CIVIL RIGHTS DIRECTIVE NO. 2014-02
PERSONNEL BULLETIN NO. 14-01
SUBJECT: Reasonable Accommodation for Individuals with Disabilities
In compliance with the authorities listed below, the Department of the Interior has established policy and procedures for processing reasonable accommodation requests. This Civil Rights Directive (CRD) 2014-02 and Personnel Bulletin (PB) 14-01supersede Departmental Manual, Part 373, Chapter 15 (373 DM 15), Reasonable Accommodation for Individuals with Disabilities, dated September 7, 2005. This document outlines the requirements and instructions by which Departmental employees will act on requests for reasonable accommodation from employees and applicants for employment. This document remains in effect until either rescinded or superseded by the new Departmental Manual Chapter 15.
A.Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 791)
B.Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (42 U.S.C. 12101)
C.29 CFR Part 1630 (Regulations to Implement the Equal Employment Provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act); 29 CFR 1614.203(b) (applying ADA regulations to Rehabilitation Act)
D.Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act of 2008
E.Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Management Directive 715
The Department of the Interior (DOI) will provide reasonable accommodation for the known physical or intellectual limitations of qualified employees and applicants with a disability unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the DOI.
The policy and procedures in this document apply to all employees of the DOI and applicants for employment with DOI who have a disability as defined by law (see Appendix: Reasonable Accommodation Policy and Procedures).
A.The Director, Office of Civil Rights is designated as the DOI management official responsible for ensuring there is DOI-wide policy on reasonable accommodation and that reasonable accommodations are made for qualified employees or applicants with a disability in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and bargaining unit agreements.
B.The Disability Program Manager (DPM) is responsible for the development, implementation, and operation of the bureau/office's disability program– including providing guidance on reasonable accommodation matters related to employees and applicants.The DPM is responsible for promoting equal opportunity and equal access for individuals with disabilities.
C. The servicing Human Resources Officer (HRO) is responsible for providing operational human resources services to the bureau/office.The HRO, or designated staff, is responsible for assisting deciding officials in processing reasonable accommodation requests; determining essential functions of the job; identifying effective accommodations; conducting job analyses on vacant positions, in case of reassignment as a last resort; and removing barriers from the hiring process.The HRO is responsible for training human resources specialists who are involved in the application process to recognize requests for reasonable accommodation and handle them in accordance with DOI Reasonable Accommodation Policy and Procedures.
D.Supervisors, managers, and office directors, or designated staff, shall serve as deciding officials on requests for reasonable accommodations.Deciding officials should consult with appropriate officials, such as the servicing Human Resources Office, Departmental or bureau Disability Program Manager (DPM), facilities managers, information resource management specialists, employment attorneys in the Solicitor's (SOL) Office, or other individuals that can assist in determining appropriate and effective accommodations.
E. SOL employment attorneys are responsible for providing legal advice regarding: the Rehabilitation Act, including its prohibitions and requirements; EEOC regulations and enforcement guidance applicable to the Rehabilitation Act and to reasonable accommodation; what constitutes a qualified individual with a disability; requests for reasonable accommodation; and reasonable accommodation assessments and decisions.
F.Employees and applicants for employment are responsible for bringing their requests for reasonable accommodation to the attention of the appropriate agency official, for timely providing appropriate supporting medical and/or other documentation upon request, and for participating in the interactive process.Employees and applicants may use an alternate dispute resolution approach to working through their requests with deciding officials.The DOI Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution is available to provide assistance throughout the reasonable accommodation process, including the reconsideration and appeal phases.
G. Each bureau/office will designate a DPM who has the responsibilities outlined in paragraph 5.B above.
H.Management is responsible for timely decisions once a reasonable accommodation request is received.The deciding official may solicit subject matter experts – such as a medical officer, human resources officer, civil rights officer, or DPM – either individually or by committee, for guidance, information, and assistance in identifying appropriate and effective reasonable accommodation solutions.Conferring with appropriate subject matter experts does not relinquish the deciding official's responsibility to render a decision, notify the employee or applicant, or provide the accommodation solution within established timelines.Timelines are specified in the Reasonable Accommodation Policy and Procedures.Notwithstanding the timeframes prescribed in the procedures, some accommodations can be provided in less time.In instances where reasonable accommodations can be provided in less time than prescribed in the procedures, bureaus must make every effort to do so.Care must be taken to ensure preservation of confidentiality in processing requests for reasonable accommodation.
6.Information Tracking and Reporting.
A.Decision Maker:The deciding official must complete the Decision Documentation (See Appendix, Reasonable Accommodation Policy and Procedures, Attachment 2) and submit it to the bureau/office Servicing Human Resources Office within 10 business days of the decision.
(1) The deciding official must attach to the form copies of all information received as part of processing the request.
(2)Medical documents must be protected as required by the Privacy Act (PA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).Medical documents received as part of the reasonable accommodation request must be separated from other documents, placed in a sealed envelope marked "HIPAA/PA Documents," and maintained by the servicing Human Resources Office in secure storage separate from official personnel files.
(3)The bureau/office servicing Human Resources Office must maintain these records for the length of the employee's tenure with DOI or for five (5) years, whichever is longer.
B.The bureau/office EEO Office will prepare an annual report, to be made available to the DOI, Office of Civil Rights.The report will contain the following information, presented in aggregate:
(1)the number of reasonable accommodations, by type, that was requested in the application process and whether those requests were granted or denied;
(2)the jobs (occupational series, grade level, and office) for which reasonable accommodations were requested;
(3)the types of reasonable accommodations that were requested for each of those jobs;
(4)the number of reasonable accommodations, by type, for each job that was granted, and the number of accommodations, by type, that was denied;
(5)the number of requests for reasonable accommodations, by type, that relate to the benefits or privileges of employment, and whether those requests were granted or denied;
(6)the reasons for denial of requests for reasonable accommodation;
(7)the amount of time taken to process each request for reasonable accommodation;
(8)the sources of technical assistance that were consulted to identify possible reasonable accommodations; and
(9)a qualitative assessment of the bureau/office's reasonable accommodation program, including any recommendations for program improvement or changes in the reasonable accommodation practices and procedures.
C.The DOI, Office of Civil Rights shall prepare an aggregate report making such
information available to all bureau/office EEO Offices and Human Resources
Offices.The report shall be retained for at least three (3) years.Upon request from
EEOC, the report will be used to provide information that tracks DOI's performance
with regards to the provision of reasonable accommodation to individuals with
7.Point-of-Contact(s).The Departmental point of contacts for this policy matter are the Department of the Interior, Office of Civil Rights, (202) 208-5693 and the Department of the Interior, Office of Human Resources, (202) 208-5694.
Signed by Sharon D. Eller and Thomas Mulhern on 2-20-2014 (Signed PDF)
Sharon D. Eller, Director Office of Civil Rights
Thomas Mulhern, Director Office of Human Resources
Attachment: Appendix: Reasonable Accommodation Policy and Procedures