- What is Reasonable Accommodation?
- Who Can Request a Reasonable Accommodation?
- Timeline for Processing a Reasonable Accommodation Request
- Reasonable Accommodation Procedures and Form for Reasonable Accommodation Requests
- National Reasonable Accommodation Staff Contacts
- Local Reasonable Accommodation Coordinators
- Helpful Links
- Frequent Questions About Reasonable Accommodation
- Frequent Questions About Personal Assistance Services(PAS)
Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, section 501, requires a Federal Government Agency to provide reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities, unless it would cause undue hardship. A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment or in the way a job is performed that enables a person with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities.
Although many individuals with disabilities can apply for and perform jobs without any reasonable accommodation, workplace barriers may keep others from performing jobs which they could do with some form of accommodation. These barriers may be physical obstacles (such as inaccessible facilities or equipment), or they may be procedures or rules (such as rules concerning when work is performed, when breaks are taken, or how job tasks are performed). Reasonable accommodation removes workplace barriers for individuals with disabilities.
Reasonable accommodation (RA) is what an employer, in this case - EPA, does differently for an employee or applicant with a disability to remove a workplace barrier.
- Perform essential job duties;
- Adhere to uniformly applied conduct rules; and
- Enjoy equal benefits/privileges of employment.
Reasonable accommodation can be modifications or adjustments for an applicant with disability to have equal access to application process.
An applicant for employment may request a reasonable accommodation (RA), either orally or in writing, from any EPA employee authorized to interact with the applicant in the application process, the Senior National Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator (NRAC), National Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator, or Local Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator (LORAC).
An employee, or an individual acting on behalf of the employee, may request an RA either orally or in writing, from his/her supervisor, another supervisor in his/her immediate chain of command, Senior NRAC, NRAC, or LORAC if in a regional office, RTP lab, Cincinnati lab, Ann Arbor, or the Office of Inspector General (OIG).
When an RA request is made by a third party on behalf of an individual, the Agency official processing the request should confirm the individual's authority to represent the employee with a disability.
Contractors for EPA need to request reasonable accommodations from their employer. Senior Environmental Employment (SEE) enrollees will need to work with EPA and their employer depending on the request.
It is EPA’s goal to provide reasonable accommodations as quickly as possible to remove the workplace barriers for an employee or applicant. Full and open communication between the employee, the decision-maker, and the reasonable accommodation team (NRAC/LORAC) is a critical component of the accommodation process, and helps to ensure that there is a full exchange of relevant information so the Agency can make appropriate decisions. Ongoing, even extensive, communication between the decision-maker and/or the NRAC/LORAC and the applicant or employee is especially important when the specific limitation, problem, or obstacle is unclear.
The timing for resolution of requests involving facility access or modifications to the building can be difficult to determine because of necessary coordination with other federal agencies. All facility access requests will be handled as promptly as possible, and the person making the request should be updated every 10 work days until a determination is made.
Generally, when requests involving the essential job functions do not require supporting medical information, and no extenuating circumstances apply, the supervisor should determine whether the Agency will provide a reasonable accommodation and notify the employee within 10 working days from receiving the initial request.
If medical documentation is needed, the employee will have up to 45 business days to provide sufficient but limited medical documentation.
The EPA Procedures for Providing Reasonable Accommodation for EPA Employees and Applicants with Disabilities covers the process for how to make a request for a reasonable accommodation or personal assistance services (PAS), medical documentation, confidentiality, timelines, granting or denial of a request, etc. Additional information is provided about PAS in a separate reference guide.
To Request a Reasonable Accommodation at EPA, an applicant or employee can use the same form (Appendix B). The request can be made verbally or in writing. The form is not required.
To request Personal Assistance Services, an employee can use the Appendix B form or make a request verbally or in writing. The form is not required.
The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) administers EPA’s National Reasonable Accommodation Program and all related activities pertaining to processing requests for accommodations, providing guidance and training to EPA employees in their various roles (supervisor, requestor, LORACs, etc.); assisting with issue resolution and the development of or assistance with developing associated policies and procedures; and maintains the reasonable accommodation files including medical documentation. Persons with a ** next to their name are on detail to another office and may have limited availability. You may always email Amanda Sweda and Kristin Tropp, NRACs for assistance.
If you email the Senior National Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator (NRAC), Amanda Sweda, please include Kristin Tropp, NRAC and vice versa. Email is the best and preferred method to contact us. You may also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
|HQ Location||HQs POC|
|AO - Office of the Administrator||Amanda Sweda|
|OAR - Office of Air and Radiation||Kristin Tropp|
|OCFO - Office of Chief Financial Officer||Amanda Sweda|
|OCSPP - Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention||Amanda Sweda|
|OECA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance||Kristin Tropp|
|OGC - Office of General Counsel||Kristin Tropp|
OIG - Office of Inspector General
*OIG is the only HQ office that has a LORAC
LORACs – Rufus “Erik” Mabry
|OITA - Office of International and Tribal Affairs||Kristin Tropp|
|OLEM - Office of Land and Emergency Management||Kristin Tropp|
|OMS - Office of Mission Support||Kristin Tropp|
|ORD - Office of Research and Development||Amanda Sweda|
|OW - Office of Water||Amanda Sweda|
LORACS are an invaluable part of EPA Reasonable Accommodation Program given the geographical locations and number of EPA employees. LORACs serve as the principal advisor to management and employees within their designated region, lab, or office, and report to the Senior NRAC, NRAC, and Regional NRAC (if applicable) on reasonable accommodations requests or concerns for employees and applicants for employment with disabilities. *Office of Inspector General is the only Headquarters Office with LORACs. Persons with a ** next to their name are on detail to another office and may have limited availability. You may always email Amanda Sweda and Kristin Tropp, NRACs for assistance.
|HQ Location||LORAC||LORAC 2||HQ POC|
|Region 1||Jason Grazick||Amanda Sweda|
|Region 2||Ann-Heng Jen||Kristin Tropp|
|Region 3||Geoffrey Ng||Amanda Sweda|
|Region 4||Desiree Martin||Kristin Tropp|
|Region 5||Scott Sharon**||Maria Zamora-Ceballos||Amanda Sweda|
|Region 6||Terry Roundtree||Kristin Tropp|
|Region 7||Euleashia Embry||Amanda Sweda|
|Region 8||Carla Guelker||Joshua “Josh” Vigil||Kristin Tropp|
|Region 9||Elizabeth Taylor**||Jocelin Keil||Amanda Sweda|
|Region 10||Shawn Drummond**||Kristin Tropp|
|Ann Arbor, Michigan||Pamela Christian||Timothy Dorwin||Kristin Tropp|
|Cincinnati||Lonnie Gates||Kristin Tropp|
|Research Triangle Park (RTP)||Brett Nesbit||Susan Nabors||Amanda Sweda|
|Office of Inspector General (OIG) *||Rufus “Erik” Mabry||Yoscheanea “YG” Green
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides leadership and guidance to federal agencies on disability, disability discrimination, and reasonable accommodation, as well as on all aspects of the federal government's equal employment opportunity program.
- The Job Accommodation Network (JAN)is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues to managers and employees.
- The Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) EPA has a memorandum of understanding with the CAP program, which is a program administered by the Department of Defense. EPA employees must have a reasonable accommodation on file with EPA in order to make a request for a needs assessment and consultation about assistive technology.
A3 - Answer: Only applicants for federal employment and federal employees who are disabled in accordance with Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, are eligible for reasonable accommodation consideration. Per the Rehabilitation Act, an individual with a disability is qualified if (1) they satisfy the requisite skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the position; and (2) they can perform the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation.
A4 - Answer: Under the Rehabilitation Act, an individual is disabled if the individual has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity; or has a record of such an impairment.
A5 - Answer: To have a disability, an individual must be substantially limited in performing a major life activity as compared to most people in the general population. The following rules of construction are applied to determine if the individual is substantially limited in performing a major life activity:
- An impairment need not prevent, significantly or severely restrict, the individual from performing a major life activity to be considered substantially limiting;
- The term substantially limits should be construed broadly in favor of expansive coverage;
- Requires an individualized assessment;
- The determination of disability should not require extensive analysis;
- Usually, it will not require scientific, medical, or statistical evidence, but such evidence may be used if appropriate;
- An individual need only be substantially limited, or have a record of a substantial limitation, in one major life activity to be covered under the first or second prong of the definition of disability.
A6 - Answer: Major Life Activities: Include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. Major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.
A7 - Answer: There are no specific impairments or disabilities that are listed in the regulations as automatically considered a disability.
A8 - Answer: Generally, the employee or applicant is responsible for requesting a reasonable accommodation. An individual acting as a designee on behalf of the employee/applicant may also request a reasonable accommodation on behalf of the employee/applicant. The reasonable accommodation process begins when an individual request a reasonable accommodation and the request is linked to a medical condition. The applicant or employee (or their designee) does not need to mention laws like Section 501, Rehab Act, or use the phrase "reasonable accommodation" or say “I have a disability” when requesting an accommodation. The applicant or employee or designee does not need to make a request in writing for the reasonable accommodation process to begin. Therefore, any time an applicant or employee or designee indicates orally or in writing that they need a workplace change or modification or is having a problem and the need or problem is related to a medical condition, it may be a reasonable accommodation request and needs to be acted upon expeditiously.
A9 - Answer: Yes. Under the Rehabilitation Act, the duty of the Agency to provide reasonable accommodation is an ongoing one. Thus, an individual with a disability may request an accommodation whenever they choose. An individual may also request to modify a current reasonable accommodation, when necessary. That request will then trigger EPA's obligation to start the interactive process identified in the procedures.
A10 - Answer: The communication between an employee (or applicant) and the decision-maker and the process of working together to come up with an effective accommodation is known as the interactive process.
Q11 - What does Senior NRAC, NRAC and LORAC mean? Can they help me with my Reasonable Accommodation request?
A11 - Answer: Senior National Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator and National Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator (NRAC) are the subject matter expert(s) for Agency employees and decision-makers to use in requesting and providing reasonable accommodation. On a case-by-case basis for each Region, Laboratory or Geographical Area (e.g., RTP, Cincinnati), many of the responsibilities of the NRAC may be delegated to a Local Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator (LORAC) in an EPA Region, Laboratory or Geographical Area. If you want to request to make adjustments to your current reasonable accommodation agreement or you need to make a reasonable accommodation request, please contact the Reasonable Accommodation Team at ReasonableAccommodations@epa.gov. View a complete listing of reasonable accommodation contacts
Q12 - What Reasonable Accommodation procedures should I use if I need to update my Reasonable Accommodation or make a new request and who can help me?
A12 - Answer: As of July 8, 2019, EPA has one reasonable accommodation procedure for all employees and applicants. This procedure is available on the EPA Reasonable Accommodation Procedure and Request Form page. The EPA Procedures for Providing Reasonable Accommodation for EPA Employees and Applicants with Disabilities covers the process for how to make a request for a reasonable accommodation, medical documentation, confidentiality, timelines, granting or denial of a request, etc.
A13 - Answer: The coordination of the Reasonable Accommodation program is the responsibility of the Senior National Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator (NRAC) and NRAC, in the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). NRAC is used to include both the Senior NRAC and NRAC in the FAQs. There are Local Reasonable Accommodation Coordinators (LORAC) in headquarters (Office of Inspector General only), each region, Research Triangle Park (RTP), Cincinnati, and Ann Arbor to assist with the implementation of the program. View a list of Reasonable Accommodation Coordinators.
A14 - Answer: No. All requests, either oral or in writing, must be processed. The agency is required to track reasonable accommodation requests and the procedure provides reporting forms in the appendices (https://www.epa.gov/ocr/reasonable-accommodation-procedures-and-form-reasonable-accommodation-requests). For the purpose of tracking reasonable accommodations, it is expected that all oral requests be put in writing in accordance with the instructions in the procedures.
A15 - Answer: An employee may submit a reasonable accommodation request to anyone in their supervisory chain of command or to the NRAC or LORAC. The individual making a request or the individual receiving the request should contact the NRAC and/or LORAC for further information.
A16 - Answer: Yes. The EPA Reasonable Accommodation Procedures outline the specific information that must be tracked in accordance with EEOC guidelines. This information is tracked by the NRAC.
A17 - Answer: The designated agency decision-maker is authorized to approve or deny a request for reasonable accommodation. Generally, the decision-maker is the employee’s immediate or first line supervisor.
Q18 - Are there specific time limits for granting/approving or denying a Reasonable Accommodation request?
A18 - Answer: Yes. EPA will process requests for reasonable accommodation and provide accommodations in as short a time frame as is reasonably possible. EPA 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 information. A request for a reasonable accommodation will be processed and a decision made to approve or deny a request for reasonable accommodation within 20 business days of the initial request, unless there are extenuating circumstances warranting extensions of time frames and/or additional medical documentation is needed to address the limitations. For more information about time limits regarding processing requests please refer to the EPA Reasonable Accommodation Procedures.
Q19 - What extenuating circumstances could warrant an extension of the time frames for reasonable accommodations
A19 - Answer: There may be situations in which meeting the time frames for processing requests or providing a reasonable accommodation may not be possible because of extenuating circumstances. Extenuating circumstances are factors that could not reasonably have been anticipated or avoided in advance of the request for a reasonable accommodation. Extenuating circumstances cover situations in which unforeseen or unavoidable events prevent prompt processing of a request and provision of an accommodation. When extenuating circumstances are present, the time for processing will be extended as reasonably necessary. The decision-maker must notify the applicant or employee of the reason for the delay, and the approximate date on which a decision, or provision of the accommodation, is expected. The decision-maker, Senior NRAC, NRAC, or LORAC should update the person making the request every 10 business days to the extent that it is practical.
A20 - Answer: When a request for reasonable accommodation is made, EPA is entitled to know that an employee or applicant has a disability that requires a reasonable accommodation. In some cases the disability and need for accommodation, as well as the most appropriate accommodation, will be obvious to the decision-maker or sufficient medical documentation of the disability will have been previously submitted. However, when a disability and/or need for reasonable accommodation is not previously documented or obvious to the decision-maker, the decision-maker can request that the individual provide medical documentation.
A21 - Answer: The answer depends on the facts specific to the individual, their condition, and what they are requesting.
Q22 - When necessary, who receives and reviews the medical documentation to determine its sufficiency?
A22 - Answer: The NRACs review the medical documentation for sufficiency to make a determination of disability in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC)implementing regulations. See 29 C.F.R. § 1614.203; 29 C.F.R. § 1630. . However, it is within the employee’s discretion to share - if they wish to do so - the medical documentation used for the reasonable accommodation request/process with those who have a “need to know” per the Privacy Act, including the decision-maker and/or the Local Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator (LORAC), if there is a LORAC working on the request.
A23 - Answer: No. Individuals protected under the Rehabilitation Act are not entitled to the accommodation of their choice, but rather to an “effective” accommodation (see A2). The decision-maker and employee or applicant should discuss via the interactive process why the specific accommodation being requested is needed and how that accommodation will allow the individual to perform essential job duties in a satisfactory manner. As part of the interactive process, the decision-maker may offer alternative suggestions for reasonable accommodation and discuss their effectiveness with the individual requesting the accommodation. When the decision-maker offers a substitute that is different from what the employee requested during the interactive process, the decision should also explain the reasons that the decision-maker believes that the substitute accommodation would be effective.
Q24 - Is EPA required to inform an individual of the decision made regarding their Reasonable Accommodation request?
A24 - Answer: Yes. It is required when a decision regarding the individual’s request is made, that the applicant or employee be informed in writing by the decision-maker. In the event that a request is denied, the decision must include the specific reason why the request was denied and inform the individual of their rights to appeal as well as other available avenues of redress. Standard language regarding this notification is included in the EPA Reasonable Accommodation Procedures.
A25 - Answer: Yes. Working from home (teleworking) may be considered a reasonable accommodation when the employee’s limitations resulting from the disabling medical condition prevent the employee from successfully performing the job on-site and the essential functions of the job, or parts of the job, can be performed at home without undue hardship. The employee and the decision-maker should discuss why this accommodation is needed as it relates to the functional limitations. Also, the discussion must include whether the employee’s work is portable and can be completed at home.
A26 - Answer: An employee may work at home only to the extent that the disability necessitates it and the employee is otherwise eligible for telework (e.g., they have sufficient portable work). For some employees, that may mean one day a week, two half-days, or every day for a period (e.g., for three months while an employee recovers from treatment or surgery related to a disability). In other instances, the nature of a disability may make it difficult to predict precisely when it will be necessary for an employee to work at home. For example, sometimes the effects of a disability become particularly severe on a periodic but irregular basis. When these flare-ups occur, they sometimes prevent an employee from getting to the workplace. In these instances, an employee might need to work at home on an "as needed" basis if they can perform the essential functions of the job and this accommodation does not cause undue hardship.
Q27 - Previous work schedule and telework policies accommodated my medical condition/disability so I never asked for a Reasonable Accommodation. What do I do?
A27 - Answer: If you are experiencing difficulties due to your medical condition/disability, please contact your supervisor or the Reasonable Accommodation Team at ReasonableAccommodations@epa.gov to discuss and start the reasonable accommodation process.
Q28 - May a decision-maker withdraw a telework arrangement or a modified schedule provided as a reasonable accommodation because the employee was given an unsatisfactory performance rating?
A28 - Answer: No. The decision-maker should not assume that an unsatisfactory rating means that the reasonable accommodation is not working. The decision-maker can proceed with the unsatisfactory performance rating but may also wish to determine the cause of the performance problem to help evaluate the effectiveness of the reasonable accommodation. If the reasonable accommodation is not assisting the employee in improving performance as intended, the decision-maker and the employee may need to explore whether an additional accommodation is needed, or whether the original accommodation should be withdrawn, and another accommodation should be substituted.
Q29 - If an employee’s disability causes a violation of a conduct rule, may management discipline the employee?
A29 - Answer: Yes. If the conduct rule is job-related and consistent with business necessity and other employees are held to the same standard. The Rehabilitation Act does not protect employees from the consequences of violating conduct requirements even where the conduct is caused by the disability. If an employee states that the disability is the cause of the conduct problem or requests reasonable accommodation, management may still discipline the employee for the misconduct. If the appropriate disciplinary action is termination, the Rehabilitation Act would not require further discussion about the employee’s disability or request for reasonable accommodation. If the discipline is something less than termination, management may ask about the disability's relevance to the misconduct, or if the employee thinks there is an accommodation that could help them avoid future misconduct. If an accommodation is requested, management should begin an interactive process to determine whether one is needed to correct a conduct problem, and, if so, what accommodation would be effective.
Q30 - What should a supervisor do if an employee requests a Reasonable Accommodation for the first time in response to counseling or a low performance rating?
A30 - Answer: The supervisor may proceed with the discussion or evaluation but also should begin the interactive process by discussing with the employee how the disability may be affecting performance and what accommodation the employee believes may help to improve the performance. The supervisor cannot refuse to discuss the request or fail to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee with a disability who is receiving counseling or a low performance rating or other disciplinary actions. If a reasonable accommodation is needed to assist an employee with a disability in addressing a performance problem and the decision-maker refuses to provide one, absent undue hardship, the decision-maker may have violated the Rehabilitation Act and the EPA Reasonable Accommodation Procedures.
A31 - Answer: Reassignment is the accommodation of last resort and is only considered when the decision-maker determines that no other reasonable accommodation will permit the employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of their current position, there is medical documentation indicating employee can no longer perform an essential function of their current job, or if other effective accommodations would cause undue hardship to the Agency. Specifics of the reassignment process can be found in HR Bulletin #10-003B, Reassignment of a Qualified Employee with a Disability, dated April 8, 2010 (Administrative Update: June 2, 2022), EPA Reasonable Accommodation Procedures Section XI Reassignment, and the EPA Reassignment as a Reasonable Accommodation Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).
A32 - Answer: Undue hardship occurs when a requested reasonable accommodation causes significant operational difficulties or substantial financial expenditures. When a requested reasonable accommodation is determined to cause undue hardship, EPA does not have to provide that particular accommodation. If the decision-maker determines that one particular reasonable accommodation will cause undue hardship, but a second type of reasonable accommodation will be effective and will not cause an undue hardship, then the decision-maker must provide the second accommodation. A determination of undue hardship is on a case-by-case basis and considers factors that include the nature and cost of the reasonable accommodation and its impact on the operations of the Agency.
Q33 - What do I do (decision-maker) if there is no money set aside in my budget to purchase items for a Reasonable Accommodation?
A33 - Answer: The EPA Reasonable Accommodation Procedures describe what is required if the accommodation being requested cannot be funded by the employee’s office. Research done by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) and the Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), indicates that the large majority of all reasonable accommodations cost less than $1,000. EEOC guidelines regarding Reasonable Accommodation requests under Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act clearly state that the overall budget of an agency/department would be considered, not just the operating budget of a particular office, region, unit, etc. According to current case law, regulations and EEOC guidance materials, it is unlikely that a reasonable accommodation will become an undue hardship solely as a result of its financial cost to an individual office. It is the responsibility of each program and regional office to fund reasonable accommodations. EPA does not provide centralized funds for reasonable accommodation costs. Some regions or EPA offices have decided to have a centralized fund to pay for reasonable accommodations. If there are budgetary concerns, an office should consult with their Senior Resource Official (SRO) to determine the resources that may be available.
Q34 - Does an applicant/employee have to know what specific accommodation they might need when they make a reasonable accommodation request?
A34 - Answer: An individual does need not to have a particular accommodation in mind before making a request; the NRAC and LORAC’s assistance includes helping the individual with ideas or resources to help determine what accommodations might help if the applicant or employee does not have a particular accommodation in mind before making a request. There are resources available from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) and from CAP (Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program) to assist when an employee or applicant is unsure of possible accommodations.
A35 - Answer: The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. JAN is a service provided the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). JAN’s consultants offer one-on-one guidance on workplace accommodations and is helpful for identifying ideas or tools that could help accommodate the employee in the workplace. Anyone can use the JAN services – applicant, employee, decision-maker, etc. Assistance is available both over the phone and online via https://askjan.org/.
A36 - Answer: EPA has had a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Computer/Electronics Accommodation Program (CAP) since September 20, 2001. Effective October 1, 2020 (FY21) CAP is no longer funded to procure or provide Assistive Technology (AT) and AT devices to Non–DoD agencies. CAP will gladly conduct assessments, provide information, referrals and assist Non-DoD agencies in determining the appropriate AT and AT devices to purchase by their agency. In order for an EPA employee to receive assistance from CAP, they must have an approved reasonable accommodation at EPA. AT can be used to maintain, increase, or improve an individual’s job performance, and are available to accommodate people with all types of disabilities. This includes both physical disabilities, as well as hidden cognitive disabilities. Contact the NRAC or your LORAC for more information about this program.
Q37- Who should managers, employees, or applicants contact with additional questions regarding reasonable accommodations?
A37 - Answer: Each region and the labs in Cincinnati and RTP have designated LORACs to assist management and employees with this process. The National Reasonable Accommodation Coordinators assist all headquarters employees and the other labs with the reasonable accommodation process. For more information regarding the reasonable accommodation program, please contact the Reasonable Accommodation Team at ReasonableAccommodations@epa.gov.
Q38- I have an employee who was hired through the Schedule A hiring authority. Do Schedule A hires automatically need reasonable accommodations?
A38 - Answer: No, not all Schedule A hires need a reasonable accommodation. Never assume that just because they were hired through this authority, that they automatically need a reasonable accommodation. Some Schedule A employees will need a reasonable accommodation, while others might not. You may ask an employee regardless of what hiring authority they were hired under if they need anything to enable them to perform the essential functions of the job.
Q1 - What is Personal Assistance Services (PAS)?
Q2 - Who is eligible for PAS?
- the individual is an employee of the agency;
- the individual has a targeted disability;
- the individual requires the PAS because of his or her targeted disability;
- the individual will be able to perform the essential functions of the job, without posing a direct threat to safety, once PAS and any required reasonable accommodations have been provided; and
- providing PAS will not impose undue hardship on the agency.
Notably, applicants for example with EPA are not eligible for PAS; however, such applicants may request a reasonable accommodation.
Q3 - How are requests for PAS processed?
A3 - Answer: The process for requesting PAS, the process for determining whether such services are required, and the agency's right to deny such requests when provision of the services would pose an undue hardship, are the same as for reasonable accommodations. PAS are determined using an individualized assessment on a case-by-case basis. For more information specific to PAS, please refer to the EPA PAS Reference Guide.
Q4 - What does targeted disability mean?
A4 - Answer: 29 C.F.R. § 1614.203(a)(9) defines a targeted disability as a disability that is designated as a “targeted disability or health condition” on the Office of Personnel Management's Standard Form 256
Examples of targeted disabilities include:
- Developmental Disability (for example, autism spectrum disorder)
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Deaf or serious difficulty hearing (benefiting from, for example, American Sign Language, CART, hearing aids, a cochlear implant and/or other supports)
- Blind or serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses
- Missing extremities (arm, leg, hand and/or foot)
- Significant mobility impairment (benefiting from the utilization of a wheelchair, scooter, walker, leg brace(s) and/or other supports)
- Partial or complete paralysis (any cause)
- Epilepsy or other seizure disorders
- Intellectual disability
- Significant Psychiatric Disorder (for example, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, or major depression)
- Significant disfigurement (for example, disfigurements caused by burns, wounds, accidents, or congenital disorders)
Q5 - Who can help me with my PAS request?
A5 - Answer: If you need to make a PAS request, please contact the Reasonable Accommodation Team at ReasonableAccommodations@epa.gov. View a complete listing of reasonable accommodation contacts.