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Are you a qualified individual with a disability and entitled to a reasonable accommodation?

The first step in determining if you are entitled to a reasonable accommodation is to make sure you are a “qualified individual with a disability”.  This means that you have a medical condition, mental or physical, that is legally considered disabling.  Additionally, you must have the skill, experience and education required for the job and be able to perform the essential duties of the job.  Changes to the Americans with Disability Act made proving that you are disabled much easier.  You must have a “substantial impairment” that affects a major life activity.  The major life activity could be lifting, hearing, speaking, working, breathing, standing or caring for yourself.  Other activities not included on this list could be a “substantial impairment”.

Disabled employee with reasonable accommodation.

Disabled employee with accommodation of wireless headset and touch screen.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is a modification to your working conditions or environment that allows you to perform the essential duties of your position.  The modification must be reasonable and cannot create an undue hardship on the agency.  A reasonable accommodation can be one of the following:

  • Telework
  • Equipment such as an ergonomic chair, a certain type of computer screen or software
  • Modification to work schedule
  • Job restructuring

The accommodation does not have to be exactly what the employee requests.  However, it does need to be an effective accommodation that will allow the employee to perform his or her essential job duties.

Can reassignment be a reasonable accommodation?

Yes, however, it is considered an accommodation of last choice.  Before the agency will consider reassignment it will review other accommodation options. There must be open funded position that you can be reassigned to.   The Agency does not have to create a position as an accommodation.  Also, a reassignment is not a promotion. The Agency does not have to offer reassignment if it would result in a promotion.

For more information about accommodations see,

For more information about obtaining a reasonable accommodation contact Obiorah Fields at 404-476-6414.

Attorney Danielle Bess Obiorah sues the government on behalf of federal employees and veterans. She is based in Jonesboro, Georgia but represents federal employees in EEOC and MSPB matters in Atlanta, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Virginia and throughout the nation.