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Reasonable accommodation

The U.S. Department of Commerce provides reasonable accommodations so that people with disabilities have the opportunity to perform the duties of their positions.

What is Reasonable Accommodation?

Reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that permits a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the job application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities. For example, reasonable accommodation may include:

  • providing or modifying equipment or devices, 
  • job restructuring, 
  • part-time or modified work schedules, 
  • reassignment to a vacant position, 
  • adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies, 
  • providing readers and interpreters, and 
  • making the workplace readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities. 

An employer is required to provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified applicant or employee with a disability unless the employer can show that the accommodation would be an undue hardship -- that is, that it would require significant difficulty or expense.

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for the Department’s EEO program, including affirmative action, for employees and job applicants within the Department. The Director of the Office is the advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Administration on the Department’s responsibilities under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Equal Employment Act of 1972, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.

Reasonable Accommodation Requests

Applicants and employees requesting reasonable accommodation in the Office of the Secretary, OHRM, BIS, ITA, EDA, MBDA, and NTIA, contact, Brian Cedar at bcedar@doc.gov, 202-482-1032. For reasonable accommodation requests at other Bureaus, please refer to the OCR list of reasonable accommodation coordinators.

Assistive Technology Resources

CAP – Within the federal government there is a wonderful program housed within the Department of Defense. The Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) provides assistive technology and services to people with disabilities throughout the federal government FREE OF CHARGE! That means you can tap this resource for help in accommodating an employee with a disability. CAP will do the needs assessment, buy the needed technology, train the employee on how to use it, and follow up with updates. All you have to do is ask! (Note: Before contacting CAP directly, check with the Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator, as they may already have a relationship with CAP.) Further information can be found at https://tricare.mil/Plans/SpecialPrograms/CAP.

Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program, Department of Defense

JAN – The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) represents the most comprehensive resource for job accommodations available, and is a terrific and easy-to-use resource. This free consulting service is designed to increase the employability of people with disabilities. JAN provides individualized worksite accommodation solutions, as well as information on job accommodations and related subjects for employers and people with disabilities. Additional information can be found at http://www.jan.wvu.edu/

DISABILTY RESOURCES

The federal government’s one-stop web site for people with disabilities is an award-winning federal government website that provides an interactive, community-driven information network of disability-related programs, services, laws and benefits.