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An introduction to the Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center (RARC) Civil Rights Center U.S. Department of Labor

An Introduction to the Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center (RARC) Civil Rights Center

Reasonable Accommodation is a change in the DOL's work rules, facilities, or conditions which enable an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform the essential functions of a job, or enjoy equal access to the benefits and privileges of employment. An accommodation is reasonable if it is effective in producing the desired result even if it is not the employee's accommodation of choice, provided it does not result in an undue hardship.

The RARC has a partnership with the Department of Defense's (DOD's) Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) which provides assistive technology to employees with disabilities at no cost to the Department. The RARC also has an inventory program through CAP so that DOL may have on-hand frequently requested assistive technology products, thus reducing the wait time to procure/deliver these products to DOL employees. Additionally, the RARC maintains an Assistive Technology Assessment and Ergonomic Demonstration Room at the Postal Square Building. The Assistive Technology Assessment and Ergonomic Demonstration Room provides an opportunity for employees to undergo assessments and try out ergonomic equipment/furniture and assistive technology to ascertain an appropriate accommodation for the employee.

Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center (RARC) of the Department of Labor is a clearinghouse of information and assistance designed to support assessment and obtain products and/or services to accommodate DOL employees and applicants with disabilities. The RARC strives to operate as a "One-Stop Shop" for DOL personnel seeking accommodation-related information and services, and decreases the time DOL staff spends securing accommodations. The RARC has a partnership with the Department of Defense's (DOD's) Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) which provides assistive technology to employees with disabilities at no cost to the Department. Additionally, the RARC maintains an Assistive Technology Assessment and Ergonomic Demonstration Room at the Postal Square Building. The Assistive Technology Assessment and Ergonomic Demonstration Room provides an opportunity for employees to undergo assessments and try out ergonomic equipment/furniture and assistive technology to ascertain an appropriate accommodation for the employee.

Examples of some of the products, services and information provided by RARC:

  • Needs Assessments — the process of identifying workplace accommodations takes into account the employee's impairment and the essential duties of the employee's position to enable or assist the employee in performing their job. In the national office, needs assessments are conducted by staff in the Civil Rights Center.
  • Alternative Formats (Braille/Large Print)
  • Information and Referral Services
  • Workplace Personal Assistants & Readers
    • Ergonomic furniture
    • Training on Assistive Technology
    • Sit Stand Workstations
    • Scooters
    • Sign Language Interpreting Service*
      To request sign language interpreting service, contact the Office of Assistant Secretary of Administration and Management, Human Resources Center at interpreting.services@dol.gov. You may also request services by submitting a Sign Language and Captioning Request form to the Sign Language Services Office. The form may be found at http://www.labornet.dol.gov/forms/DL1-6084.pdf.

Centralized Accommodation Fund (CAF) serves to eliminate barriers to employment of a candidate or current employee with disabilities by ensuring that every agency shares the responsibility for and benefits from CAF.

Interactive Process is a mandatory and yet flexible and informal process through which appropriate DOL officials and an employee or applicant with a disability discuss a request for accommodation in a good faith effort to identify the employee's or applicant's precise limitations and ways to address the employee's or applicant's needs. Engaging in the interactive process is a required component of the reasonable accommodation process and should occur throughout the processing of a request for reasonable accommodation.

Employee's Responsibilities. Make the accommodation request through your immediate supervisor or any other supervisor in the employee's chain of command. Complete the Confirmation of Request Form (Appendix A) with reasonable documentation to support the request if the disability or need for the accommodation is not obvious, or if the employee has not already provided the agency with sufficient information to substantiate the disability and the need for an accommodation. Engaging in a mandatory interactive process with your supervisor to discuss the request and determine the appropriate accommodation to be provided.

Supervisors' Responsibilities. Acknowledge and respond to an employee's request promptly. Taking the request very seriously and reviewing the request without unnecessary analysis of whether an employee has a disability or the need for an accommodation, if not obvious or already substantiated. Supervisor should maintain confidentiality of the employee's disability and medical documentation. Engage in the mandatory interactive process with the employee to discuss the request and determine the appropriate accommodation to be provided.

Processing the Reasonable Accommodation Request utilizing the RARC. After the mandatory interactive process between the supervisor and the employee the employee's request is forwarded to their agency Equal Opportunity Manager for processing through the RARC. A needs assessment may be conducted to determine the appropriate accommodation for securing and purchasing the services or products through the CAF or CAP for the employee.

Helpful Resources

For more information, please contact:
Samuel Rhames, Jr., Chief of Internal Enforcement
Jaqueline Johnson, Senior Technical Advisor
Kim Borowicz, Reasonable Accommodation Technical Advisor
Annette Paz, Assistive Technology Specialist
Carla Broddie, Reasonable Accommodation Specialist
Civil Rights Center, Room N-4123 (Frances Perkins Building)
Voice: (202) 693-6500; Fax: (202) 693-6505
Federal Relay Service: TTY/TDD: (800) 877-8339
Video Relay: (877) 709-5797 or myfedvrs.tv
Email: rarc.info@dol.gov
Website: www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/crc/index.htm