.
- Reassignment: Reassignment is
a form of reasonable accommodation that, absent undue hardship, is provided
to employees (not applicants) who, because of a disability, can no longer
perform the essential functions of their job, with or without reasonable
accommodation. Reassignments are made only to vacant positions and to
employees who are qualified for the new position. If the employee is
qualified for the position, s/he will be reassigned to the job and will not
have to compete for it.
- Undue Hardship: If a specific
type of reasonable accommodation causes significant difficulty or
expense, then EEOC does not have to provide that particular
accommodation. Determination of undue hardship is always made on a
case-by-case basis, considering factors that include the nature and cost of
the reasonable accommodation needed and the impact of the reasonable
accommodation on the operations of the agency.
A request for reasonable accommodation is a
statement that an individual needs an adjustment or change at work, in the
application process, or in a benefit or privilege of employment for a reason
related to a medical condition. The reasonable accommodation process
begins as soon as the request for accommodation is made.
A request does not have to use any special words,
such as "reasonable accommodation," "disability," or
"Rehabilitation Act." An individual with a disability may request a
reasonable accommodation whenever s/he chooses, even if s/he has not previously
disclosed the existence of a disability. Any EEOC employee or applicant
may consult the Disability Program Manager(1) for
further information or assistance in connection with requesting or
processing a request for reasonable accommodation.
- An employee may request a
reasonable accommodation orally or in writing from his/her
supervisor; another supervisor or manager in his/her immediate chain of
command; the Office Director; or the Disability Program Manager.
- An applicant may request a
reasonable accommodation orally or in writing from any EEOC employee with
whom the applicant has contact in connection with the application process.
The Office of Human Resources is responsible for training staff that is
involved in the application process to recognize requests for reasonable
accommodation and to handle them appropriately. Field office directors also
should ensure that all staff having contact with applicants
know how to recognize and handle requests for reasonable accommodation.
- A family member, health professional,
or other representative may request an accommodation on behalf of
an EEOC employee or applicant. The request should go to one of the same
persons to whom the employee or applicant would make the request.
To enable EEOC to keep accurate records regarding
requests for accommodation, employees seeking a reasonable accommodation must
follow up an oral request either by completing the attached "Confirmation
of Request" form or otherwise confirming their request in writing
(including by e-mail) to the Disability Program Manager. For applicants
seeking a reasonable accommodation, the Personnel Management Specialist handling
the request must give them the "Confirmation of Request" form to fill
out.(2) If an individual with a disability
requires assistance with this requirement, the staff member receiving the
request will provide that assistance.
While the written confirmation should be
made as soon as possible following the request, it is not a requirement for the
request itself. EEOC will begin processing the request as soon as it is made,
whether or not the confirmation has been provided.
A written confirmation is not required when an
individual needs a reasonable accommodation on a repeated basis (e.g.,
the assistance of sign language interpreters or readers). The written form is
required only for the first request although, of course, appropriate notice must
be given each time the accommodation is needed. (See Appendix A for information
on requesting sign language interpreters.)
As the first step in processing a request for
reasonable accommodation, the EEOC staff member who receives the request must
determine who will be responsible for handling it and forward it, if necessary. The
person who handles the request for accommodation will be referred to as the
"decision maker." There are four possible decision makers: a
Personnel Management Specialist, an employee's supervisor, an employee's office
director, and the Disability Program Manager. A staff member receiving a request
for accommodation should follow the instructions below to determine which of
these individuals should receive the request.
The request should be forwarded to the
appropriate person as soon as possible but in no more than five business
days.(3) All referrals must be copied to
the Office Director of the employee requesting the accommodation. If the person
receiving the request, including the Disability Program Manager, is also the
decision maker, s/he should promptly notify the employee's Office Director that
the request has been made.
- Requests for accommodation from
applicants will be handled by the Personnel Management Specialist
responsible for the recruitment and/or selection process.
- Requests for accommodation from
employees will be handled by the requesting employee's immediate supervisor
unless the request is one which should be handled by the Office Director or
the Disability Program Manager, as explained below.
- Certain requests for accommodation
will be handled by the Office Director or his or her designee.
These include requests involving personnel actions (other than
reassignment) and requests by field staff for accessible parking.
(Accessible parking for headquarters staff is discussed below.)
- Certain requests for accommodation
will be handled by the Disability Program Manager. The
Disability Program Manager will handle the following:
- Requests for adaptive
equipment, including information technology and
communications equipment, or specially designed furniture.
The Disability Program Manager will coordinate adaptive equipment
requests with the Office of Information Resources Management and
furniture requests with the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.
- Requests for a reader or sign
language interpreter, or other staff assistant to enable employees
to perform their job functions, where the accommodation cannot be
provided by current staff. The Disability Program Manager
will coordinate such requests with the Office of Human Resources.
(See Appendix A for information on requesting sign language
interpreters and Appendix B for information on hiring staff
- Requests for the removal of an
architectural barrier(s), including reconfigured
work spaces. The Disability Program Manager will coordinate
these requests with the Office of the Chief Financial Officer who
will, as necessary, coordinate with the General Services
Administration or the owner of the building.
- Requests by headquarters staff
for accessible parking.
- Requests for materials in
alternative formats (e.g., braille, large print) which cannot
be handled by the supervisor or Office Director.
- Requests for reassignment to
another job. The Disability Program Manager will coordinate
these requests with the Office of Human Resources.
- In addition, the Disability Program Manager
will be available, as needed, to provide assistance to employees and
decision makers in processing requests.
- All decision makers must have designated
back-ups to continue receiving, processing, and providing reasonable
accommodations when the decision maker is unavailable. Decision makers
should ensure that individuals know who has been designated as back-up. The
time frames discussed in Section VIII, below, will not be suspended or
extended because of the unavailability of a decision maker.
- The back-up for a supervisor is his/her
- The Personnel Management Specialist,
Office Director and the Disability Program Manager must each designate a
The next step is for the parties to begin the
interactive process to determine what, if any, accommodation should be provided.
This means that the individual requesting the accommodation and the EEOC
decision maker must talk to each other about the request, the process for
determining whether an accommodation will be provided, and potential
Communication is a priority throughout
the entire process. The EEOC decision maker will have the principal
responsibility for identifying possible accommodations. S/he will take a
proactive approach in searching out and considering possible accommodations,
including consulting appropriate resources for assistance. The employee
requesting the accommodation should also participate to the extent possible in
helping to identify an effective accommodation. Resources which are available to
help both the decision maker and the individual requesting the accommodation to
identify possible accommodations are listed in Appendix C. The Disability
Program Manager is also available to provide assistance.
- As the first step, the EEOC decision maker
will: (1) explain to the applicant or employee that s/he will be making the
decision on the request; and (2) describe what will happen in the processing
of the request. This initial discussion should happen as soon as
- When a request for accommodation is made
by a third party, the decision maker should, if possible, confirm with
the applicant or employee with a disability that s/he, in fact, wants a
reasonable accommodation before proceeding. It may not be possible to
confirm the request if the employee has, for example, been hospitalized
in an acute condition. In this situation, EEOC will process the third
party's request and will consult directly with the individual needing
the accommodation as soon as it is practicable.
- On-going communication is particularly
important where the specific limitation, problem, or barrier is unclear;
where an effective accommodation is not obvious; or where the parties are
considering different possible reasonable accommodations. In those cases
where the disability, the need for accommodation, and the type of
accommodation which should be provided are clear, extensive discussions are
not necessary. Even so, the decision maker and requesting individual should
talk to each other to make sure that there is a full exchange of relevant
- The decision maker or any other EEOC official
who receives information in connection with a request for reasonable
accommodation may share information connected with that request with other
agency officials only when the agency official(s) need to know the
information in order to make determinations on a reasonable accommodation
request. See Section VII for specific rules governing the
confidentiality of medical information.
- For example, the Office of Information
Resources Management (OIRM) will typically be consulted in connection
with requests for adaptive equipment for computers. However, OIRM has no
need to know any information about the medical condition of the person
seeking the accommodation. It only needs to know his or her functional
limitations insofar as these limitations affect technology needs.
- There are specific considerations in the
interactive process when responding to a request for reassignment.
- Reassignment will only be considered if no
accommodations are available to enable the individual to perform his or
her current job, or if the only effective accommodation would cause
- In considering whether there are positions
available for reassignment, the Disability Program Manager will work
with both the Office of Human Resources (OHR) and the individual
requesting the accommodation to identify: (1) all vacant positions
within the agency for which the employee may be qualified, with or
without reasonable accommodation; and (2) all positions which OHR has
reason to believe will become vacant over the next 60 business
days and for which the employee may be qualified. The agency
will first focus on positions which are equivalent to the employee's
current job in terms of pay, status, and other relevant factors. If
there is no vacant equivalent position, EEOC will consider vacant lower
level positions for which the individual is qualified.
- Reassignment may be made to a vacant
position outside of the employee's commuting area if the employee is
willing to relocate. As with other transfers not required by management,
EEOC will not pay for the employee's relocation costs.
EEOC is entitled to know that an employee
or applicant has a covered disability that requires a reasonable accommodation.
In some cases the disability and need for accommodation will be obvious or
otherwise already known to the decision maker. In these cases, EEOC will not
seek any further medical information. However, when a disability and/or need for
reasonable accommodation is not obvious or otherwise already known to the
decision maker, EEOC may require, if it chooses, that the individual provide
reasonable documentation about the disability and his or her functional
- If a supervisor or other decision maker
believes that medical information is necessary in order to evaluate a
request for reasonable accommodation, s/he will make a request to the
Disability Program Manager to obtain such information.
- The Disability Program Manager will make a
determination as to whether medical documentation is necessary. If it is,
s/he will request the necessary medical information. If it is not necessary,
the request for accommodation will be returned promptly to the decision
maker to complete the processing.
- If a determination is made to seek medical
information, EEOC will request information sufficient to substantiate that
the individual has a Rehabilitation Act disability and needs the reasonable
accommodation requested, but will not ask for unrelated documentation. EEOC
requests for medical information will follow the requirements set forth in
the Commission's Enforcement Guidance: Disability-Related Inquiries and
Medical Examinations of Employees Under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(available on EEOC's internet and intranet sites).
- The Disability Program Manager will seek
information or documentation about the disability and/or functional
limitations from the individual, and/or ask the individual to obtain
such information from an appropriate professional, such as a doctor,
social worker, or rehabilitation counselor. In order to get the most
helpful possible information, all requests for information should
describe the nature of the job, the essential functions the individual
is expected to perform, and any other relevant information. The
Disability Program Manager may work with the supervisor and/or Office
Director in seeking appropriate information.
- Once the medical documentation is
received, the Disability Program Manager will evaluate it, in
consultation with a physician chosen by EEOC, if necessary.
- If the information provided by the health
professional (or the information volunteered by the individual
requesting the accommodation) is insufficient to enable EEOC to
determine whether an accommodation is appropriate, the Disability
Program Manager may ask for further information.
- First, however, s/he will explain to
the individual seeking the accommodation, in specific terms, why the
information which has been provided is insufficient, what additional
information is needed, and why it is necessary for a determination
of the reasonable accommodation request.
- The individual may then ask the health
care or other appropriate professional to provide the missing
- Alternatively, the Disability Program
Manager and the individual requesting the accommodation may agree
that the individual will sign a limited release, and that EEOC may
thereafter submit a list of specific questions to the individual's
health care professional or may otherwise contact the individual's
- If, after a reasonable period of time,
there is still not sufficient information to demonstrate that the
individual has a disability and needs a reasonable accommodation, the
Disability Program Manager may request that the individual be examined
by a physician chosen by EEOC.
- The Disability Program Manager will let
the decision maker know whether the documentation demonstrates that a
reasonable accommodation is appropriate and provide, if necessary, any
additional relevant information about the individual's functional
- In some cases, the individual requesting the
accommodation will supply medical information directly to the decision maker
without being asked. In these cases, the decision maker will consider such
documentation and if additional information is needed, the decision maker
will work with the Disability Program Manager as set forth in this section.
(See Section XII for instructions on storage of this information.)
The failure to provide appropriate
documentation or to cooperate in EEOC's efforts to obtain such documentation can
result in a denial of the reasonable accommodation.
Under the Rehabilitation Act, medical
information obtained in connection with the reasonable accommodation process
must be kept confidential. This means that all medical information,
including information about functional limitations and reasonable accommodation
needs, that EEOC obtains in connection with a request for reasonable
accommodation must be kept in files separate from the individual's personnel
file. It also means that any EEOC employee who obtains or receives such
information is strictly bound by these confidentiality requirements.
- The Disability Program Manager will maintain
custody of all records obtained or created during the processing of a
request for reasonable accommodation, including medical records, and will
respond to all requests for disclosure of the records. All records will be
maintained in accordance with the Privacy Act and the requirements of 29
C.F.R. 1611 and EEOC Order 150.003.
- This information may be disclosed only
- supervisors and managers who need to know
(including the decision maker who requested that the Disability Program
Manager obtain medical information) may be told about necessary
restrictions on the work or duties of the employee and about the
necessary accommodation(s), but medical information should only be
disclosed if strictly necessary.
- first aid and safety personnel may be
informed, when appropriate, if the disability might require
- government officials may be given
information necessary to investigate the agency's compliance with the
Rehabilitation Act; and
- the information may in certain
circumstances be disclosed to workers' compensation offices or insurance
- Whenever medical information is disclosed, the
individual disclosing the information must inform the recipients of the
information about the confidentiality requirements that attach to it.
EEOC will process requests for reasonable
accommodation and provide accommodations, where they are appropriate, in as
short a time frame as reasonably possible. EEOC recognizes, however,
that the time necessary to process a request will depend on the nature of the
accommodation requested and whether it is necessary to obtain supporting
- Expedited processing: In
certain circumstances, a request for reasonable accommodation requires an
expedited review and decision in a time frame that is shorter than the 15 or
20 business days discussed below. This includes where a reasonable
accommodation is needed:
- to enable an applicant to apply
for a job. Depending on the timetable for receiving
applications, conducting interviews, taking tests, and making hiring
decisions, there may be a need to expedite a request for reasonable
accommodation in order to ensure that an applicant with a disability has
an equal opportunity to apply for a job. Therefore, the Office of Human
Resources and field office directors need to move as quickly as possible
to make a decision and, if appropriate, provide a reasonable
- to enable an employee to attend a
meeting scheduled to occur shortly. For example, an employee
may need a sign language interpreter for a meeting scheduled to take
place in 5 days.
- If a request for an accommodation can be
processed by the requesting employee's supervisor or Office Director,
no supporting medical information is required, and no extenuating
circumstances apply, the request shall be processed and the accommodation,
if granted, provided in no more than 15 business days from
the date the supervisor or Office Director receives the request, and sooner,
if possible. Since decision makers may need the full 15 days to engage in
the interactive process and collect all relevant information about possible
accommodations, they should not delay beginning this process. Failure to
meet this time frame solely because a decision maker delayed processing the
request is not an extenuating circumstance. (See next page for information
on "extenuating circumstances.")
- If the decision maker believes that it is
necessary to obtain medical information to determine whether the
requesting individual has a disability and/or to identify the functional
limitations, the decision maker will make such request to the Disability
Program Manager as soon as possible after his or her receipt of the
request for accommodation, but before the expiration of the 15-day
period. EEOC recognizes that the need for documentation may not become
apparent until after the interactive process has begun.
- If the decision maker requests that the
Disability Program Manager obtain medical information, the 15-day period
is frozen. If the Disability Program Manager determines that medical
information is not needed, the 15-day time period resumes as soon as the
Disability Program Manager notifies the decision maker that s/he can
continue processing the request.
- If the Disability Program Manager
determines that medical documentation is needed, the decision shall be
made and the accommodation, if granted, will be provided within 15
business days from the date the decision maker receives the
relevant information from the Disability Program Manager.
Examples of accommodations which can easily
be provided within this 15-day time frame include:
- An employee with diabetes who sits in an
open area asks for four breaks a day to test her blood sugar levels so
that she may do these tests in private.
- An employee who takes anti-depressants
which make it hard for her to get up in time to get to the office at
9:00, requests that s/he be allowed to start work at 10:00 and still put
in an 8 hour day.
- A supervisor distributes detailed agendas
at the beginning of each staff meeting. An employee with a learning
disability asks that the agenda be distributed ahead of time because the
disability makes it difficult to read and he needs more time to prepare.
- Where the Disability Program Manager
is the decision maker, s/he will make a decision on the request and the
accommodation, if granted, will be provided within 20 business days
from the date the request was initially made, absent extenuating
circumstances. If medical documentation is necessary, the
decision will be made within 20 business days from the
receipt of the documentation, absent additional extenuating circumstances.
- Extenuating Circumstances:
These are factors that could not reasonably have been anticipated or
avoided in advance of the request for accommodation. When
extenuating circumstances are present, the time for processing a request for
reasonable accommodation and providing the accommodation will be extended as
reasonably necessary. It is EEOC's policy that extensions based on
extenuating circumstances should be limited to circumstances where they are
strictly necessary. All EEOC staff are expected to act as quickly as
reasonably possible in processing requests and providing accommodations. The
following are examples of extenuating circumstances:
- There is an outstanding initial or
follow-up request for medical information, or the Disability Program
Manager is evaluating medical information which has been provided.
- The purchase of equipment may take longer
than 15 or 20 business days because of requirements under the Federal
Acquisition Regulation and EEOC Order 360.001, Acquisition Policies and
- Equipment must be back-ordered, the vendor
typically used by EEOC for goods or services has unexpectedly gone out
of business, or the vendor cannot promptly supply the needed goods or
services and another vendor is not immediately available.
- The employee with a disability needs to
try working with equipment on a trial basis to ensure that it is
effective before EEOC buys it.
- New staff needs to be hired or contracted
for, or an accommodation involves the removal of architectural barriers.
"Extenuating circumstances" covers
limited situations in which unforeseen or unavoidable events prevent prompt
processing and delivery of an accommodation. For example, EEOC may not delay
processing or providing an accommodation because a particular staff member
is unavailable. (See Section IV on designating back-ups to handle requests
when the decision maker is unavailable.)
Where extenuating circumstances are present, the
decision maker must notify the individual of the reason for the delay, and
the approximate date on which a decision, or provision of the reasonable
accommodation, is expected. Any further developments or changes
should also be communicated promptly to the individual.
- If there is a delay in providing an
accommodation which has been approved, the decision maker must
investigate whether temporary measures
can be taken to assist the employee. This could include providing the
requested accommodation on a temporary basis or providing a less
effective form of accommodation. In addition, the decision maker may
provide measures that are not reasonable accommodations within the
meaning of the law (e.g., temporary removal of an essential
function) if: (1) they do not interfere with the operations of the
Agency; and (2) the employee is clearly informed that they are being
provided only on a temporary, interim basis.
- For example, there may be a delay in
receiving adaptive equipment for an employee with a vision disability.
During the delay, the supervisor might arrange for other employees to
act as readers. This temporary measure may not be as effective as the
adaptive equipment, but it will allow the employee to perform as much of
the job as possible until the equipment arrives.
- If a delay is attributable to the need to
obtain or evaluate medical documentation and EEOC has not yet determined
that the individual is entitled to an accommodation, EEOC may also
provide an accommodation on a temporary basis. In such a case, the
decision maker will notify the individual in writing
that the accommodation is being provided on a temporary basis pending a
decision on the accommodation request.
- EEOC decision makers who approve such
temporary measures are responsible for assuring that they do not take
the place of a permanent accommodation and that all necessary steps to
secure the permanent accommodation are being taken.
As soon as the decision maker determines that a
reasonable accommodation will be provided, that decision should be immediately
communicated to the individual. If the accommodation cannot be provided
immediately, the decision maker must inform the individual of the projected time
frame for providing the accommodation. This notice does not need to be in
As soon as the decision maker determines that a
request for reasonable accommodation will be denied, s/he must fill out the
attached "Denial of Request" form and give it to the individual who
requested the accommodation. The explanation for the denial should be written in
plain language, clearly stating the specific reasons for the denial. Where the
decision maker has denied a specific requested accommodation, but offered to
make a different one in its place which was not agreed to during the interactive
process, the denial notice should explain both the reasons for the denial of the
requested accommodation and the reasons that the decision maker believes that
the chosen accommodation will be effective. Reasons for the denial of a request
for reasonable accommodation may include the following (keeping in mind that the
actual notice to the individual must include specific reasons for the
denial, for example, why the accommodation would not be effective or why
it would result in undue hardship):
- The requested accommodation would not be
- Providing the requested accommodation would
result in undue hardship. Before reaching this determination, the decision
maker must have explored whether other effective accommodations exist which
would not impose undue hardship and therefore can be provided. A
determination of undue hardship means that the Commission finds that a
specific accommodation would result in significant difficulty or expense, or
would fundamentally alter the nature of EEOC's operations. When evaluating
budgetary or administrative concerns to determine if undue hardship exists,
the Commission will follow the standards enunciated in the regulations and
in the "Enforcement Guidance on Reasonable Accommodation and Undue
Hardship Under the Americans with Disabilities Act."
- Medical documentation is inadequate to
establish that the individual has a disability and/or needs a reasonable
- The requested accommodation would require the
removal of an essential function.
- The requested accommodation would require the
lowering of a performance or production standard.
The written notice of denial also informs the
individual that s/he has the right to file an EEO complaint and may have rights
to pursue MSPB and union grievance procedures. The notice also explains EEOC's
procedures available for informal dispute resolution.
Individuals with disabilities can request
prompt reconsideration of a denial of reasonable accommodation.
- If an individual wishes reconsideration, s/he
should first ask the decision maker to reconsider the decision. The
individual may present additional information in support of his/her request.
The decision maker will respond to the request for reconsideration within five
- If the decision maker was the supervisor,
and s/he does not reverse the decision, the individual can ask the
Office Director to do so. The Office Director will respond to this
request within ten business days.
- If the decision maker was the Office
Director, and s/he does not reverse the decision, the individual can ask
the Disability Program Manager to do so. The Disability Program Manager
will respond to this request within ten business days.
- If the decision maker was the Disability
Program Manager, and s/he does not reverse the decision, the individual
can ask the official designated by the Director of the Office of Equal
Opportunity to do so. This official will respond to this request within ten
Pursuing any of the informal dispute resolution
procedures identified above, including seeking reconsideration from the decision
maker and appealing to the next person in the decision maker's chain of command,
does not affect the time limits for initiating statutory and collective
bargaining claims. An individual's participation in any or all
of these informal dispute resolution processes does not satisfy the requirements
for bringing a claim under EEO, MSPB, or union grievance procedures.
The decision maker will complete the attached
"Information Reporting" form and submit it to the Disability Program
Manager within 10 business days of the decision. The decision
maker should attach to the form copies of all information, including medical
information, s/he received as part of processing the request.
- The Disability Program Manager will maintain
these records for the longer of the employee's tenure with EEOC or five
- The Disability Program Manager will prepare
annually a report, to be made available to all employees. The report will
contain the following information, presented in the aggregate:
- the number of reasonable accommodations,
by type, that have been requested in the application process and whether
those requests have been granted or denied;
- the jobs (occupational series, grade
level, and agency component) for which reasonable accommodations have
- the types of reasonable accommodations
that have been requested for each of those jobs;
- the number of reasonable accommodations,
by type, for each job that have been approved, and the number of
accommodations, by type, that have been denied;
- the number of requests for reasonable
accommodations, by type, that relate to the benefits or privileges of
employment, and whether those requests have been granted or denied;
- the reasons for denial of requests for
- the amount of time taken to process each
request for reasonable accommodation; and
- the sources of technical assistance that
have been consulted in trying to identify possible reasonable
- In addition, the report will provide a
qualitative assessment of EEOC's reasonable accommodation program, including
any recommendations for improvement of EEOC's reasonable accommodation
policies and procedures.
This policy is in addition to
statutory and collective bargaining protections for persons with disabilities
and the remedies they provide for the denial of requests for reasonable
accommodation. Requirements governing the initiation of statutory and
collective bargaining claims, including time frames for filing such claims,
An individual who chooses to pursue statutory or
collective bargaining remedies for denial of reasonable accommodation must:
- For an EEO complaint: contact an EEO counselor
in the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) within 45 days from the date of
receipt of the written notice of denial.
- For a collective bargaining claim, file a
written grievance in accordance with the provisions of the Collective
Bargaining Agreement; or
- Initiate an appeal to the Merit Systems
Protection Board within 30 days of an appealable adverse action as defined
in 5 C.F.R. 1201.3.
If a member of the OEO staff has had any
involvement in the processing of the request for reasonable accommodation, that
staff member shall recuse him or herself from any involvement in the processing
of an EEO counseling contact or complaint in connection with that request.
Any person wanting further information concerning
these Procedures may contact the Disability Program Manager at 202-663-7147, or
via e-mail at "Disability Program Manager."
These Procedures shall be distributed to all
employees upon issuance, and annually thereafter. They also will be posted on
EEOC's intranet and internet site and included in the employee handbook. Copies
also will be available in EEOC's library, OEO office, and personnel office. They
shall also be distributed to all new employees as part of their orientation on
their first day of work. These Procedures will be provided in alternative
formats, including simplified format, when requested from the Disability Program
Manager by, or on behalf of, any EEOC employee.
Ida L. Castro
Utilizing Sign Language Interpreters at Headquarters(4)
- SCHEDULING INTERPRETER SERVICES.
The individual or office scheduling a meeting or event which will require
interpreting services (staff meeting, training, office function, etc.) is
responsible for directing the request, via e-mail, to "Interpreting
Services." Please check to see if an interpreter is available
before scheduling the date, time, and place of the event.
Requests for staff interpreters are accepted
and scheduled on a first come, first serve basis -- with exceptions
considered on a case-by-case basis. Interpreting for official EEOC business
always takes priority over interpreting for non-official matters.
Advance scheduling - preferably one to two
weeks - is strongly encouraged, to the extent possible. Although it is not
possible to foresee every occasion for which interpreting services may be
required, failure to schedule interpreting services well in advance may
result in the necessity to reschedule meetings until interpreter services
If a meeting or event will last longer than
one half hour, arrangements must be made for more than one interpreter to be
present, or the meeting or event must be scheduled to include sufficient
rest periods, including a "sign-free" lunch break, if necessary.
Generally, one interpreter can work 45-60 minutes and then needs a 15-minute
break. A break during a meeting or event does not constitute a rest period
for the interpreter if s/he is expected to continue working (e.g.,
deaf and hearing parties wish to communicate during the break and look to
the interpreter to facilitate the exchange).
An employee who knows sign language or who is
taking a sign language class is not an acceptable
substitute for an EEOC staff interpreter or a contract interpreter.
- WORK EVENTS OUTSIDE THE WORKPLACE.
EEOC will provide an interpreter for an employee who is deaf or hard of
hearing who, as part of his/her job, attends a meeting or event outside of
the workplace. If s/he attends a conference or training program sponsored by
an outside organization, the sponsoring organization is principally
responsible for providing interpreters. EEOC staff interpreters will provide
interpreting services, however, if the sponsoring agency fails to do so.
When an employee goes to a meeting,
conference, or training program outside the workplace, EEOC will assess
whether it would be effective to send staff interpreter(s) or contract
interpreter(s). If EEOC decides it would be more effective to send staff
interpreter(s), and EEOC provides transportation for or reimburses the
travel costs of the employee, then the office of the employee with
disability must also provide for/reimburse travel costs for the staff
interpreter(s). Similarly, if EEOC pays for meals for the employee who is
deaf or hard of hearing while attending these types of events, then the
office of the employee with the disability must also pay for the meals for
the staff interpreter(s).
- OFFICE SOCIAL FUNCTIONS AND SPECIAL
EVENTS TO WHICH THE INTERPRETERS ARE INVITED. Interpreting services
are routinely requested for office or Agency social functions or special
events -- e.g., Winter Holiday Party, Unity Month Picnic-- scheduled
during official government time and which might be attended by employees who
are deaf or hard of hearing. If EEOC staff interpreters express the desire
to attend these "all-employee" functions in an off-duty capacity,
arrangements will be made by the Interpreting Services staff for contract
- INTERPRETING PHONE CALLS.
Employees who are deaf or hard of hearing should schedule an interpreter
when services are needed to interpret business-related phone calls. The
telecommunication relay service is available to all EEOC employees to serve
telephone needs when a sign language interpreter is not available.
Staff Assistant Slots
- STAFF ASSISTANT SLOTS. The
EEOC will make staff assistants available, if appropriate. Staff assistants
are sign language interpreters, readers, and assistants who perform physical
tasks that an employee cannot perform because of a disability. For example,
an investigator with limited or no upper extremity mobility may need
assistance in physically organizing a charge file. The investigator will
perform the essential functions of the position -- e.g., conduct the
investigation and draft documents -- and the assistant would only perform
the physical task.
- REQUEST FOR STAFF ASSISTANT SLOTS.
Requests for hiring a staff assistant must be referred to the Disability
Program Manager from the EEOC staff member who received the request. The
Disability Program Manager will first determine whether staff assistants
already hired by the EEOC can fulfill an employee's needs. The Disability
Program Manager also will determine if an employee's needs could be met by
contracting for services (e.g., a contract interpreter), and if so,
will make the necessary arrangements. If the Disability Program Manager
approves the request to hire a staff assistant, the employee's Office
Director, in consultation with the Personnel Operations Services Team (POST)
of OHR, if necessary, should prepare a Request for Personnel Action (SF-52)
and a position description. The employee with a disability must play an
integral part in the interview and selection process of an interpreter,
reader, or assistant.
- USE OF STAFF ASSISTANTS. The
staff assistant slots are to be used only to hire
interpreters, readers, and assistants as a reasonable accommodation for
employees with disabilities. Staff hired shall be shared to provide
assistance to more than one employee with a disability, where appropriate.
These staff assistants may not be assigned any other duties
unless the person they were hired to assist has no work for them to perform
at that time. Before assigning other duties to the assistant, the employee
with the disability shall be consulted to determine when assistant services
are not needed. If the supervisor is not the employee with a disability,
s/he must consult with the employee with a disability regarding the staff
assistant's performance evaluation.
In no case should a staff assistant be called
upon -- by management or by the employee(s) to whom he or she is assigned --
to perform the essential functions of the job held by the employee with the
- HIRING AUTHORITY. Readers,
interpreters, or assistants hired to fill approved positions may be
appointed under the non-competitive Schedule A authority, 5 CFR 213.3102
(ll) ["ll" is double "L"]. Persons with disabilities
hired as readers, interpreters, or assistants may also be hired under the
213.3102 (u) authority.
- RELEASE OF POSITIONS. When
the need for a staff assistant is reduced or eliminated, the Administrative
Officer or Personnel Management Specialist shall notify the Disability
Program Manager, who will take appropriate steps.
Selected Reasonable Accommodation Resources
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity
1-800-669-3362 (Voice) 1-800-800-3302 (TT)
The EEOC's Publication Center has many free
documents on the Title I employment provisions of the ADA, including both the
statute, 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq. (1994), and the regulations, 29 C.F.R. 1630
(1997). In addition, the EEOC has published a great deal of basic information
about reasonable accommodation and undue hardship. The two main sources of
interpretive information are: (1) the Interpretive Guidance accompanying the
Title I regulations (also known as the "Appendix" to the regulations),
29 C.F.R. pt. 1630 app. 1630.2(o), (p), 1630.9 (1997) , and (2) A Technical
Assistance Manual on the Employment Provisions (Title I) of the Americans with
Disabilities Act III, 8 FEP Manual (BNA) 405:6981, 6998-7018 (1992). The
Manual includes a 200-page Resource Directory, including federal and state
agencies, and disability organizations that can provide assistance in
identifying and locating reasonable accommodations.
The EEOC also has discussed issues involving
reasonable accommodation in the following guidance and documents: (1)
Enforcement Guidance: Preemployment Disability-Related Questions and Medical
Examinations at 5, 6-8, 20, 21-22, 8 FEP Manual (BNA) 405:7191, 7192-94, 7201
(1995); (2) Enforcement Guidance: Workers' Compensation and the ADA at 15-20, 8
FEP Manual (BNA) 405:7391, 7398-7401 (1996); (3) Enforcement Guidance: The
Americans with Disabilities Act and Psychiatric Disabilities at 19-28, 8 FEP
Manual (BNA) 405:7461, 7470-76 (1997); (4) Fact Sheet on the Family and Medical
Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 at 6-9, 8 FEP Manual (BNA) 405:7371, 7374-76 (1996); and (5)
Enforcement Guidance: Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Examinations of
Employees Under the Americans with Disabilities Act at 20, 22, 23, 24-5, 8 FEP
Manual (BNA) 405:7701, 7711, 7712-14, 7715-16 (2000).
Finally, the EEOC has a poster that employers and
labor unions may use to fulfill the ADA's posting requirement.
All of the above-listed documents, with the
exception of the ADA Technical Assistance Manual and Resource Directory
and the poster, are also available through the Internet at http://www.eeoc.gov.
Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
A service of the President's Committee on
Employment of People with Disabilities. JAN can provide information,
free-of-charge, about many types of reasonable accommodations.
ADA Disability and Business Technical
Assistance Centers (DBTACs)
The DBTACs consist of 10 federally funded
regional centers that provide information, training, and technical assistance on
the ADA. Each center works with local business, disability, governmental,
rehabilitation, and other professional networks to provide current ADA
information and assistance, and places special emphasis on meeting the needs of
small businesses. The DBTACs can make referrals to local sources of expertise in
Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
(301) 608-0050 (Voice/TT)
The Registry offers information on locating and
using interpreters and transliteration services.
RESNA Technical Assistance Project
(703) 524-6686 (Voice) (703) 524-6639 (TT)
RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering and
Assistive Technology Society of North America, can refer individuals to projects
in all 50 states and the six territories offering technical assistance on
technology-related services for individuals with disabilities. Services may
- information and referral centers to help
determine what devices may assist a person with a disability (including
access to large data bases containing information on thousands of
commercially available assistive technology products),
- centers where individuals can try out devices
- assistance in obtaining funding for and
repairing devices, and
- equipment exchange and recycling programs.
Of Request For Reasonable Accommodation
of Reasonable Accommodation Request
Accommodation Information Reporting Form
1. The Disability Program
Manager, as explained below, has specific responsibilities as part of the
reasonable accommodation process, including processing certain requests, making
determinations on the need for medical information, and preparing annual reports
on EEOC's reasonable accommodation process. See "Inquiries," page 17,
for the phone number and e-mail address for the Disability Program Manager.
2. See Section IV, Determining
Which EEOC Official Will Handle the Request, for information on the
responsibilities of the Personnel Management Specialist.
3. In certain circumstances,
referring and processing a request will have to be made very quickly. For
example, an applicant may need an accommodation, such as help filling out an
application form immediately. See Section VIII, Time Frames for Processing
Requests and Providing Reasonable Accommodations, for more information,
including when a request must be expedited.
4. Currently, field offices
generally meet interpreter needs for employees by contracting for such services