Reasonable Accommodations

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The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that federal agencies provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees and applicants with disabilities, unless doing so would cause undue hardship. Reasonable accommodations remove barriers that prevent individuals with disabilities from applying for, or performing, jobs for which they are qualified. Reasonable accommodations might include, for example, making the workplace accessible for wheelchair users or providing a reader or interpreter for someone who is vision or hearing impaired.

The failure of a manager or supervisor to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee when legally necessary can result in liability against the Agency.  Employees who believe they have been wrongfully denied a reasonable accommodation may file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The solicitors in the Employment and Labor Law Unit (ELLU), Office of the Solicitor, provide advice and guidance to managers and supervisors who receive a request for reasonable accommodation from an employee or applicant with a disability. Because the legal requirements relating to reasonable accommodations are a complex area of personnel law, managers and supervisors are encouraged to consult with the ELLU as soon as any issue relating to a reasonable accommodation arises. You are strongly encouraged against denying a requested accommodation without first seeking legal advice.

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