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Requiring Federal Agencies To Establish Procedures ToFacilitate the Provision of Reasonable Accommodation
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 701 et seq.), as amended, and in order to promote a model Federal workplace that provides reasonable accommodation for (1) individuals with disabilities in the application process for Federal employment; (2) Federal employees with disabilities to perform the essential functions of a position; and (3) Federal employees with disabilities to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Establishment of Effective Written Procedures to Facilitate the Provision of Reasonable Accommodation. (a) Each Federal agency shall establish effective written procedures for processing requests for reasonable accommodation by employees and applicants with disabilities. The written procedures may allow different components of an agency to tailor their procedures as necessary to ensure the expeditious processing of requests.
(b) As set forth in Re-charting the Course: The First Report of the Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities (1998), effective written procedures for processing requests for reasonable accommodation should include the following:
(1) Explain that an employee or job applicant may initiate a request for reasonable accommodation orally or in writing. If the agency requires an applicant or employee to complete a reasonable accommodation request form for recordkeeping purposes, the form must be provided as an attachment to the agency's written procedures;
(2) Explain how the agency will process a request for reasonable accommodation, and from whom the individual will receive a final decision;
(3) Designate a time period during which reasonable accommodation requests will be granted or denied, absent extenuating circumstances. Time limits for decision making should be as short as reasonably possible;
(4) Explain the responsibility of the employee or applicant to provide appropriate medical information related to the functional impairment at issue and the requested accommodation where the disability and/or need for accommodation is not obvious;
(5) Explain the agency's right to request relevant supplemental medical information if the information submitted does not clearly explain the nature of the disability, or the need for the reasonable accommodation, or does not otherwise clarify how the requested accommodation will assist the employee to perform the essential functions of the job or to enjoy the benefits and privileges of the workplace;
(6) Explain the agency's right to have medical information reviewed by a medical expert of the agency's choosing at the agency's expense;
(7) Provide that reassignment will be considered as a reasonable accommodation if the agency determines that no other reasonable accommodation will permit the employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of his or her current position;
(8) Provide that reasonable accommodation denials be in writing and specify the reasons for denial;Start Printed Page 46566
(9) Ensure that agencies' systems of recordkeeping track the processing of requests for reasonable accommodation and maintain the confidentiality of medical information received in accordance with applicable law and regulations; and
(10) Encourage the use of informal dispute resolution processes to allow individuals with disabilities to obtain prompt reconsideration of denials of reasonable accommodation. Agencies must also inform individuals with disabilities that they have the right to file complaints in the Equal Employment Opportunity process and other statutory processes, as appropriate, if their requests for reasonable accommodation are denied.
Sec. 2. Submission of Agency Reasonable Accommodation Procedures to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Within 1 year from the date of this order, each agency shall submit its procedures to the EEOC. Each agency shall also submit to the EEOC any modifications to its reasonable accommodation procedures at the time that those modifications are adopted.
Sec. 3. Collective Bargaining Obligations. In adopting their reasonable accommodation procedures, agencies must honor their obligations to notify their collective bargaining representatives and bargain over such procedures to the extent required by law.
Sec. 4. Implementation. The EEOC shall issue guidance for the implementation of this order within 90 days from the date of this order.
Sec. 5. Construction and Judicial Review. (a) Nothing in this order limits the rights that individuals with disabilities may have under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.
(b) This order is intended only to improve the internal management of the executive branch and does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity by a party against the United States, its agencies, its officers, its employees, or any person.wj THE WHITE HOUSE, July 26, 2000. Filed 7-27-00; 8:45 am]
[FR Doc. 00-19323
Billing code 3195-01-P