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JAN is a service of the U.S. Department of Labors Office of Disability Employment Policy. 1 Best Practices in the Employment of People with Disabilities.

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Presentation on theme: "JAN is a service of the U.S. Department of Labors Office of Disability Employment Policy. 1 Best Practices in the Employment of People with Disabilities."— Presentation transcript:

1 JAN is a service of the U.S. Department of Labors Office of Disability Employment Policy. 1 Best Practices in the Employment of People with Disabilities in the Federal Government JAN welcomes Jeanne Goldberg, Senior Attorney Advisor, from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

2 Federal Winter Webcast Series Agenda Scenarios Discussion Best Practices Q&A 2

3 Federal Winter Webcast Series Scenario #1 An individual with a disability was interested in federal employment, but was not able to use USA Jobs because of her disability. She contacted the federal agency where she hoped to get a job and asked if she might apply for jobs in another way. She was told that they only accepted job applications through USA Jobs and there was no other way she could apply. 3

4 Federal Winter Webcast Series Discussion accommodation obligation applies to the application process train all staff who many come into contact with applicants Jones v. SSA, EEOC Appeal No (Aug. 2, 2011) 4

5 Federal Winter Webcast Series Scenario #2 An individual with a disability saw a federal job announcement and believed he met all the qualifications. He knew about Schedule A so went in to talk to the hiring manager. The hiring manager told him she wasnt in charge of Schedule A hiring and didnt know who was. She suggested he call someone in DC. The individual couldnt figure out who to call in DC so started calling other agencies, including JAN. 5

6 Federal Winter Webcast Series Discussion pitfalls of the "silo" mentality staff interacting with applicants should be able to answer questions about Schedule A hiring, or know the contact information for the appropriate agency point person E.O (2010) The ABCs of Schedule A Veterans and the ADA: A Guide for Employers (Feb. 29, 2012) 6

7 Federal Winter Webcast Series Scenario #3 An HR manager had approved the use of a video phone for a new hire who is deaf. IT Team said no. HR asked about cell phone use. IT Team said no. HR opted for an interpreter. Employee said no. Employee filed complaint. 7

8 Federal Winter Webcast Series Discussion accommodation may require making an exception to a policy don't assume undue hardship; find out how similar offices/agencies may have handled similar request; seek expert accommodation advice employer has discretion to choose among equally effective alternative accommodations 8

9 Federal Winter Webcast Series Scenario #4 A federal employee with multiple sclerosis was having problems with fatigue. Her doctor recommended that she take periodic rest breaks so she disclosed her multiple sclerosis to her supervisor and asked for a modified break schedule. Supervisor never responded and no HR department. Employee contacted JAN. 9

10 Federal Winter Webcast Series Discussion E.O procedures, training, posting: accountability Kreger v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No (March 7, 2011) Bartron v. Dept of Def., EEOC Appeal No (March 3, 2011), req. for recon. denied, EEOC Request No (August 26, 2011). 10

11 Federal Winter Webcast Series Scenario #5 A federal employee did not get along with her supervisor. Relationship worsened when she disclosed her mental disability and asked for an accommodation, fewer face to face meetings with the supervisor, and written instructions in when possible. Her supervisor denied the request. 11

12 Federal Winter Webcast Series Discussion employer does not have to switch someone's supervisor as an accommodation, but may have to modify supervisory methods (subject to undue hardship) employer may still require employee be able to perform essential functions, and hold employee to uniformly applied production and performance standards train front-line supervisors: follow accommodation procedures & guard against retaliation Wagner v. Dept. of Transportation, EEOC Appeal No (Dec. 1, 2010) 12

13 Federal Winter Webcast Series Scenario #6 A federal employee scheduled a meeting with HR to discuss his problems handling stress. He asked for help to reduce his stress at work. HR responded every job has stress and we all have to deal with it. He ended up applying for disability retirement, but contacted JAN trying to figure out what legal recourse he has because he really wanted to continue working. 13

14 Federal Winter Webcast Series Discussion any request for a change due to a medical condition is legally a request for reasonable accommodation if the disability or the need for accommodation is not obvious or already known, the employer is permitted to obtain reasonable supporting medical information train front-line supervisors: if the request is unclear or incomplete, that doesn't mean the employee does not have a disability; err on the side of caution and ask the employee for clarification 14

15 Federal Winter Webcast Series Scenario #7 A federal employee asked for a new office chair because of a back impairment and limitations in sitting. Doctor included lifting restriction in medical documentation. An outdated job description had lifting requirements. Agency put the employee on leave until he could undergo a fitness for duty exam. The employee contacted JAN, concerned about keeping his job. 15

16 Federal Winter Webcast Series Discussion if you're going to rely on a job description, make sure it's up to date and that you are interpreting/applying it correctly Braheny v. Commonwealth (E.D. Pa. Jan. 18, 2012) Rehabilitation Act standard for FFDE: must be job- related and consistent with business necessity, i.e., agency must have a reasonable belief, based on objective evidence, that (1) an employee's ability to perform essential job functions will be impaired by a medical condition; or (2) an employee will pose a direct threat due to a medical condition 16

17 Federal Winter Webcast Series Scenario #8 Federal employees unit moved. She asked to take her ergonomic workstation with her. Her request was denied based on agency policy that each unit is responsible for its own furniture and equipment. Agency policy also stated that equipment provided as an accommodation will follow the employee. The two units continued to disagree about the furniture for months. 17

18 Federal Winter Webcast Series Discussion don't penalize an employee when there is confusion, such as how an accommodation will be funded undue delay can constitute an unlawful denial of accommodation utilize your disability program manager, upper-level management, and counsel to resolve disputes about how to handle accommodation request Valle-Arce v. Puerto Rico Port Auth. (1st Cir. 2011) 18

19 Federal Winter Webcast Series EEOC as a Resource 19

20 Federal Winter Webcast Series Contact (800) (V) (877) (TTY) AskJAN.org & 20


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