70.1.3 Definition of Key Terms. Please see 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2 for a complete list of ADA regulatory definitions issued by the Department of Labor.
Reasonable Accommodation: In general, “reasonable accommodations” are reasonable changes in the work environment or in the way things are customarily done that enable a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy both equal employment opportunities and equal benefits and privileges of employment. As defined in 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(o)(1), “reasonable accommodation” means:
Modifications or adjustments to a job application process that enable a qualified applicant with a disability to be considered for the position such qualified applicant desires; or
Modifications or adjustments to the work environment, or to the manner of circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, that enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of that position; or
Modifications or adjustments that enable a covered entity’s employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by its other similarly situated employees without disabilities.
Disability means, with respect to an individual:
1. A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual;
2. A record of such impairment; or,
3. Being regarded as having such impairment.
Benefits or Privileges of Employment: Benefits and privileges of employment include, but are not limited to, employer-sponsored: (1) training, (2) services (e.g., employee assistance programs (EAPs), credit unions, cafeterias, lounges, gymnasiums, auditoriums, transportation), and (3) parties or other social functions (e.g., parties to celebrate retirements and birthdays, and company outings). If an employee with a disability needs a reasonable accommodation in order to gain access to, and have an equal opportunity to participate in, these benefits and privileges, then the employer must provide the accommodation unless it can show undue hardship.
Major Life Activities: Include but are not limited to caring for oneself, speaking, walking, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, breathing, learning, and working.
Physical or Mental Impairment means:
Any physiological disorder, or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, respiratory, genito-urinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine; or,
Any mental or psychological disorder, such as an intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.
Invisible or Hidden Disabilities: These are disabilities that are not easily recognizable, and may include asthma, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, epilepsy, kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic depression, learning disabilities and minor intellectual disabilities.
Dispute Resolution Process: Any voluntary mechanism where an individual can request reconsideration of the denial of reasonable accommodation, regardless of whether the individual has begun the EEO complaint process.
Qualified Individual with a Disability: An individual with a disability is qualified if (1) she or he satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the position; and, (2) she or he can perform the essential functions of the position, with or without a reasonable accommodation. See 29 C.F.R. § 1630.3 for exceptions to this definition, including kleptomania and persons currently engaging in illegal drug use.
Essential Functions: In general, those job duties that are so fundamental to the position that the individual holds or desires that s/he cannot do the job without performing them. A job function may be considered "essential" for any of several reasons, including but not limited to the following: the position exists to perform that function; there are a limited number of employees available to perform the function; and/or, the function is highly specialized so that the individual is hired based on his/her ability to perform the particular function. Determination of the essential functions of a position must be done on a case-by-case basis so that it reflects the job as actually performed, and not simply the components of a generic position description.
Genetic Information: As defined by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), it includes information concerning the manifestation of disease/disorder in family members (“family medical history”), information about an individual’s or family member’s genetic tests, the fact that an individual or an individual’s family member sought or received genetic services, and genetic information of a fetus carried by an individual or an individual’s family member or an embryo lawfully held by an individual or family member receiving assistive reproductive services.
Reassignment: Reasonable accommodation of last resort, that, absent undue hardship, is provided to employees (not applicants) who, because of a disability, can no longer perform the essential functions of their job, with or without reasonable accommodation. Reassignments are made only to funded vacant positions and for employees who are qualified to fill the vacant position. Informing an employee that she/he may apply for or otherwise compete for a position does not satisfy the obligation of appropriate officials to review vacancies to determine if there is another position at the same or lower grade which the employee is qualified to perform. If the employee is qualified for the position, she/he will be reassigned to the job and will not have to compete.
Decision Maker: As outlined below, in subsection 126.96.36.199, the possible decision makers include the employee’s immediate supervisor or another manager in the chain of command and the EEO Office. For applicants, it would be the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) staff member handling the application or the TIGTA manager involved in the hiring process.
Undue Hardship: In general, if the provision of an accommodation causes significant difficulty or expense to the employer, then TIGTA may not have to provide that particular accommodation. Determination of undue hardship is always made on a case-by-case basis. Factors to be considered include: nature and net cost of the accommodation (taking into consideration the availability of outside funding), overall financial resources of the facility or facilities involved in the provision of the reasonable accommodation, the number of persons employed at such facility, the effect on expenses and resources of the facility, overall financial resources of the employer, the type of operations of the employer (including the composition, structure and functions of the workforce of the employer), the geographic separateness and administrative or fiscal relationship of the facility or facilities in question to the employer; and, the impact the accommodation would have on the operation of the facility or agency (including the impact on the ability of other employees to perform their duties and the impact on the facility’s ability to conduct business).
Before denying an accommodation based on “undue hardship” the decision maker must ensure the EEO Program Manager and the Office of Chief Counsel reviews the denial and the determination that the request poses an undue hardship.
Voluntary Modification: An adjustment or alteration granted outside of the reasonable accommodation process without requiring the individual to establish that s/he has a disability. Such a modification is particularly appropriate where the modification is easy and inexpensive, i.e., a request for an ergonomic computer mouse or large screen glare protector. Provision of a voluntary modification does not mean the individual is considered to be an individual with a disability as defined herein or regarded as such under the ADAAA. Voluntary modifications can include temporary accommodations such as the use of an additional laptop at home for a limited time frame or expanded telework opportunities for an individual with temporary medical injuries sustained through accidents or other incidents. Managers and employees should work with the EEO Program Manager and respective function staff (e.g., Offices of Mission Support (OMS) and Information Technology (OIT)) to determine appropriate voluntary modifications for accommodation purposes.
70.1.4 Voluntary Modification Procedures. A manager or any designated official may choose to grant a voluntary modification outside of the reasonable accommodation process. When applicable and when the requested modification is easy and/or inexpensive, this option allows managers/designated officials to grant a modification without first establishing that the individual has a disability. Managers and employees may consult with the EEO Program Manager to determine appropriate voluntary modifications. As TIGTA strives to be an employer of choice, managers or designated officials are encouraged to provide applicants and employees with a modification that will allow them to apply for a job, perform job duties, or enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment.
Typically, a voluntary modification will not require supporting medical documentation. However, if medical documentation is necessary for a voluntary modification, the documentation requirement must be minimal and straightforward in nature. If the medical information provided necessitates interpretation, a medical opinion and/or a medical release, the request shall be considered and processed as a request for a reasonable accommodation.
Making a voluntary modification does not, standing alone, mean and may not be used to imply, that TIGTA has determined the individual is an individual with a disability or that an accommodation is needed. Employees may use the voluntary modification form (Exhibit (200)-70.2). The completed form should be sent to the EEO Program Manager for record-keeping purposes.
Some examples of voluntary modification include, but are not limited to the following:
An applicant requests the vacancy announcement in large print.
An employee requests an ergonomic keyboard.
An employee requests a footrest to elevate his/her legs to decrease swelling in legs or feet.
An employee requests a chair with back support to help with back pain.
70.1.5 Reasonable Accommodation Procedures. TIGTA fully complies with all requirements of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. Under the law, Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees or applicants with disabilities, unless to do so would cause undue hardship. TIGTA is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to its employees and applicants for employment in order to ensure that individuals with disabilities enjoy full access to equal employment opportunity and equal benefits and privileges of employment. TIGTA shall consider requests for reasonable accommodations:
when a qualified applicant with a disability needs an accommodation during the application/hiring process;
when a qualified employee with a disability needs an accommodation to enable him or her to perform the essential functions of the job or to gain access to the workplace; and,
when a qualified employee with a disability needs an accommodation to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as similarly situated employees without disabilities.
TIGTA will process requests for reasonable accommodation and, where appropriate, provide reasonable accommodations in a prompt, fair and efficient manner.
188.8.131.52 Making a Reasonable Accommodation Request. A request for reasonable accommodation is a statement that an individual needs an adjustment or change in the job application process, the work environment, or in the provision of a benefit or privilege of employment for a reason related to a claimed qualifying disability. The reasonable accommodation process begins as soon as the request for accommodation is made.
A request does not have to necessarily contain specific language, such as "reasonable accommodation," "disability," or "Rehabilitation Act." An individual with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation whenever s/he chooses, even if s/he has not previously disclosed the existence of a disability. Any TIGTA employee or applicant may consult the EEO Program Manager for further information or assistance in connection with requesting or processing a request for a reasonable accommodation.
An employee may submit a reasonable accommodation orally or in writing to his/her supervisor or another supervisor in his/her immediate chain of command and/or the EEO Office.
An applicant may submit a reasonable accommodation request orally or in writing. In addition, any TIGTA or BFS employee who has contact with the applicant during the application process may submit a reasonable accommodation request on behalf of the applicant. BFS is responsible for training the members of its staff who are involved in the application process to recognize requests for reasonable accommodation and to handle them appropriately.
A family member, health professional, or other representative may request an accommodation on behalf of a TIGTA employee or applicant. The request should go to one of the same persons to whom the employee or applicant would make the request.
Once the designated decision maker receives the request for accommodation, s/he will (1) acknowledge the request in writing, (2) explain to the requestor that s/he will be making the decision on the request, and (3) explain the steps in processing his/her request for reasonable accommodation (i.e. time limits, interactive process, etc.).