These Procedures replace those issued in February Under the law, EEOC must provide reasonable accommodation to qualified employees or applicants with disabilities,  unless to do so would cause undue hardship.
The EEOC is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to its employees and applicants for employment to ensure that individuals with disabilities enjoy equal access to all employment opportunities.
EEOC provides reasonable accommodations: A reasonable accommodation is any change in the workplace or the way things are customarily done that provides an equal employment opportunity to an individual with a disability.
While there are some things that are not considered reasonable accommodations e. Common types of accommodations include: EEOC will process requests for reasonable accommodation and will provide reasonable accommodations where appropriate, in a prompt and efficient manner in accordance with the time frames set forth in these Procedures.
If a request is given to a manager or supervisor rather than directly to the DPM, that individual should forward the request immediately and must do so within 2 business days. As part of the reasonable accommodation interactive process, the DPM will obtain and evaluate documentation supporting an accommodation request such as medical documentation demonstrating that the requestor is an individual with a disability , whenever the disability or need for accommodation is not obvious.
For example, EEOC has an ergonomic program available to all employees who may require special equipment to address or prevent various ailments.
Under the ergonomic program, for instance, an employee with carpal tunnel syndrome may request a specialized chair or wrist pad. Requests under these procedures, as well as requests under the ergonomic program, should be directed to the DPM. While the DPM will handle all requests for reasonable accommodations, supervisors, managers, and office directors often will need to be consulted about specific requests.
This document is available at http: Applicants and employees may wish to consult this Guidance to better understand the reasonable accommodation process. Reasonable Accommodation Procedures A. Requesting Reasonable Accommodation Generally, an applicant or employee must let the EEOC know that he needs an adjustment or change concerning some aspect of the application process, the job, or a benefit of employment for a reason related to a medical condition.
See also Section II. Additionally, the DPM may not refuse to process a request for reasonable accommodation, and a reasonable accommodation may not be denied, based on a belief that the accommodation should have been requested earlier e.
A supervisor, manager, or the DPM should ask an individual whether she is requesting a reasonable accommodation if the nature of the initial communication is unclear. A family member, health professional, or other representative may request an accommodation on behalf of an EEOC employee or applicant. The DPM must fill out the Form if the requestor does not.
However, the employee requesting accommodation must give appropriate advance notice each subsequent time the accommodation is needed. If the accommodation is needed on a regular basis e. See Appendix D for information on requesting sign language interpreters. The Interactive Process 1. Generally After a request for accommodation has been made, the next step is for the parties to begin the interactive process to determine what, if any, accommodation should be provided.
The DPM will contact the applicant or employee within 10 business days after the request is made even if the request is initially made to someone else to begin discussing the accommodation request. Such information may not be necessary if an effective accommodation is obvious, if the disability is obvious e. Communication is a priority throughout the entire process, but particularly where the specific limitation, problem, or barrier is unclear; where an effective accommodation is not obvious; or where the parties are considering different forms of reasonable accommodation.
Both the individual making the request and the decision maker should work together to identify effective accommodations. Appendix F lists some suggested resources for identifying accommodations.
When a third party e. Reassignment There are specific considerations in the interactive process when an employee needs, or may need, a reassignment.
Generally, reassignment will only be considered if no accommodations are available to enable the individual to perform the essential functions of his or her current job, or if the only effective accommodation would cause undue hardship. In considering whether there are positions available for reassignment, the DPM will work with both the Office of Human Resources OHR and the employee requesting the reassignment to identify: The DPM does not have to hold open the search until July 1; if she finishes her search on May 15 and learns that no vacancies are currently available or anticipated by June 30, then the search is over and the results should be conveyed to the employee.
A disability is obvious or already known when it is clearly visible or the individual previously provided medical information showing that the condition met the Rehabilitation Act definition. If an individual has already submitted medical documentation in connection with a previous request for accommodation, the individual should immediately inform the DPM of this fact.
The DPM will then determine whether additional medical information is needed to process the current request. The DPM may also give the individual a list of questions to give to the health care provider or other appropriate professional to answer. If sufficient medical information is not provided by the individual after several attempts, the DPM may ask the individual requesting accommodation to sign a limited release permitting the DPM to contact the provider for additional information.
In determining whether documentation is necessary to support a request for reasonable accommodation and whether an applicant or employee has a disability within the meaning of the Rehabilitation Act, the DPM will be guided by principles set forth in the ADA Amendments Act of Notwithstanding, the DPM may require medical information in order to design an appropriate and effective accommodation.
A supervisor or office director who believes that an employee may no longer need a reasonable accommodation should contact the DPM. Confidentiality Requirements Under the Rehabilitation Act, medical information obtained in connection with the reasonable accommodation process must be kept confidential. This includes the fact that an accommodation has been requested or approved and information about functional limitations.
It also means that any EEOC employee who obtains or receives such information is strictly bound by these confidentiality requirements.
Under these circumstances, the DPM will inform the recipients about these confidentiality requirements. The information disclosed will be no more than is necessary to process the request. In addition to disclosures of information needed to process a request for accommodation, other disclosures of medical information are permitted as follows: Time Frame for Processing Requests and Providing Reasonable Accommodations 1 Generally The time frame for processing a request including providing accommodation, if approved is as soon as possible but no later than 30 business days from the date the request is made.
This day period includes the day time frame in which the DPM must contact the requestor after a request for reasonable accommodation is made. EEOC will process requests and, where appropriate, provide accommodations in as short a period as reasonably possible. The time frame above indicates the maximum amount of time it should generally take to process a request and provide a reasonable accommodation.
The DPM will strive to process the request and provide an accommodation sooner, if possible. Unnecessary delays can result in a violation of the Rehabilitation Act.
The time frame begins when an oral or written request for reasonable accommodation is made, and not necessarily when it is received by the DPM. This includes referring a request to the DPM, contacting a doctor if medical information or documentation is needed, and providing technical assistance to the DPM regarding issues raised by a request e.
If the disability is obvious or already known to the DPM, if it is clear why reasonable accommodation is needed, and if an accommodation can be provided quickly, then the DPM should not require the full 30 business days to process the request. The following are examples of situations where the disability is obvious or already known and an accommodation can be provided in less than the allotted time frame: An employee with insulin-dependent diabetes who sits in an open area asks for three breaks a day to test her blood sugar levels in private.
An employee with clinical depression who takes medication which makes it hard for her to get up in time to get to the office at 9: A supervisor distributes a detailed agenda at the beginning of each staff meeting.
An employee with a serious learning disability asks that the agenda be distributed ahead of time because his disability makes it difficult to read quickly and he needs more time to prepare. Expedited Processing of a Request In certain circumstances, a request for reasonable accommodation requires an expedited review and decision.
This includes where a reasonable accommodation is needed: 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 to ensure that an applicant with a disability has an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
For example, an employee may need a sign language interpreter for a meeting scheduled to take place in 5 days. When extenuating circumstances are present, the time for processing a request for reasonable accommodation and providing the accommodation will be extended as reasonably necessary.
Extensions will be limited to circumstances where they are absolutely necessary and only for as long as required to deal with the extenuating circumstance. A decision to provide an accommodation other than the one specifically requested will be considered a decision to grant an accommodation. If the request is approved but the accommodation cannot be provided immediately, the DPM will inform the individual in writing of the projected time frame for providing the accommodation.
If there is a legitimate reason to deny the specific reasonable accommodation requested e. The fact that one accommodation proves ineffective or would cause undue hardship does not necessarily mean that this would be true of another accommodation.
Informal Dispute Resolution An individual dissatisfied with the resolution of a reasonable accommodation request can ask the Director of the Office of Human Resources OHR to reconsider that decision. A request for reconsideration will not extend the time limits for initiating administrative, statutory, or collective bargaining claims. This annual report will not contain confidential information about specific requests for reasonable accommodations, such as the names of individuals that requested accommodations or the accommodations requested by specific individuals.
Rather, this report will provide only general information, such as the total number of requests for accommodations, the types of accommodations requested, and the length of time taken to process requests.
Relation of Procedures to Statutory and Collective Bargaining Claims These Procedures do not limit or supplant 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 remain unchanged, including the 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: The day filing period may not be applicable where there is an unreasonable delay in making a decision regarding an accommodation and the applicant or employee files a challenge before the decision is made.
For a collective bargaining claim: For adverse actions over which the Merits Systems Protection Board has jurisdiction: These Procedures create no new enforceable rights under section of the Rehabilitation Act, any other law, or the collective bargaining agreement.
These Procedures shall be distributed to all employees upon issuance, and annually thereafter. They will be distributed to all new employees as part of their orientation on their first day of work.