The Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center (RARC) at the Civil Rights Center (CRC) provides guidance and information about, and facilitates the provision of, reasonable accommodations for DOL employees and applicants for DOL employment who have disabilities.
Defining an Accommodation
DOL provides reasonable accommodations to applicants for DOL employment and DOL employees with disabilities. An accommodation is a change in work rules, facilities, or conditions which enable an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform the essential functions of a job, and/or enjoy equal access to the benefits and privileges of employment. For more information, please refer to the Department of Labor Manual Series (DLMS 6-200) entitled: Reasonable Accommodations for Employees and Applicants with Disabilities.
Requesting an Accommodation
A request for accommodation can occur by utilizing one of the following methods:
- Accessing this link which allows the filling out of a form with initial information: Appendix A. The "submit” button at the bottom of the Appendix sends the form to firstname.lastname@example.org. RARC will distribute requests for processing as described in Section 205(F) of the DLMS. (Internet Explorer (IE) may be required for this link if others are unsuccessful)
- Contacting RARC via email@example.com.
Roles and Responsibilities
An employee/applicant (or their representative) who seeks an accommodation should/may:
- Make a request for an accommodation verbally, in writing, and/or using one of the above methods, to the RARC, the agency Workplace Equality Compliance Officer (WECO), a Deciding Official (typically the first line supervisor/manager), the servicing human resources office, or any agency employee connected with the job application process, as appropriate (e.g., agency employee contacting candidates to schedule an interview for the position);
- Use "plain language" in your requests for adjustments, changes, equipment, or other form of assistance for a reason related to a medical condition but need not mention a specific statute such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Rehabilitation Act, or use the phrase "reasonable accommodation";
- Participate in good faith in the mandatory interactive process (explained below) when requesting a reasonable accommodation; and
- Provide RARC or the agency WECO with medical documentation upon request that supports or confirms the functional impairment(s) and the requested accommodation.
The Deciding Official, typically the first-line supervisor/manager, is responsible for:
- Documenting and immediately reporting/submitting all requests for reasonable accommodation to RARC. The requests can be sent to the RARC via firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Providing information and forms to employees and applicants requesting accommodations or referring the employee to the RARC and the agency WECO to obtain such information and forms;
- Participating in good faith in the mandatory interactive process when an employee or applicant requests a reasonable accommodation;
- In coordination with the agency WECO, consulting with the servicing human resources office when accommodation requests involve performance, conduct, or leave issues; reallocation of tasks; reassignment; revision of standards; telework; or other scheduling adjustments;
- Maintaining confidentiality of records, as required by the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA; and
- Working closely with the RARC and/or agency WECO to ensure that the accommodation request is addressed as promptly as possible.
The RARC is responsible for:
- Providing information and forms to employees and applicants requesting accommodations;
- Conducting the initial intake and tracking of all requests for accommodation;
- Consulting with and advising Deciding Officials (and other vested parties) throughout the interactive process;
- Managing DOL's Centralized Accommodation Fund (CAF);
- Processing reasonable accommodation requests that involve the purchasing of items and/or services via the CAF. These purchase may include:
- Assistive technology devices or software (such as screen readers), communications equipment, or specially designed furniture (such as ergonomic chairs, sit/stand risers, etc.)
- Providing technical assistance to agency WECOs and others connected with the accommodation process to facilitate the provision of prompt, effective assistance.
The WECO is responsible for:
- Providing information and forms to employees and applicants requesting accommodations and informing RARC of the request;
- Processing reasonable accommodation requests that involve performance, conduct, or leave issues; reallocation of tasks; reassignment; revision of standards; telework; or other scheduling adjustments, after consultation with the servicing human resources office;
- Consulting with and advising Deciding Officials (and other vested parties) throughout the interactive process.
The Interactive Process
Once a request for an accommodation is received, the employee/applicant, the Deciding Official, RARC and/or agency WECO, will engage in an interactive process to determine what the individual needs and identify appropriate effective reasonable accommodation(s). The purpose of the interactive process is to determine what, if any, accommodation should be provided. This means that the individual requesting the accommodation must communicate with the appropriate persons throughout the entire process, but particularly where: the specific limitations or barriers are unclear; an effective accommodation is not obvious; the parties are considering different forms of reasonable accommodation; or the current accommodation is no longer effective and another effective accommodation must be identified.
The Deciding Official, RARC and/or agency WECO will immediately contact the applicant or employee after the accommodation request is received to begin the interactive process and start discussing the request. DOL will process requests and, where appropriate, provide accommodations in as short a period as reasonably possible unless there are extenuating circumstances.
Timing of the reasonable accommodations process begins at the time the request is initiated. Circumstances that can impact the length of time to complete an accommodation are awaiting medical documentation, completion of assessments (if needed), and/or shipping/delivery of items. When necessary, the RARC will purchase equipment, services, or assistive technology, etc. using DOL's Centralized Accommodation Fund (CAF).
Resolution of a Reasonable Accommodation Request
All decisions on accommodation requests are issued by and from the Deciding Official, following consultation with RARC, the agency WECO and/or the Office of the Solicitor (SOL). If the Deciding Official grants a request for accommodation, the Deciding Official will inform the employee or applicant in writing of the decision and work to implement the accommodation. If the Deciding Official denies a request for accommodation, the Deciding Official will inform the employee or applicant in writing of the decision and reason for the denial. After an accommodation has been provided, RARC will monitor the accommodation for effectiveness, as appropriate, by following up with the employee.
For more information, please go to:
- DLMS Chapter 6-200 - Reasonable Accommodations for Employees and Applicants with Disabilities
- Agency Workplace Equality Compliance Officers
- Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
- Employer Assistance & Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN)
- ADA National Network
- Appendix A – Confirmation of Request for Reasonable Accommodation (PDF)
- Appendix B – Application for Parking Assignment for Employees with Disabilities (PDF)
- Appendix C-1 – Authorization for Limited Release of Medical Information to Program Support Center (PDF)
- Appendix C-2 – Authorization for Limited Release of Medical Information to Computer Electronic/Accommodations Program (PDF)
- Appendix D – Consent for Examination (PDF)
- Appendix E – Reassignment Preference Form (PDF)
- Appendix F – Sign Language and Captioning Request Form (PDF)
For more information, please contact:
Samuel Rhames, Jr., Chief, Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center (RARC)
Civil Rights Center, Room N-4123 (Frances Perkins Building)
*If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services.