Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, section 501, requires a Federal Government Agency to provide reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities, unless it would cause undue hardship. A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment or in the way a job is performed that enables a person with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities.
Although many individuals with disabilities can apply for and perform jobs without any reasonable accommodation, workplace barriers may keep others from performing jobs which they could do with some form of accommodation. These barriers may be physical obstacles (such as inaccessible facilities or equipment), or they may be procedures or rules (such as rules concerning when work is performed, when breaks are taken, or how job tasks are performed). Reasonable accommodation removes workplace barriers for individuals with disabilities.
What is Reasonable Accommodation?
Reasonable accommodation (RA) is what an employer, in this case - FEMA, does differently for an employee or applicant with a disability to remove a workplace barrier.
Reasonable accommodation can be modifications or adjustments to a job, employment practice, or work environment that makes it possible for an employee with a disability to:
- Perform essential job duties;
- Adhere to uniformly applied conduct rules; and
- Enjoy equal benefits/privileges of employment.
- Reasonable accommodation can be modifications or adjustments for an applicant with disability to have equal access to application process.
Who Can Request a Reasonable Accommodation?
An applicant for employment may request a reasonable accommodation (RA), either orally or in writing, from any FEMA employee authorized to interact with the applicant in the application process.
Timeline for Processing Reasonable Accommodations
FEMA will attempt to process requests for Reasonable Accommodation and provide accommodations, as appropriate, within ten (10) business days from the date of receipt of the request. FEMA recognizes, however, that the time necessary to process a request will depend on the nature of the accommodation requested and whether it is necessary to obtain additional supporting information.
Reasonable Accommodation Procedures and Form for Reasonable Accommodation Requests
FEMA’s procedures for providing reasonable accommodation for employees and applicants with disabilities covers the process for how to make a request for a reasonable accommodation, medical documentation, confidentiality, timelines, granting or denial of a request, etc.
- An employee, job applicant, or an individual acting on behalf of the employee, may request an RA through the Accessibility Compliance Management System (ACMS).
- They may also request the RA, either orally or in writing, from their supervisor, another supervisor in their immediate chain of command by filling out FEMA’s Request for Reasonable Accommodation Form (256-0-1) and sending the form and in writing request to: FEMA-Reasonable-Accommodation@fema.dhs.gov
- FEMA’s Request for Reasonable Accommodation Form (256-0-1)
- FEMA’s full Reasonable Accommodation Policy
- The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) EXIT is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues to managers and employees.
- The Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP), a program of the Department of Defense, provides assistive technology and services to people with disabilities. Federal managers, supervisors, IT professionals, and Wounded Service Members. CAP provides necessary accommodations FREE OF CHARGE to federal agencies.