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Reasonable Accommodations Program

The Department of Commerce (the Department) is committed to providing reasonable accommodation (RA) to employees with disabilities and applicants unless providing a particular accommodation would impose an undue hardship. Reasonable accommodations are provided to remove barriers that prevent individuals with disabilities from applying for jobs, performing the essential functions of the position held or desired, gaining access to the workplace, or enjoying equal benefits and privileges of employment as individuals without disabilities.

The Department’s reasonable accommodation procedures and policy are outlined in Department Administrative Orders, Reasonable Accommodation for Employees or Applicants with Disabilities, DAO 215-10

 What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment, or the way things are customarily done, that would enable a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. There are three categories of reasonable accommodation:

  • Changes to the job application process to enable a qualified applicant with a disability to be considered for the position the applicant desires. For example, providing a sign language interpreter for an interview for an applicant who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing (HoH).
  • Changes to the work environment, or to the way a job is usually done, that enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of that position. For example, adjusting a work schedule or telework flexibility to enable an employee with a disability to attend medical appointments.
  • Changes that enable an employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment. For example, modifying training or workshop materials to ensure access for an employee who is blind.

Who may request a Reasonable Accommodation?

Employees or applicants for employment with disabilities.

How do I Request a Reasonable Accommodation?

  • To request an accommodation, first inform your supervisor that you need an adjustment or change at work for a reason related to a medical condition. You may also contact your Bureau Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator (RAC) for assistance.
  • The request may be made at any time, verbally or in writing.
  • You do not have to use any specific words like, “disability”, “Rehab Act or ADA”, or "reasonable accommodation.”
  • You are asked to confirm your request in writing using the Department’s online RA Tracking System Entellitrak RA (ETK RA) or Form CD-575 (Written Confirmation of Request for Reasonable Accommodation)

What is Entellitrak Reasonable Accommodation (ETK RA)?

  • ETK RA is a secure, web-based software application used for submitting and tracking reasonable accommodation requests. It is designed to increase speed, uniformity, and transparency in the RA process. Requestors can submit a RA request online, then monitor the status of the request throughout the process.  
  • ETK RA autogenerates status notifications to keep you informed on the progress of your request at various stages. Your Bureau RAC utilizes ETK RA to track, monitor, and update the status of your RA request. Additionally, when you submit a request, your supervisor will receive an autogenerated email notifying them of the request. No details about the request are included in this email.
  • Although not mandatory, requestors are highly encouraged to utilize ETK RA to submit their RA request safely and securely. You may, instead, choose the option of submitting your requests to your Bureau RA Coordinator using Form (CD-575).

How to Submit a Request using ETK RA?

  • Go to the ETK RA online portal. If it is your first time using the portal, you will need to register using your DOC email address (the system will not allow registration with a non-Commerce email address).
  • You may also utilize ETK RA to securely upload supporting medical documentation.
  • Do not select the option for “Employee Registration”. For security purposes, this option is not set up for Commerce employees.
  • Download the ETK RA eFiler User Guide for step-by-step instructions or contact your Bureau RAC

How Do I Know My Information is Secure?

  • The information you submit into ETK RA, including medical documentation, is maintained on a secure, cloud storage server, in accordance with Federal regulations and the Department’s privacy and confidentially standards. To learn more about the Department’s Privacy policy, visit https://www.osec.doc.gov/opog/privacy/default.html.  
  • Information submitted in ETK RA is only accessible to a limited number of individuals: the Bureau RA Coordinator, the Department’s Disability/RA Program Manager, and the Department’s ETK RA Systems Administrator (for managing the system and preparing statistical data reports).

Whom Should I Contact if I Have Questions?

What are Personal Assistance Services (PAS)?

PAS are non-medical services that allow employees with targeted disabilities to fully participate in the workplace by providing assistance with activities of daily living, such as eating, drinking, using the restroom, and putting on and taking off clothing. For many individuals with targeted disabilities, i.e. paralysis or cerebral palsy, full participation in the workplace is impossible without such services. PAS allow these individuals to enjoy the opportunity and independence of employment.

To learn more about PAS, please review the Department’s DAO 215-10:

For assistance with requesting a reasonable accommodation or PAS, please contact a Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator. Click here for the full list of Reasonable Accommodations Coordinators.

What are the Accessibility Standards for Individuals with Disabilities in the Federal workplace?

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, requires in part, that electronic and information technology (EIT) developed, maintained, procured, or used by the Federal Government after June 21, 2001, be accessible to individuals with disabilities, including employees and members of the public.  U.S. Access Board is a federal agency that promotes equality for people with disabilities through leadership in accessible design and the development of accessibility guidelines and standards for the built environment, transportation, communication, medical diagnostic equipment, and information technology.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, requires, in part, that federally-sponsored or facilitated meetings, conferences, presentations and programs to which members of the public are invited or admitted must be accessible to individuals with disabilities.  It is the Department’s policy to provide individuals with disabilities full access to Departmental programs, information and services. 

Department of Commerce Administrative Orders

Department Administrative Order 215-10: Reasonable Accommodation for Employees or Applicants with  Disabilities (newly revised August 2023)  

  • DAO 215-10 establishes the Department’s policy and procedures for providing reasonable accommodation to employees or applicants for employment with disabilities in compliance with established laws and regulations.  It also designates roles and responsibilities and describes procedures for submitting and responding to requests for reasonable accommodation.
  • In 2017, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) amend the implementing regulations for Section 501 to include new provisions and requirements. As a result, DAO 215-10 was revised to include these requirements. For quick reference, a brief summary of the revisions to the DAO can be downloaded here (Coming Soon)

Department Administrative Order 209 - 8: Access for People with Disabilities to Meetings and Other Group Events 

  • DAO 209-8 sets forth the Department’s policies and requirements for providing accessibility to meetings, events, and other gatherings for individuals with disabilities. For best practices for ensuring accessibility for employees who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing during in-person or virtual events, meetings, training, conferences, etc., please visit the OCR webpage: Accessible Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (Hoh) Individuals.


Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Sections 501 and 505

  • Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Pub. L. 93-112) (Rehab. Act), as amended, as these sections appear in volume 29 of the United States Code, beginning at section 791. Section 501 prohibits employment discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the federal sector. Section 505 contains provisions governing remedies and attorney's fees under Section 501. Relevant definitions that apply to sections 501 and 505 precede these sections.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 508 

  • Section 508 requires that Federal agencies must ensure comparable accessibility to persons with disabilities whenever that agency uses electronic or information technology, unless such access would impose an undue burden. This web site contains the text of Section 508, as amended, as well as other materials.

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) 

  • This law makes it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities in employment (Title I), in public services (Title II), in public accommodations (Title III) and in telecommunications (Title IV). EEOC is responsible for enforcing Title I's prohibition against discrimination against people with disabilities in employment. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law also requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to applicants and qualified individual with disabilities unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business.

Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 ADAAA -

  • This law made a number of significant changes to the definition of “disability.” It also directed the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to amend its ADA regulations to reflect the changes made by the ADAAA. EEOC provides information about the ADAAA.

Guidance and Regulations

  • Executive Order 13164 - Requiring Federal Agencies to Establish Procedures to Facilitate the  Provision of Reasonable Accommodation, October 20, 2000 

Additional Resources

Attachment Size
DAO 215-10 757.09 KB
ETK User Guide 5.04 MB
Personal Assistance Services 353.49 KB
CD-575 390.73 KB