Once an accommodation has been approved, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Reasonable Accommodation
Specialist may recommend that both the supervisor and employee enter into a Reasonable
Accommodation Agreement. Although not required, such an agreement serves to
clarify the nature of the accommodation granted. Reasons for having such an
agreement include the following:
- In some cases, the accommodated employee's functional limitations might
increase or decrease, thus requiring periodic reviews and adjustments to the
approved accommodation(s). For example, some disabilities are degenerative in
nature and may require additional accommodation(s).
- Conversely, a disability may improve to the point that an approved
accommodation can be ameliorated or removed.
Once an accommodation has been approved and a Reasonable Accommodation
Agreement entered into, if requested, the Reasonable Accommodation Specialist
or designee will review the accommodation on an as needed basis with the
supervisor and employee to determine if any changes are needed or if continued
accommodation is required.
Such an agreement should contain the following:
- The approved accommodation.
- The responsibilities and expectations of both parties.
- The need for periodic evaluations/reviews, if applicable.
Once a permanent (long-term) impairment has been documented, the
decisionmaker's request for further information should be limited to reasonable
documentation on the need for further accommodation (if the need is not
obvious) and not on the existence of the disability/impairment itself.
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The decisionmaker must consult with
the Reasonable Accommodation Specialist before initiating the decision to deny
At this point, if the decisionmaker has an alternative accommodation that
has not already been offered to the employee, the decisionmaker may do so now.
However, if the employee rejects it or the decisionmaker decides that the
reasonable accommodation should be denied for other reasons, the decisionmaker
must complete the "Denial of Reasonable Accommodation Request" form and give
the completed form to the individual who requested the accommodation, as well
as sending a copy to the FDA Reasonable Accommodation Specialist. The
explanation for the denial should be written in plain language, clearly stating
the specific reasons for the denial. When the decisionmaker has denied a
specific requested accommodation but offered to make a different one in its
place, which the employee rejected, the denial notice should explain both the
reasons for the denial of the requested accommodation and the reasons that the
decisionmaker believes that the chosen accommodation would be effective. Reasons
for the denial of a request for reasonable accommodation may include the
following (however, 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
- The requested accommodation would not be effective.
- Providing the requested accommodation would result in
undue hardship. Before reaching this determination, the decisionmaker must
have explored whether other effective accommodation options that would not
impose undue hardship exist and therefore can be provided. A determination
of undue hardship means that the Agency finds that a specific
accommodation would result in significant difficulty or expense, or would
fundamentally alter the nature of the operating division's operations.
When evaluating budgetary or administrative concerns to determine if undue
hardship exists, AHRQ will follow the standards set forth in regulations
and in "Enforcement Guidance on
Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship Under the Americans With
Disabilities Act" (available at http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/accommodation.html).
- Medical documentation is inadequate to establish that the
individual has a disability and/or needs a reasonable accommodation.
- 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 shall inform the individual that he or she has
the right to file an Equal Employment
Opportunity (EEO) complaint and may have rights to pursue Merit Systems
Protection Board (MSPB) procedures. The notice shall also explain the
procedures available for appeal of a denial of reasonable accommodation.
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Individuals with disabilities can
request prompt reconsideration of a denial of reasonable accommodation.
- If an individual desires reconsideration, he or she should
ask the decisionmaker to reconsider the decision. The individual may
present additional information in support of the request. The designated
manager will respond to the request for reconsideration within 5
- If the decisionmaker is the supervisor, and he or she does
not reverse the decision, the individual can ask the Office/Center
Director to do so. The Office/Center Director will respond to this request
within 10 business days.
- If the decisionmaker is the Office/Center Director, and he
or she does not reverse the decision, the individual can ask the AHRQ Deputy
Director to do so. The AHRQ Deputy Director will respond to this request
within 10 business days.
- In all other circumstances, the request for
reconsideration will be submitted to the original decisionmaker within 5 business
days. If the original decisionmaker denies the request for
reconsideration, the individual may present the request to the next level
supervisor, who will respond to the request within 10 business days. If
the original decision is not reversed, the request for reconsideration may
be elevated to the next management official within the chain of command,
who will respond within 10 business
At any point in this process, the individual may also contact the Conflict
Prevention and Resolution Office in the FDA's Office of Equal
Employment Opportunity and Diversity Management (OEEODM) and initiate the Informal
Pursuing any of the informal dispute resolution procedures identified above,
including seeking reconsideration from the original decisionmaker and appealing
to the next person in the chain of command, does not affect the time limits for initiating statutory 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 or MSPB procedures.
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The decisionmaker will complete the "Reasonable Accommodation Information
Tracking" form and submit it to the FDA Reasonable Accommodation Specialist
within 10 business days of the decision. The decisionmaker
should attach to the form a copy of all information received as part of
processing the request, including medical information.
- The FDA Reasonable Accommodation Team will maintain the
records for the employee's tenure with AHRQ or 5 years, whichever is
- An annual report will also be provided to the HHS EEO
Programs Group, along with the annual "Affirmative Action Program for
Individuals With Disabilities Report."
- The report will contain the following information,
presented in the aggregate:
- The number of reasonable accommodations, by type, that
were requested in the application process, and whether these requests
were granted or denied.
- The jobs (occupational series, grade level, and Agency
component) for which reasonable accommodation has been requested.
- The types of reasonable accommodation that have been
requested for each of those jobs.
- The number of reasonable accommodations, by type, for
each job that were approved, and the number of accommodations, by type,
that were denied.
- The number of requests for reasonable accommodation, by
type, that relate to the benefits or privileges of employment, and
whether those requests were granted or denied.
- The reasons for denial of requests for reasonable
- The amount of time taken to process each request for
- The sources of technical assistance that were consulted
in trying to identify possible reasonable accommodations.
- In addition, the report will provide a qualitative
assessment of AHRQ's reasonable accommodation policies and procedures,
including recommendations for improvement.
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This policy is in addition to statutory protections for persons
with disabilities and the remedies these protections provide for the denial of
requests for reasonable accommodation, and does not take the place of these provisions. Requirements governing the initiation of statutory claims, including
time frames for filing such claims, remain unchanged.
An individual who chooses to pursue statutory remedies for denial of
reasonable accommodation must perform
- For an EEO complaint: contact an EEO counselor in the FDA's
OEEODM within 45 days from the date of receipt of the written "Denial of
Reasonable Accommodation Request" or reconsidered denial.
- Initiate an appeal to MSPB within 30 days of an adverse
action that can be appealed as defined in 5 C.F.R. §1201.3.
If a member of the FDA's OEEODM 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.
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The AHRQ reasonable accommodation procedures shall be posted on the AHRQ Web
site. These procedures will be provided in alternative formats when requested
by or on behalf of any employee or applicant.
Any person wanting further information concerning these procedures may
contact the FDA Reasonable Accommodation Team, OEEODM, at (301) 827-4840.
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Appendix A. Readers,
Interpreters, and Other Personal Assistants
AHRQ will make readers, interpreters, and other personal assistants
available as appropriate. Other personal assistants 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 file. The investigator would perform the essential
functions of the position—that is, conduct the investigation and draft
documents—and the assistant would perform only the physical task. 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 disability.
Readers, interpreters, or other personal assistants hired to fill approved
positions may be appointed under the noncompetitive Schedule A authority, 5 C.F.R.
§213.3102 (ll). Persons with disabilities hired as readers, interpreters, or
assistants may also be hired under the §213.3102 (u) authority.
AHRQ Interpreting Services Policy
Sign language interpreting is a reasonable accommodation that may be
required by 1) individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing who want to
participate equally in the workplace, 2) visitors entitled access to Agency
programs that are offered to the public, or 3) applicants applying for a
position within AHRQ. Upon request, the Agency will provide sign language
interpreters for all AHRQ-sponsored events, including applicant interviews,
orientations, meetings, functions, training, office parties, or other events taking
place during regular business hours.
Work Events Outside of the Workplace
AHRQ will provide a sign language 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 the employee attends a conference or training program that
is sponsored by an outside organization, the sponsoring organization is
principally responsible for providing interpreters. AHRQ will provide
interpreting services, however, if the sponsoring organization fails to do so.
Employees who are deaf or hard of hearing should schedule a sign language interpreter
when services are needed to interpret business-related telephone calls. These
employees may also request that the interpreters retrieve and report all
voicemail messages. Telecommunication relay services are available to all
employees to serve telephone needs when a sign language interpreter is not
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Appendix B. Selected
Reasonable Accommodation Resources
Computer Electronic Accommodations Programs (CAP)
AHRQ Contact: FDA Reasonable Accommodation Specialist, (301) 827-4840
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) now has an Interagency
Agreement with CAP to provide assistive technology, devices, and services to
HHS employees with disabilities at no cost, as granted by the National Defense
Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The EEOC's Publication Center has many free documents on the Title I
employment provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), including
the statute, 42 U.S.C. §12101 (1994), and the regulations, 29 C.F.R. §1630 (1997).
In addition, 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"), 29 C.F.R. Appendix to Part 1630
(1997), and 2) Chapter III of the ADA Employment Provisions (Title I) Technical
Assistance Manual (1992). The Manual includes a 200-page Resource Directory of federal
and State agencies and disability organizations that can provide assistance in
identifying and locating reasonable accommodations.
The EEOC has also discussed issues involving reasonable accommodation in the
following guidance documents: 1) "Enforcement Guidance: Preemployment
Disability-Related Questions and Medical Examinations" (1995), 2) "Enforcement
Guidance: Workers' Compensation and the ADA" (1996), 3) "Enforcement Guidance:
The Americans With Disabilities Act and Psychiatric Disabilities" (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" (1996), and 5) "Enforcement
Guidance: Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Examinations of Employees
Under the Americans With Disabilities Act" (2000).
All of the above-listed documents, with the exception of the ADA Technical
Assistance Manual and Resource Directory, are also available at http://www.eeoc.gov.
Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
A service of the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment
Policy, JAN provides free information about many types of reasonable
ADA Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers (DBTACs)
DBTACs consist of 10 federally funded regional centers that provide
information, training, and technical assistance for the ADA. Each center works
with local business, disability, government, rehabilitation, and other
professional networks to provide current ADA information and assistance, and
places special emphasis on meeting the needs of small businesses. DBTACs provide
referrals to local sources of expertise in reasonable accommodations.
Registry of Interpreters
for the Deaf (RID)
(703) 838-0459 (TTY)
(703) 838-0030 (Voice)
RID is a national membership organization of professionals who provide sign
language interpreting/transliterating services for persons who are deaf and
hard of hearing. Its goal is to promote the profession of interpreting and
transliterating of both American sign language and English. RID's mission is to
provide international, national, regional, State, and local forums an
organizational structure for the continued growth and development of the
professions of interpretation and transliteration of American sign language and
The RID national office has at its disposal a vast array of informational
resources on the field of interpreting, including papers on "Interpreting
Standards and Practices" and "How to Hire and Work With an Interpreter."
(703) 524-6639 (TTY)
(703) 524-6686 (Voice)
RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive
Technology Society of North America, refers individuals to projects in all 50 States
and the six territories that offer technical assistance on technology-related
services for individuals with disabilities. Services may include:
- Information and referral centers to help determine what devices
may assist a person with a disability (including access to large databases
containing information on thousands of commercially available assistive
- Centers where individuals can try out devices and equipment.
- Assistance in obtaining funding for and repairing devices.
- Equipment exchange and recycling programs.
USDA TARGET Center
(202) 720-2600 (Voice/TTY)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Target
Center has a wide variety of assistive devices available for federal employees
to examine and test.
Rehabilitation Services Agencies
Rehabilitation Services Agencies are State agencies that provide support for
the employment, economic self-sufficiency, and independence of individuals with
disabilities. They are listed in the local phone book under "State services" or
as "Vocational Rehabilitation Offices."
Services for the Visually Impaired
(301) 589-0894 (Voice)
This organization converts documents to Braille for persons who have minimal
or no vision. After arranging for payment, documents are sent to Services for
the Visually Impaired as an E-mail attachment, and the Braille copy will be
mailed to the requesting agency.
National Captioning Institute
(703) 917-7600 (Voice/TTY)
Federal law requires that all videos include captions, preferably open
captions. The National Captioning Institute adds captions to videos.
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Current as of December 2011
AHRQ Procedures for Providing Reasonable Accommodation for Individuals With Disabilities. December 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/eeo/reasaccom.htm