Reasonable Accommodation for Individuals with Disabilities
C. Interactive Process.
To start the interactive process, no particular form needs to be
completed and the individual need not have a particular accommodation in mind
before making a request.
The interactive process should be completed with 15 business
days of the request for reasonable accommodation. This process allows the parties to
determine what, if any, accommodation should be provided. The individual requesting the
accommodation and the deciding official must talk to each other about the request, the
process for determining whether an accommodation will be provided, and potential
accommodations. Communication is a priority throughout the entire process. The
deciding official has the principal responsibility for identifying possible accommodations.
The deciding official will search out and consider possible accommodations, including
consulting appropriate resources for assistance. The deciding official will provide a
decision within 15 business days of the request for reasonable accommodation unless
extenuating circumstances exist.
Where a particular reasonable accommodation can be provided in less than the maximum
amount of time provided, failure to provide the accommodation in a prompt manner may
result in a violation of the Rehabilitation Act.
The employee requesting the accommodation should also participate to the extent possible
in helping to identify an effective accommodation. Resources, which are available to help
both the deciding official and the individual requesting the accommodation, are listed in
Appendix B. The DPM is also available to provide assistance.
Ongoing communication is particularly important where the specific limitation, problem,
or barrier is unclear; where an effective accommodation is not obvious; or where the
parties are considering different possible reasonable accommodations. In those cases
where the disability, the need for accommodation, and the type of accommodation which
should be provided are clear, extensive discussions are not necessary. Even so, the
deciding official and requesting individual should talk to each other to make sure that there
is a full exchange of relevant information.
D. Standard Processing. If a request for an accommodation can be processed by the
requesting employee's supervisor or second level supervisor, no supporting medical
documentation is required, and no extenuating circumstances apply, the request shall be
processed and the accommodation, if granted, provided within no more than 15 business
days from the date the employee’s supervisor receives the request, and sooner, if possible.
Since the deciding official may need the full 15 business days to engage in the interactive
process and collect all relevant information about possible accommodations, the request
should be dealt with immediately. Failure to meet this time frame solely because a
deciding official delayed processing the request is not an extenuating circumstance.
Examples of accommodations that may be provided to an individual with a disability
within this 15 business days timeframe include:
1. An employee with diabetes who sits in an open area asks for four breaks a day to test
her blood sugar levels in private.