Federal employees with a mental or physical disability are entitled to request reasonable accommodations from their agency. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires federal agencies to provide reasonable accommodations to workers depending on the severity of the disability and other factors. Below are a few of the most common types of reasonable accommodations.
A common type of reasonable accommodation is telework. Agencies are required to waive certain eligibility requirements or modify their telework program for someone with a disability who needs to work at home. For example, some agencies may require that employees work at least one year before they are eligible to participate in a telework program. If a new employee needs to work at home because of a disability, and the job can be performed at home, then the agency may have to waive its one-year rule for this individual.
#2: Leave Accommodations
Another type of reasonable accommodation is the use of accrued paid leave or unpaid leave. An agency does not have to provide paid leave beyond what is already provided to similarly situated employees, rather they may be entitled to take leave when it would otherwise be denied or take unpaid leave. An employee with a disability may request leave for various reasons, including:
- Obtaining medical treatment
- Recuperating from an illness
- Avoiding temporary adverse working conditions
- Training a service animal
- Receiving training to learn sign language, etc.
#3: Modified Schedule
An employee may request a modified schedule as a reasonable accommodation. A modified schedule may involve:
- Adjusting arrival or departure times
- Providing periodic breaks, or
- Altering when certain functions are performed
Even if your agency does not typically provide a modified or part-time schedule for employees, they are required to when it is necessary as a reasonable accommodation, unless doing so would create an undue hardship.
#4: Modified Workplace Policies
It is a reasonable accommodation to modify a workplace policy when needed by a worker with disabilities. However, reasonable accommodation only requires that the agency modify the policy for an employee who requires such action because of a disability; so, the agency may continue to apply the policy to all other employees.
If an employee with disabilities is unable to perform their current role adequately because of their health's limitations, they can request reassignment to a vacant position; unless the agency can show that it would be an undue hardship. The employee must be “qualified” for the new position. They must have the skill, experience, and education needed to perform the new position's essential functions--with or without reasonable accommodations.
If you need help filing a reasonable accommodation or your reasonable accommodation request was denied, Moosbrugger Law is here to assist you. Contact us today at 602-845-9733 or visit our website at Moosbrugger-Law.com to schedule a consultation.