@StateDept Updates Guidance For Reasonable Accommodations For Employees With Disabilities

 

The Disability/Reasonable Accommodation Division (GTM/OAA/DRAD) is the Department’s designated decision-maker on all reasonable accommodation requests. Last month, GTM/OAA/DRAD updated 3 FAM  3670 Reasonable Accommodations for Individuals With Disabilities. The update includes the time frame for processing requests, interim relief measures, and reconsideration and appeals for reasonable accommodation denial. The. State Department has been dinged more than once at the EEOC in its handling of reasonable accommodations. In a most recent case, the EEOC found State liable for compensatory damages because it has not shown it acted in good faith”. (see @StateDept Liable For Compensatory Damages “because it has not shown it acted in good faith”).

3 FAM 3673.3  Time Frame to Process the Request
(CT:PER-1065;   09-21-2021)
(State Only)
(Applies to Foreign Service and Civil Service Employees)

a. The Disability/Reasonable Accommodation Division (GTM/OAA/DRAD) is committed to the timely processing of reasonable accommodation requests, consistent with the Department’s obligation under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. Absent extenuating circumstances, GTM/OAA/DRAD will provide or deny accommodation requests from domestic applicants within 30 business days, and from overseas applicants with 45 business days. The time necessary to process a request is dependent on numerous factors including, but not limited to the nature of the accommodation requested; whether it is necessary to obtain supporting information such as medical documentation; procurement processes; hiring processes; and other circumstances.  For examples of extenuating circumstances, see 3 FAM 3673.5.
b. In the case of newly hired employees or employees being assigned to a new position, the Department will try to have the reasonable accommodation in place when the employee first reports to duty.  However, this may not always be possible.
c.  GTM/OAA/DRAD and individuals with disabilities may consult the resources listed in 3 FAM Exhibit 3673.3 in order to identify and evaluate potential reasonable accommodation options.
d. When necessary, the Department will make an effort to ensure expedited processing of a request for an accommodation.  Expedited processing might be necessary where the accommodation is needed to apply for a position or to participate in a specific activity that is scheduled to occur shortly.


3 FAM 3673.6  Providing Interim Relief Measures

(CT:PER-1065;   09-21-2021)
(State Only)

(Applies to Foreign Service and Civil Service Employees)

a. When all the facts and circumstances known to the Disability and Reasonable Accommodation Division (GTM/OAA/DRAD) make it reasonably likely that the individual will be entitled to an accommodation, but the accommodation cannot be provided immediately, GTM/OAA/DRAD will provide the individual with an interim accommodation that allows the individual to perform some or all of the essential functions of the job, absent undue hardship.
b. If an interim relief measure is appropriate, GTM/OAA/DRAD will work with the individual’s supervisory chain of command to ensure that temporary measures are provided to the individual. The individual will be notified that accommodations are only being provided on a temporary/interim basis, while awaiting either the provision of reasonable accommodation or a decision on whether the accommodation request will be granted.


3 FAM 3674.2  Reconsideration and Appeal of a Reasonable Accommodation Denial

(CT:PER-1065;   09-21-2021)

(State Only)
(Applies to Foreign Service and Civil Service Employees)

a. An individual whose request for reasonable accommodation is denied may seek reconsideration of that denial by submitting information, in writing, to the Director of the Office of Accessibility and Accommodations (GTM/OAA) within 10 business days of receipt of the written decision denying a reasonable accommodation. A request for reconsideration must be accompanied by an explanation of the basis for the request and any documentation the individual wishes to submit in support of the request for reconsideration that GTM/OAA does not have. 
b.  An individual whose request for reconsideration is denied may pursue an appeal of that denial by submitting information, in writing, to the Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Global Talent (DGTM) within 10 business days of receipt of the written decision denying reconsideration.  An appeal must be accompanied by an explanation of the basis for the appeal and any documentation the individual wishes to submit in support of the appeal that GTM/OAA does not have.

 

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