Reasonable Accommodation Procedures
This document rescinds the current Reasonable Accommodation Procedures and replaces them with these policies and procedures for providing reasonable accommodations for Access Board employees and applicants for employment. The Access Board is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to its employees and applicants for employment in accordance with Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (which requires federal agencies to provide reasonable accommodation for qualified employees or applicants with disabilities, unless to do so would cause undue hardship) and Executive Order 13164 (requiring agencies to establish effective written procedures for handling reasonable accommodation requests by employees and applicants for employment). The Access Board is updating these Procedures to make necessary changes and clarifications and to continue to ensure that reasonable accommodation requests are handled promptly and fairly.
These Procedures apply to all Access Board employees and applicants for employment
- Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §791.
- Executive Order 13164, Requiring Federal Agencies to Establish Procedures to Facilitate the Provision of Reasonable Accommodation, 46 FR 46565 (July 28, 2000).
- 29 C.F.R. Part 1630, Regulations to Implement the Equal Employment Provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- 29 C.F.R. Part 1614.203, Regulations Under Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act.
- EEOC Policy Guidance on Executive Order 13164 Establishing Procedures to Facilitate the Provision of Reasonable Accommodation.
- EEOC Enforcement Guidance: Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship Under the ADA.
- A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record (a history) of such an impairment, or being regarded as having a disability. An individual covered solely under the “regarded as” definition of disability is not entitled to reasonable accommodation. Whether an individual has a disability is determined by reference to the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) which requires a broad interpretation of the term and generally does not require an extensive analysis.
- Essential Functions
- Essential functions are those job duties that are fundamental to the position that an individual holds or desires. The term “essential functions” does not include marginal functions of the position. “Marginal functions” are those job duties that are less important or critical to the success or failure of the specific position. A function can be “essential” if, among other things: the position exists to perform the function; a limited number of other employees are available to perform the function; or the function requires highly specialized skills, and the individual is hired based on the ability to perform them. Evidence of whether a particular function is essential includes:
- the agency’s judgment (generally a supervisor’s, manager’s and/or office director’s judgment);
- a written position description developed before a job is advertised;
- the amount of time spent performing the function;
- the consequences of not requiring the person in the position to perform the function; or
- the work experience of past incumbents in the job or current incumbents in similar jobs.
- Determination of whether a particular function is essential must be made on a case-by-case basis, since the duties of a specific job may deviate from what is indicated in a position description or from the duties of employees holding a similar job.
- Extenuating Circumstances
- Factors that could not reasonably have been anticipated or avoided in advance of a request for accommodation, or limited situations in which unforeseen or unavoidable events prevent prompt processing and delivery of an accommodation. (e.g., identified software such as a Screen Reader is not compatible with existing equipment or the specific provider of needed equipment that the agency has used in the past has unexpectedly gone out of business).
- Health Care Provider
- A person who has completed a course of study and is licensed to practice in a field of health care, which includes the diagnosis and assessment of the particular disability or disabilities in question.
- Interactive process
- An information-gathering approach used by the employer with the employee or applicant for employment to evaluate a request for accommodation. It is intended to be a flexible approach that centers on the communication between an employer and the individual requesting reasonable accommodation, but may (and often does) involve obtaining relevant information from a supervisor and an individual’s health care provider. This process begins upon receipt of an oral or written request for reasonable accommodation. The person who will decide whether to grant or deny a reasonable accommodation (at the Access Board this is the supervisor, hiring manager or Executive Director) should have a discussion with the requestor and other relevant individuals (e.g., a requestor’s health care provider) to collect whatever information is necessary to make an informed decision about whether the requestor is covered as an individual with a disability and, if so, what reasonable accommodation(s) will effectively eliminate the barrier identified by the requestor and permit an equal opportunity to apply for a job, to perform a job, to gain access to the workplace, or to enjoy access to the benefits and privileges of employment.
- Interim Accommodation
- Any temporary or short-term measure put in place until a granted accommodation is available.
- Major Life Activities
- Major life activities include activities such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, sitting, reaching, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, interacting with others, and working. Major life activities also include the operation of major bodily functions, including functions of the immune system, special sense organs and skin, normal cell growth, digestive, genitourinary, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, hemic, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, and reproductive functions.
- Mental Impairment
- Any mental or psychological disorder such as intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness (major depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders), schizophrenia, and specific learning disabilities.
- Physical Impairment
- Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the body systems such as: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, immune, respiratory, genitourinary, hemic, circulatory, lymphatic, skin, and endocrine systems.
- An individual with a disability is qualified for the position that such individual holds or desires if the individual (1) satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the position, and (2) can perform the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation.
- Reasonable Accommodation
- A reasonable accommodation is any change in the workplace or in the way things are customarily done that provides an equal employment opportunity to an individual with a disability. The Access Board provides reasonable accommodation:
- when an individual with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity in the application process:
- when an employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job held or desired or to gain access to the workplace; andowhen an employee with a disability needs an accommodation to enjoy equal access to benefits and privileges of employment (e.g., details, trainings, office-sponsored events).
- Undue Hardship
- Undue hardship means that an accommodation would result in significant difficulty or expense. The Rehabilitation Act does not require the Access Board to provide a reasonable accommodation that causes an undue hardship. Determination of undue hardship is always made on a case-by-case basis, considering such factors as the nature and net costs of the accommodation, the overall financial resources of the Access Board, and the impact of the accommodation on the operation of the agency, including the impact on the Access Board’s ability to conduct business. Most undue hardship assessments involve non-financial considerations, such as the timely performance of job duties and the ability to effectively serve the public. If a particular accommodation would result in undue hardship, the Access Board will consider whether there is another available accommodation that would not.
5. Roles and Responsibilities
5.1. Executive Director.
The Executive Director may consult with supervisors considering certain accommodation requests, for example, where an accommodation could affect operations of the agency as a whole or where the supervisor requests a consultation. The Executive Director also reviews requests for reconsideration and issues a final decision within 15 days from the date the reconsideration is received.
5.2. Director of Administration.
The Director of Administration administers the reasonable accommodation program and provides support and assistance to supervisors to ensure that employees requests for reasonable accommodations are processed appropriately; works with applicants with disabilities who need accommodation to apply for or be interviewed for a job and makes the final decision on any such request; ensures all requests are documented and maintained properly; and ensures that sufficient resources are available to cover all costs associated with providing reasonable accommodations, to include sign language interpreters, furniture, technology, and other significant purchases.
5.3. General Counsel.
Provides advice and guidance, as needed, to supervisors, the Director of Administration, and the Executive Director in administering the Reasonable Accommodation Program.
5.4. EEO Director.
The EEO Director is responsible for completing the MD-715 annual report to EEOC, which includes reporting the Access Boards reasonable accommodation numerical data and timelines. The EEO Director shall work with the Director of Administration to gather the necessary information to complete the reporting requirements.
Clarifies with the individual whether a reasonable accommodation is being requested if the nature of the individual communication is unclear; reviews requests from employees for completeness; assesses the requests to determine whether the individual meets the definition of an individual with a disability and needs the accommodation requested; initiates the interactive process with the requesting employee and appropriate officials; obtains and evaluates documentation supporting an accommodation request (such as medical information) when the disability and/or need for accommodation is not obvious; consults, as necessary, with other Access Board employees with responsibilities under this policy; issues timely decisions granting or denying the accommodation requests; for approved requests, works with the appropriate agency staff to ensure that any accommodation meets the individual’s disability-related needs, does not entail eliminating essential functions of the position, and does not pose an undue hardship.
5.6. Employee/Applicant for Employment.
Participates in the interactive process; promptly provides any requested medical information about the disability, limitations, and need for accommodation to a supervisor or the Director of Administration.
6. Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation
6.1. Requests for Reasonable Accommodation.
An employee or applicant for employment may request a reasonable accommodation in order to be considered for a position, to perform the essential functions of a position, or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment with the Access Board.
6.1.1. Timing of Requests.
A request for reasonable accommodation may be made at any time. Additionally, an employee or applicant for employment whose disability-related needs change and/or whose job duties change may make subsequent requests for additional or different reasonable accommodations. A supervisor may not deny a reasonable accommodation request based on a belief that the accommodation should have been requested earlier.
6.1.2. Submission of Request.
Employees should make reasonable accommodation requests orally or in writing to their supervisor or to the Executive Director; applicants should make requests to the contact person identified on the vacancy announcement or the Director of Administration. A supervisor other than an employee’s supervisor who receives a request for reasonable accommodation will direct the request to the employee’s supervisor, and any Access board employee involved in the hiring process who receives a request from an applicant will direct the request to the Director of Administration.
6.1.3. Content of Request.
A request does not have to include any special words, such as “reasonable accommodation” or “Rehabilitation Act”. A request is any communication in which an individual asks or states a need for the Access Board to provide or to change something because of a medical condition. A requester does not have to specify a particular accommodation, although it may be helpful if the person can suggest one. It is sufficient for the individual requesting accommodation to state that some sort of change or assistance is required. The supervisor or Director of Administration (for applicants) should ask the individual, if the nature of the initial communication is unclear, whether an accommodation is being requested.
6.1.4. Third Party Requests.
A family member, health care provider, or other representative may request an accommodation on behalf of an Access Board employee or applicant. For example, a doctor’s note outlining medical restrictions of an employee may constitute a request for reasonable accommodation. In these circumstances, the individual handling the request should speak directly with the individual on whose behalf the accommodation is being requested as soon as practicable.
6.2. Confirmation of Request.
When an employee or applicant makes an oral or written request, the supervisor or Director of Administration (for applicants) will complete the “Confirmation of Request” form (see Appendix A).
6.3. Common Types of Accommodations.
Reasonable accommodations can enable an individual to apply for a job, perform a job, or have equal access to the workplace and employee benefits including office common areas, parking lots, and office events. Common types of accommodations include:
- modifying work schedules or supervisory methods.
- altering how or when job duties are performed.
- providing telework beyond the maximum amount allowed to all Access Board employees.
- making changes in workplace policies (e.g., granting breaks or providing leave in addition to any accrued paid leave an employee already has).
- providing assistive technology, including information technology, communications equipment, or specifically designed furniture.
- providing a reader or hiring a staff assistant to enable employees to perform their job functions, where accommodation cannot be provided by current staff.
- removing and/or substituting a marginal function that an employee cannot perform because of a disability.
- moving an employee to a different office space (e.g., to space that is quieter for someone whose disability affects concentration).
- removing an architectural barrier1, including reconfiguring work spaces.
- providing materials in alternative formats (e.g. Braille, large print, or in electronic format).
6.4. Requests that Are Not Reasonable Accommodations.
There are some things that are not considered reasonable accommodations. They include:
- removing an essential function;
- lowering production or performance standards;
- excusing violations of conduct standards;
- providing personal use items, such as hearing aids or eyeglasses that an employee needs both on and off the job; and
- taking any action that would result in an undue hardship for the Access Board.
6.5. Recurring Accommodations.
An employee needing a reasonable accommodation on a recurring basis, such as receiving the monthly staff meeting PowerPoint ahead of time, must submit the request only once. If the accommodation is needed on a known scheduled basis (e.g., a weekly staff meeting), the supervisor should ensure that the appropriate arrangements are made each time the accommodation is needed. However, if the need for accommodation will happen on an unscheduled or infrequent basis (e.g, the need for help sending materials to conferences 3 to 4 times a year), the employee requesting the accommodation must give appropriate advance notice each time the accommodation is needed.
Reassignment is a form of reasonable accommodation. It may be provided to an employee (not an applicant) who, because of a disability, can no longer perform the essential functions of her current job, with or without reasonable accommodation. Reassignment is the accommodation of last resort. The Board will consider reassignment only after it has determined that accommodation in the employee’s current job is not possible or would pose an undue hardship. A reassignment is made only to a vacant position that the Access Board has authorized and intends to fill at the time of the accommodation request. A supervisor considering reassignment will contact the Director of Administration to inquire if there are any vacancies within the Access Board. Where possible, reassignment is to an equivalent position, but if no equivalent position is available, may be to a lower-level position that is as close as possible to the employee’s current position.
7. Processing a Resonable Accomodation Request
7.1. The Interactive Process.
After a request for accommodation is made, the supervisor will begin the interactive process to determine what, if any, accommodation should be provided. This means that the individual requesting the accommodation and the supervisor must communicate with each other about the precise nature of the problem that is generating the request, what limitations related to a disability require accommodation, and alternative accommodations that may be effective in meeting an individual’s needs. The supervisor shall communicate with the requestor, early and periodically through the interactive process to keep the requester informed about the status of the request and shall promptly respond to any questions from the requester about the status of the request.
7.1.1. Initial Contact.
Upon receiving the request, the supervisor will contact the applicant or employee as soon as possible, but no later than 7 business days after the request is made, to begin discussing the accommodation request.
7.1.2. Third-Party Requestor.
When a third party (e.g., an individual’s doctor) requests accommodation on behalf of an applicant or employee, the supervisor should, if possible, confirm with the applicant or employee that s/he wants a reasonable accommodation before proceeding. Where this is not possible, for example, because the employee has been hospitalized in an acute condition, the supervisor will process the third party’s request if it seems appropriate (e.g., granting immediate leave) and will consult directly with the individual needing an accommodation as soon as practicable.
The supervisor may need to consult with other Access Board personnel (e.g., IT staff, Director of Administration, General Counsel, Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer) or outside sources to obtain information necessary for making a determination about the request.
7.1.4. Change in Circumstance.
A supervisor who believes that an employee may no longer need a reasonable accommodation (e.g., where an accommodation was initially granted for a particular period of time, or where the supervisor has information that seems inconsistent with the limitations the employee has said are associated with an impairment), may contact the employee to discuss whether s/he has a continuing need for a reasonable accommodation.
7.2. Requests for Medical Information.
When a disability and/or the need for accommodation is not obvious, the supervisor may ask the individual for medical information about his/her disability and functional limitations and/or why an accommodation is needed. The supervisor is entitled to know that the individual has a covered disability for which s/he needs a reasonable accommodation. The Access Board will not request documentation concerning any disability or need for accommodation that is obvious or already known. A disability may be obvious if it is visually apparent (e.g., blindness, paralysis), or may be already known, even if not visually apparent, if the Access Board already has sufficient information (such as documentation) describing the disability and its functional limitations. The need for an accommodation may be obvious because it clearly relates to a disability (e.g., a screen reader for someone who is blind or a sign language interpreter for someone who is deaf), or because the need for the accommodation has previously been documented and there is no indication that the nature of the requester’s disability has changed.
7.2.1. Types of Information Requested.
The Access Board may only seek medical information that is sufficient to explain the nature of the disability, the individual’s need for reasonable accommodation, and how the requested accommodation will assist the individual to apply for a job, perform the essential functions of a job, or enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment.
7.2.2. Supervisor Request.
The supervisor shall explain in writing what additional information is needed and why. The employee or applicant may need to ask a healthcare provider or other appropriate professional (such as a rehabilitation professional where the issue involves the appropriateness of a particular accommodation) to provide the missing information. The supervisor may also give the requestor a list of questions for the health care provider or other appropriate professional to answer.
7.2.3. Failure to provide requested information.
It is the responsibility of the applicant/employee to provide appropriate medical information requested by the Access Board. If the requestor fails to provide sufficient medical information, the supervisor may ask the requestor to sign a limited release permitting the supervisor to contact the health care provider for additional information. If an individual refuses to provide information requested by the supervisor, it may result in a decision not to provide a reasonable accommodation.
7.2.4. Secondary Review.
The Access Board may have medical information provided by an individual or the individual’s health care provider reviewed by health care provider of the Board’s choosing, at the agency’s expense.
7.3. Offer of Alternative.
If, during the interactive process, the supervisor determines that there is a reason to deny the specific reasonable accommodation requested (e.g., the accommodation poses an undue hardship or is not required by the Rehabilitation Act), the supervisor will explore with the individual whether another accommodation would be possible. The fact that one accommodation proves ineffective or would cause undue hardship does not necessarily mean that this would be true of another accommodation. Similarly, if an employee requests removal of an essential function or some other action that is not required by law, the supervisor will explore whether there is a reasonable accommodation the meet the employee’s needs.
7.4. Confidentiality Requirements.
Information obtained in connection with a reasonable accommodation request must be kept confidential. This means that the existence of an accommodation request, details of the request, whether it has been approved, and information about functional limitations, all must be kept confidential. Medical information collected in conjunction with a reasonable accommodation request must be kept in files separate from the individual’s personnel file. These files are maintained by the Director of Administration in accordance with System of Records Notice, USAB.001, Only those involved in the processing of reasonable accommodation requests shall have access to the files. Any Access Board employee who obtains or receives information about a reasonable accommodation request is strictly bound by these confidentiality requirements.
7.4.1. Disclosures to process a request.
The supervisor may share certain information with other agency staff as necessary to make appropriate determinations on a reasonable accommodation request. For example, the Director of Administration may need certain information to advise about equipment and cost; the Chief Technology Officer may need certain information to advise about capability of providing certain technology and its compatibility with existing agency technology.
7.4.2. Other Disclosures.
In addition to disclosures of information needed to process a request for accommodation, other disclosures of medical information are permitted as follows:
- Other supervisors or persons within the agency that need to know may be told about necessary restrictions on work or duties of the employee and about necessary accommodations, such as setting up IT systems or assistive technology or arranging for remote work;
- First responders and safety personnel may be told if the disability might require emergency treatment or assistance in evacuation;
- Worker’s compensation officials may receive medical information in order to process or evaluate claims; and
- Government officials may be given information necessary to investigate the agency’s compliance with the Rehabilitation Act.
7.5. Time Frames.
Generally, the time frame for processing a request, notifying the requester of the outcome, and providing accommodation, if the request is granted, is as soon as possible but no later than 30 business days from the date the request is made, absent extenuating circumstances. This includes the 7-business day time frame in which the supervisor must contact the requestor after a request is made.
7.5.1. Beginning of Request.
The 30-business day period begins when an oral or written request for accommodation is made.
7.5.2. Abeyance for Medical Documentation Request.
If the supervisor must request medical information or documentation from the requestor’s health care provider, the time frame will stop on the day that the supervisor makes a request to the individual to obtain medical information or sends out a request for information/documentation and will resume on the day that the supervisor receives the information/documentation. This means that a decision on an accommodation request might not be provided within 30 days of the request, depending on how long it takes for a requester to provide needed medical documentation or if more than one request is needed to obtain sufficient documentation.
7.5.3. Less than 30 days.
If the disability is obvious or already known to the supervisor, if it is clear why a reasonable accommodation is needed, and if an accommodation can be provided quickly, then the supervisor should process the request in fewer than 30 days. Undue delay in providing a reasonable accommodation may constitute a violation of the Rehabilitation Act. For example, the following requests ordinarily can be provided in fewer than 30 days:
- An employee with clinical depression who takes medication which makes it hard to get up in time to get to the office at 9:00 a.m. requests to be allowed to start work at 10:00 a.m. and still work an eight-and-a-half-hour day.
- A supervisor screenshares a PowerPoint or agenda during staff meetings. An employee who is blind requests the document be provided ahead of time in an accessible format in order to read the information in advance or to have it available in an accessible format during the meeting.
- An employee that uses hearing aids requests meetings to be conducted in one of the meeting rooms that contains hearing loops.
7.5.4. Expedited Processing of a Request.
In certain circumstances, a request for reasonable accommodation requires an expedited review and decision in less than 30 business days. 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, and making hiring decisions, the need to expedite a request for reasonable accommodation may arise to ensure that an applicant with a disability has an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
- to enable an employee to attend a meeting or training scheduled to occur soon. For example, an employee may need a sign language interpreter for a meeting scheduled to take place in 5 days.
7.5.5. Extenuating Circumstances.
These are circumstances that could not reasonably have been anticipated or avoided in advance of the request for accommodation, or that are beyond the Access Board’s ability to control. When extenuating circumstances are present, the 30-business-day timeframe for processing a request and providing the accommodation will be extended as reasonably necessary to deal with the extenuating circumstance. Extenuating circumstances might exist when, for example, an employee with a disability needs to work with equipment on a trial basis to ensure it is effective before the agency buys the equipment, new staff would need to be hired/contracted to fulfill the requested accommodation, or a requested accommodation would involve removal of architectural barriers. The supervisor must notify the individual of the reason for the delay, including explaining the extenuating circumstances that justify the delay and when the supervisor expects to conclude processing the request.
7.6. Interim Accommodation.
An interim accommodation is something that can be provided while the accommodation request in processing. Consideration of an interim accommodation is not meant to slow down the interactive process and the 30-business-day time frame will not be lengthened because an interim accommodation is considered. In the following situations a supervisor must consider whether an interim accommodation can be provided.
- The supervisor believes that an interim accommodation is warranted (either something the employee has requested or something else). Usually this will involve a situation in which a disability is obvious or likely, the reason given for needing the accommodation seems plausible, and the requested accommodation is easy to provide. The supervisor will inform the employee of an interim accommodation option during the interactive process.
- If the supervisor has received sufficient information in the interactive process to believe it is reasonably likely that an employee will be entitled to a reasonable accommodation, even while awaiting additional information needed to make a final decision. For example, the supervisor may be waiting to receive medical documentation – meaning the interactive process is not completed – but given the weight of the other information already provided, the supervisor concludes it is reasonably likely an accommodation will be provided. The supervisor must provide an interim accommodation if one is available (either what the individual has requested or something else) that allows the individual to perform some or all of the essential functions of the position without imposing an undue hardship on the Access Board. The supervisor must make clear to the requestor that this is only an interim accommodation until a final decision is made; and
- If the supervisor has completed the review and determined that the employee is entitled to a reasonable accommodation, but the accommodation cannot be provided immediately. The supervisor must provide, if feasible, an interim accommodation that allows the employee to perform some or all of the essential functions of the position without imposing an undue hardship on the Access Board. The supervisor must explain to the requestor why there is a delay in providing the accommodation granted by the Access Board, when the employee can expect to receive that accommodation, and why the supervisor chose an interim accommodation.
8. Resolution of Reasonable Accomodation Requests
All decisions regarding a request for reasonable accommodation will be communicated to an applicant or employee by use of the “Resolution of Request” Form (see Appendix B). The supervisor responsible for communicating the decision is as follows:
- For applicants and staff within the Office of Administration: Dru Gordon Director of Administration, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For staff within the Office of Information and Technical Services: Alison Levy, Director of OTIS, email: email@example.com.
- For staff within the General Counsel’s Office: Christopher Kuczynski, General Counsel, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For staff within the Office of the Executive Director: Executive Director, Sachin Pavithran, email: email@example.com.
8.1. Grant of Request for Reasonable Accommodation.
If the Access Board grants a request for accommodation, the supervisor will give the “Resolution of Request” Form to the requestor and discuss implementation of the accommodation. The “Resolution of Request” Form must be filled out even if the Access Board is granting the request without determining whether the requestor has a “disability” and regardless of what type of change or modification is granted.
8.1.1. Granting an Accommodation Other than the one Requested.
A decision to provide an accommodation other than the one specifically requested is considered a decision to grant an accommodation. The “Resolution of Request” Form will explain both the reasons for the denial of the individual’s specific requested accommodation and why the supervisor believes that the chosen accommodation will be effective. The Form will also explain the individual’s right to file an EEO complaint within 45 days from the date of receipt or the discussion with the supervisor, whichever date comes first, pursuant to 29 C.F.R. §1614.105. If the alternative accommodation is not accepted, the supervisor will record the individual’s rejection of the alternative accommodation on the “Resolution of Request” Form.
8.1.2. Request Approved but Delay with Accommodation.
If the request is approved but the accommodation cannot be provided immediately, the supervisor will specify on the Form why there is a delay, including any extenuating circumstances that justify the delay, and when the Access Board expects to provide the accommodation(s) granted. If an accommodation cannot be provided immediately, the supervisor will also discuss with the employee whether an interim accommodation can be provided in accordance with Section 7.6.
8.2. Denial of Request for Reasonable Accommodation.
A supervisor must communicate a decision to deny a request for accommodation immediately after the decision has been made, preferably by using the “Resolution of Request” Form. If the initial communication of the denial is oral only, the form must be provided no later than three business days after this notification. The form must clearly explain the specific reasons for the denial. The supervisor cannot simply state that a requested accommodation is denied because of “undue hardship” or because it would be “ineffective”. Supervisors must consider all resources available to the agency as a whole, in accordance with 29 C.F.R.§1614.203(d)(3)(ii)(A), when assessing whether an accommodation would be an undue hardship based on cost.
9. Reconsideration Request
An individual dissatisfied with the resolution of a reasonable accommodation request may request the Executive Director to review and reconsider the initial decision regarding the reasonable accommodation request. An individual must request reconsideration in writing within 10 business days of receiving the “Resolution” Form. The requestor may provide an explanation or additional information to the Executive Director, for inclusion with the request for reconsideration. A request for reconsideration will not extend the time limits for initiating administrative or statutory claims (See Section 12).
10. Costs and Resources
Supervisors who are making determinations on reasonable accommodation request must contact the Chief Financial Officer or the Director of Administration for assistance on arranging for the use of agency resources to provide accommodations.
Multiple resources are available on the EEOC’s public website to assist supervisors in making determinations on reasonable accommodation requests. Specifically, EEOC Enforcement Guidance: Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Examinations of Employees Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (July 27, 2000) and EEOC Enforcement Guidance on Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (revised October 17, 2002).
11. Informal Tracking and Record Keeping
In order for the Access Board to ensure compliance with these Procedures and the Rehabilitation Act, the supervisor will complete the “Reasonable Accommodation Information Reporting” Form (Appendix C) within 5 business days of issuing the decision. Once completed, all documentation will be transferred to the Director of Administrationto be maintainedin a secure file of reasonable accommodation records, separate from employee personnel files and in compliance with System of Records Notice USAB.001.
Employees and applicants may track the process of their request for reasonable accommodation by contacting their supervisor or the Director of Administration (for applicants) and requesting astatus update.
12. Relation of Procedures to Statutory Claims
These Procedures do not limit or supplant statutory 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 remain unchanged, including the time frames for filing such claims.
12.1 Informed of Rights.
The “Resolution of Request” Form (Appendix B) provides information to individuals denied accommodation, or denied the accommodation of their choice, about their right to file an EEO complaint and their possible right to pursueMeritSystem Protection Board appeals.
12.2. Statutory Remedies.
An individual who chooses to pursue statutory remedies for denial of reasonable accommodation must:
- EEO Complaint.
- Contact the EEO Counselor, Janine Lewis, EEO Services Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org or (813)739-2028, within 45 days from the date of receipt of the written resolution notice which must be provided within three days of the supervisor notifying the employee of the denial. An applicant or employee who claims that the Access Board has unreasonably delayed making a decision on a request for reasonable accommodation may contact an EEO counselor prior to receiving written or verbal notification of a decision.
- MSPB Appeal.
- For adverse actions over which the Merit Systems Protection Board has jurisdiction: initiate an appeal to the MSPB within 30 days of the appealable adverse action as defined in 5 C.F.R. §1201.3.
12.3. Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act.
These Procedures create no new enforceable rights under section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act or any other law. Executive Order 13164, which requires all Federal agencies to adopt reasonable accommodation procedures, explains in section 5(b) that the procedures are “intended only to improvethe internal management of the executive branch and does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity by aparty against the United States [or] its agencies.”
These Reasonable Accommodation Procedures removes and replaces the previous procedures and is effective upon signature by the Executive Director and Director of Administration, and remains in effect until rescinded, superseded, or reissued.
Procedures approved April 11, 2023. Page last revised September 27, 2023.
As a federal agency, the Access Board complies with the Architectural Barriers Act and the implementing ABA Guidelines (36 C.F.R. §1191, App. C & D). However, a reasonable accommodation may include removing a barrier that may exist for a specific employee despite full compliance with the ABA. (e.g. automatic door openers). ↩