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

Reasonable Accommodations for
Employees & Applicants with Disabilities
Desk Aid
Civil Rights Center
U.S. Department of Labor

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.

Requesting 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) entitled: Reasonable Accommodations for Employees and Applicants with Disabilities.

Roles and Responsibilities

An employee/applicant (or their representative) who seeks an accommodation should/may:

  • Make a request for an accommodation to a Deciding Official (typically the first line supervisor/manager), the agency Workplace Equality Compliance Officer (WECO), previously known as Agency EEO Managers, the servicing human resources office, RARC, a management official, or any agency employee connected with the job application process, as appropriate.
  • Use "plain language" to indicate that the applicant/employee needs an adjustment, change, 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 or the Rehabilitation Act, or use the phrase "reasonable accommodation."
  • Verbally request a reasonable accommodation, but confirm the request using the Confirmation of Request for Reasonable Accommodation form (Appendix A) found here: www.dol.gov/oasam/foia/DLMS-Chapters/dlms4_0306-AppendixA.doc.
  • 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 reporting all requests for reasonable accommodation to RARC and the agency WECO within two (2) business days of receiving the request.
  • Providing information and forms to employees and applicants requesting accommodations (as directed by the agency WECO) or referring the employee to the RARC and the agency WECO to obtain such information and forms.
  • Submitting accommodation requests to RARC at rarc.info@dol.gov, phone (202) 693-6500, fax (202) 693-6505, TTY (800) 877-8339, or video relay (877) 709-5797.
  • As directed by 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.

The Deciding Official should work closely with the WECO to ensure that the accommodation request is addressed as promptly as possible. The WECO is responsible for:

  • Providing information and forms to employees and applicants requesting accommodations and informing RARC of the request within two (2) business days.
  • 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 throughout the interactive process and bringing together other parties.

Certain types of requests for reasonable accommodations are processed by the RARC. The RARC will:

  • Coordinate and purchase items, such as:
    • Assistive technology devices or software (such as screen readers), communications equipment, or specially designed furniture (such as ergonomic chairs, sit/stand platform desks, etc.); and provide
    • Materials in alternative formats, such as Braille.

The RARC will also provide technical assistance to agency WECO’s and others connected with the accommodation process to facilitate the provision of prompt, effective assistance.

The Interactive Process

Once a request for an accommodation is received, the employee/applicant, Deciding Official, the agency WECO, and the RARC 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.

Time frames

The Deciding Official, RARC and/or agency WECO will contact the applicant or employee within four (4) business days after the accommodation request is received to begin discussing the request. DOL will process requests and, where appropriate, provide accommodations in as short a period as reasonably possible. All final decisions regarding requests for reasonable accommodations will be issued in writing within 60 business days after sufficient medical documentation or an assessment is received. The RARC will, unless there are extenuating circumstances, purchase equipment, services, or assistive technology using DOL's Centralized Accommodation Fund within 60 business days after sufficient medical documentation or an assessment is received.

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.

Resources

For more information, please go to:

Helpful Resources


For more information, please contact:
Samuel Rhames, Jr., Chief of Internal Enforcement
Kim Borowicz, Reasonable Accommodation Technical Advisor
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/rarc.htm