To enable TIGTA to keep accurate records regarding requests for accommodation, employees seeking a reasonable accommodation must follow up an oral request either by completing the attached Reasonable Accommodation Request form (Exhibit 200-70.1) or otherwise confirming their request in writing (including by e-mail) to the EEO Program Manager. For job applicants seeking a reasonable accommodation, the official receiving the request must give the job applicant the Reasonable Accommodation Request form to fill out. A copy of the Reasonable Accommodation Request form must be provided to the TIGTA official responsible for processing the request. If an individual with a disability requires assistance with this requirement, the staff member receiving the request will provide that assistance.
While the written confirmation should be made as soon as possible following an oral request, TIGTA will begin processing written and oral requests when they are received, whether or not written confirmation of an oral request has been provided.
When an individual needs a reasonable accommodation on a repeated basis (e.g., the assistance of sign language interpreters or readers), the written form is required only for the first request. However, appropriate advance notice must be given each time the accommodation is needed.
Information Tracking and Reporting. The decision maker will complete the Exhibit (200)-70.1, reasonable accommodation form or the Exhibit (200)-70.2, Voluntary Modification Form and submit it to the EEO Program Manager within 10 business days of the decision. The decision maker should attach to the form(s) copies of all information, including medical information; s/he received in connection with the request.
The EEO Program Manager will annually evaluate the reasonable accommodation program, which will include the voluntary modification and accommodation portion. An effective reasonable accommodation program is part of a model EEO program and results will be included in TIGTA’s MD-715 report.
The EEO Program Manager will maintain these records for five years or the length of the employee's tenure with TIGTA, whichever is longer.
The EEO Program Manager will collect and maintain a record of the following aggregate information for each fiscal year, which may be obtained by individual managers or employees as allowable under federal confidentiality law.
the number of reasonable accommodations that have been requested in the application process and whether the requests have been granted or denied;
the jobs for which reasonable accommodations have been requested;
the types of reasonable accommodations that have been requested for each of those jobs;
the number of reasonable accommodations, by type, for each job that have been approved, and the number of accommodations, by type, that have been denied;
the number of requests for reasonable accommodations, by type, that relate to the benefits or privileges of employment, and whether the requests have been granted or denied;
the reasons for denial of requests for reasonable accommodation;
the amount of time (calendar days) taken to process each request for reasonable accommodation;
the sources of technical assistance that have been consulted in trying to identify possible reasonable accommodations; and,
the number of voluntary modifications and accommodations provided.
22.214.171.124 Time Frames for Processing Requests/Providing Reasonable Accommodation. If a request can be processed by the employee's supervisor, no supporting medical information is required, and no extenuating circumstances apply, the request shall be processed and the accommodation, if approved, provided as soon as possible but no later than 20 business days from the date the supervisor receives the request.
Certain "extenuating circumstances" may require longer time frames for providing reasonable accommodations (e.g., if medical documentation is required). Should medical documentation be requested the time will be extended until sufficient medical documentation is provided. The decision maker shall resume the processing of the request immediately upon receipt of adequate medical documentation.
Denial of reasonable accommodation must be n writing, in a memorandum signed by the decision maker. The written memorandum should explain the reason for the denial and the individual's right to ask for reconsideration, first from the decision maker and then from another designated individual.
126.96.36.199 Determining Which TIGTA Official Will Handle the Request. As the first step in processing a request for reasonable accommodation, the individual who receives the request must determine who will be responsible for handling the request and forward it, if necessary. The person who handles the request for accommodation will be referred to as the "decision maker." The possible decision makers include: an employee's supervisor or managerial chain and, during the hiring process, either BFS (to facilitate the application process) or the TIGTA manager responsible for making the hiring decision. The individual receiving a request for accommodation should follow the instructions below to determine which of these individuals should receive the request.
The reasonable accommodation request should be forwarded to the appropriate person as soon as possible but in no more than five business days from receipt of the request. All completed requests for reasonable accommodation must be sent to the EEO Program Manager.
The BFS will handle the requests that seek accommodation in order to apply for a TIGTA position. Requests for accommodation from applicants (during the hiring process) will be handled by BFS or the TIGTA manager responsible for making the hiring decision. The BFS is required to coordinate with TIGTA’s Office of Chief Counsel prior to denying a reasonable accommodation request.
Requests for accommodation from employees will be handled by the requesting employee's immediate supervisor or managerial chain.
Certain requests for accommodation will be coordinated with various functions to obtain additional information or help in implementing a necessary accommodation. These requests include:
Requests for adaptive equipment, including information technology and communications equipment, or specially designed furniture. The EEO Program Manager will provide contact/resource information and guidance to obtain adaptive equipment. The decision maker will coordinate these requests and furniture requests with Office of Information Technology (OIT) and OMS.
Requests for a reader or sign language interpreter, or other staff assistant to enable employees to perform their job functions, where the accommodation cannot be provided by current staff. The EEO Program Manager will provide contact/resource information and guidance to obtain interpreter services or other staff assistance. The decision maker will coordinate such requests with OMS.
Requests for the removal of architectural barriers, including reconfigured work spaces. The EEO Program Manager will provide contact/resource information and/or guidance to the decision maker. The decision maker will coordinate these requests with OMS who will, as necessary, coordinate with the General Services Administration or the owner of the building.
Requests by headquarters staff for accessible parking will be coordinated through OMS.
Requests for materials in alternative formats (e.g., Braille, large print) which cannot be handled by the supervisor, an Assistant Inspector General, or the Function Heads should be coordinated through the EEO Office.
Requests for reassignment to another job. The decision maker will coordinate these requests with OMS and EEO Program Manager.
In addition, the EEO Program Manager will be available, as needed, to provide assistance to employees and decision makers in processing requests.
If the EEO Program Manager has any involvement as a decision maker on a request for reasonable accommodation, then she or he shall recuse him/herself from handling any future or current EEO-related matter concerning the reasonable accommodation.
All decision makers should have designated back-ups to continue receiving, processing, and providing reasonable accommodations when the decision maker is unavailable. Decision makers should ensure that individuals know who has been designated as back-up. The time frames discussed below will generally not be suspended or extended because of the unavailability of a decision maker.
188.8.131.52 The Interactive Process. The next step in processing a request for reasonable accommodation is for the parties to begin the interactive process to determine what, if any, accommodation should be provided. This means that the individual requesting the accommodation and the TIGTA decision maker must communicate with each other about the request, the process for determining whether an accommodation will be provided, and potential accommodations.
Communication is a priority throughout the entire process. The TIGTA decision maker will have the principal responsibility of identifying possible accommodations. S/he will take a proactive approach in searching out and considering possible accommodations, including consulting appropriate resources for assistance. The employee requesting the accommodation should also participate to the extent possible in helping to identify an effective accommodation. The EEO Program Manager is also available to provide assistance in researching resources that are available to help both the decision maker and the individual requesting the accommodation to identify possible accommodations.
When a request for accommodation is made by a third party, the decision maker should, if possible, confirm with the applicant or employee with a disability that s/he, in fact, wants a reasonable accommodation before proceeding. It may not be possible to confirm the request if the employee has, for example, been hospitalized in an acute condition (e.g., for Multiple Sclerosis treatment). In this situation, TIGTA will process the third party's request and will consult directly with the individual needing the accommodation as soon as it is practicable.
On-going communication is particularly important where the specific limitation, problem, or barrier is unclear; where an effective accommodation is not obvious; or, where the parties are considering different possible reasonable accommodation. In those cases where the disability, the need for accommodation, and the type of accommodation that should be provided are clear, extensive discussions are not necessary. However, the decision maker and requesting individual should communicate to ensure there is a full exchange of relevant information.
The decision maker or any other TIGTA official who receives information in connection with a request for reasonable accommodation may share information connected with that request with other agency officials only when the agency official(s) have a need to know the information in order to make determinations on a reasonable accommodation request or for other official business purposes.
For example, OIT will typically be consulted in connection with requests for adaptive equipment for computers. However, OIT may have no need to know any information about the medical condition of the person seeking the accommodation. OIT may only need to know the employee’s functional limitations insofar as these limitations affect technology needs.
There are specific considerations in the interactive process when responding to a request for 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.
In considering whether there are positions available for reassignment, the decision maker will work with the employee’s chain of command, OMS and the individual requesting the accommodation to identify: (1) all vacant positions within the agency for which the employee may be qualified, with or without reasonable accommodation; and, (2) all positions which OMS has reason to believe will become vacant over the next 30 business days and for which the employee may be qualified. The agency will first focus on positions that are equivalent to the employee's current job in terms of pay, status, and other relevant factors. If there is no vacant equivalent position, TIGTA will consider vacant lower level positions for which the individual is qualified. TIGTA is not required to consider positions at a higher grade or positions with known promotion potential greater than the employee’s current position. The employee is entitled to apply for the position through the competitive process.
If a position is not available within TIGTA, the EEO Program Manager will consult with other bureaus to determine if a vacancy exists or will become available within the next 30 days, for which the employee qualifies and can perform the duties with or without a reasonable accommodation. If no positions are available the EEO Program Manager will maintain a record done of the search.
Reassignment may be made to a vacant position outside of the employee's commuting area if the employee is willing to relocate. As with other transfers not required by management, TIGTA will not reimburse the employee's relocation costs.