Effective Date: April 22, 2019
Expiration Date: April 22, 2024
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2.1.1 Employees may make a reasonable accommodation request to: (1) a supervisor or manager in the individual’s chain of command; (2) the Center EEO Office; or (3) any other individual designated by the Agency to accept such requests (e.g., the Center Disability Program Manager (DPM)). (See 29 C.F.R. § 1614.203(d)(3)(i)(D) and Section 3.1.1.)
2.1.2 Employees requesting a reasonable accommodation shall be responsible for:
a. Notifying his/her supervisor, a supervisor or manager in his/her chain of command, Center EEO Office, or the Center DPM of any disability or medical condition that may interfere with the performance of the essential functions of his/her job, and making an oral or written request for a reasonable accommodation. The decision whether to grant or deny an employee’s reasonable accommodation request is made by the Decision Maker in consultation with the Center DPM. (See Section 2.3.)
b. Completing NASA Form (NF) 1699 or its equivalent and seeking assistance from his/her supervisor, a supervisor or manager in his/her chain of command for this purpose, as necessary. (See Appendix F.) If the employee does not complete NF 1699, it shall be completed by the Decision Maker as prescribed in Section 3.1.8. The employee shall be responsible for promptly reviewing the completed NF 1699 or its equivalent and signing it to acknowledge that the form accurately reflects the requested accommodation. 4 (See Section 3.1.8.)
c. Participating in the interactive process described in Section 3.2.2 with the Decision Maker regarding his/her functional limitations and the need for an accommodation. The employee’s responsibilities in the interactive process include:
(1) Suggesting reasonable accommodation possibilities that can be explored;
(2) Cooperating with management efforts to identify effective accommodations and/or alternate placements, if necessary; and
(3) Promptly providing reasonable supporting medical documentation on the physical and/or mental impairment or medical condition to be accommodated and how it relates to the essential functions of his/her position. 5 (See Appendix A for definition of "reasonable medical documentation.") Employees should understand that if the Agency asks for reasonable supporting medical documentation, their request for a reasonable accommodation shall not be processed until they provide the supporting documentation. (See Sections 3.2.4, 3.2.7, and 3.3.) Failure to timely provide reasonable supporting medical documentation shall likely result in the Decision Maker’s denial of the request. (See Section 3.2.11 - Non-Responsiveness.)
2.1.3 Employees should understand that under Federal law they are not entitled to the accommodation of their choice, but they are entitled to an effective accommodation that does not impose an undue hardship on the Agency.
2.2.1 Job applicants may make a reasonable accommodation request to any Agency employee connected with the Agency’s application process. (See 29 C.F.R. § 1614.203(d)(3)(i)(D) and Section 3.1.2.)
2.2.2 Job applicants requesting a reasonable accommodation shall be responsible for:
a. Notifying the Agency employee connected with the Agency’s application process of any disability or medical condition that may need to be accommodated during this process. The NASA employee receiving the request is responsible for communicating this request to the Human Resource Specialist (HRS) identified on the vacancy announcement. The HRS (Decision Maker) is responsible for determining whether to grant or deny a reasonable accommodation request from a job applicant. This decision should be made in consultation with the Center DPM. An example would be a request for sign language interpretation. (See 29 C.F.R. § 1614.203(d)(3)(i)(D); and Section 3.1.1.)
b. Completing NF 1699 or its equivalent and seeking assistance from the HRS or Center DPM, as necessary. (See Appendix F.) If the job applicant does not complete NF 1699 or its equivalent, it shall be completed by the HRS as prescribed in Section 3.1.8. The job applicant shall be responsible for promptly reviewing the completed NF 1699 or its equivalent and signing it to acknowledge that the form accurately reflects the requested accommodation. 6 (See Section 3.1.8.)
c. Participating in the interactive process described in Section 3.2.2 with the HRS regarding his/her functional limitations and the need for an accommodation.
2.3.1 The Decision Maker shall be responsible for deciding whether to grant or deny a reasonable accommodation request. For accommodation requests made by employees, the designated Decision Maker is the employee’s supervisor or manager in the employee’s chain of command. For accommodation requests made by job applicants, the designated Decision Maker is the HRS identified on the vacancy announcement. (See Sections 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3.) 7
2.3.2 When employees or job applicants orally make a reasonable accommodations request and do not make the request in writing, the Decision Maker shall be responsible for ensuring that the reasonable accommodation request is formally documented. The Decision Maker is responsible for transferring the details of an oral request to NF 1699 or its equivalent, as soon as possible, but no later than five calendar days from the date the request is received and promptly providing copies of the NF 1699 or its equivalent to the requestor for review and signature. The processing date of an oral request in the NF 1699 or its equivalent shall be the date that the request is made by the employee or applicant.
2.3.3 Throughout this process, the Decision Maker shall consult with the DPM. The DPM is highly encouraged to consult with the Center Reasonable Accommodations Team throughout this process, as appropriate. (See Section 2.8.)
2.3.4 When a qualified individual with a disability requests a reasonable accommodation, the appropriate accommodation may be obvious or the individual may suggest a reasonable accommodation based upon his/her own life experience. When an appropriate accommodation is not readily apparent, the Decision Maker shall make a reasonable effort to identify one or more accommodations with the requestor in the interactive process
2.3.5 The Decision Maker shall engage in the interactive process with employees and job applicants to discuss the requestor’s limitations and the need for accommodation. The Decision Maker shall communicate early and periodically throughout the process with individuals who have requested a reasonable accommodation. This discussion is designed to allow the Decision Maker to determine whether the employee is a qualified individual with a disability, and if so, what reasonable accommodation would be appropriate that would not cause an undue hardship to the Agency. (See Section 3.2.2.)
2.3.6 The Decision Maker shall promptly notify the requestor in writing of the final decision to grant or deny the reasonable accommodation request. 8
188.8.131.52 Where an accommodation is granted, the Decision Maker shall notify the requestor in writing of when and how the accommodation shall be provided.
184.108.40.206 Where an accommodation is denied, the Decision Maker shall notify the requestor in writing and provide reconsideration rights, appeal rights, and rights to seek EEO counseling. Note: Employees and job applicants have the right to contact an EEO counselor at any time during this process to be advised of their rights.
220.127.116.11 The Decision Maker shall consider all resources available to the Agency as a whole, excluding those designated by statute for a specific purpose that does not include reasonable accommodations. The Decision Maker shall be aware that to deny an accommodation request based solely on cost is not acceptable when another less costly effective accommodation is available, and may result in a violation of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and NASA policy. (See the EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance: Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (October 17, 2002) https://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/accommodation.html.)
2.3.7 The Decision Maker shall consider requests for reconsideration, including any additional information provided by the requestor, and issue written decisions on such requests within ten calendar days of the date that the request for reconsideration was submitted.
2.3.8 The Decision Maker shall initiate the reasonable accommodations interactive process on their own initiative without being asked, if the following circumstances exist:
a. The requestor’s disability and/or medical condition and need for a reasonable accommodation are obvious to the Decision Maker;
b. If the Decision Maker knows, or has reason to know, that the requestor is experiencing workplace problems because of the disability and/or medical condition; or
c. If the Decision Maker knows, or has reason to know, that the disability and/or medical condition prevents the requestor from requesting a reasonable accommodation.
2.3.9 If based on the Decision Maker’s inquiry in Section 2.3.8, the individual with a disability states that he/she does not need a reasonable accommodation, NASA shall have fulfilled its obligation. The Decision Maker shall document the interactive discussion and the individual’s confirmation that he/she does not need a reasonable accommodation and administratively close the case by completing the NF 1699A or its equivalent, filling in the item pertaining to the reasons for the closure, and providing a copy of the NF 1699A or its equivalent to the individual and the Center DPM. 9
2.4.1 The Associate Administrator (AA), ODEO, shall be responsible for ensuring the effective functioning of the reasonable accommodations policy and procedures, including the development and coordination of information dissemination and training on reasonable accommodations for managers, supervisors, and employees.
2.5.1 The HQ and Center DPMs shall be responsible for overseeing, coordinating, tracking, and providing advice on the reasonable accommodations process at the Center level.
2.5.2 The DPM shall:
a. Receive and maintain records related to all reasonable accommodation requests from employees, job applicants, and Decision Makers.
b. Notify the appropriate Decision Makers immediately when employees or job applicants make reasonable accommodation request directly to the Center DPM.
c. Facilitate the implementation of the accommodations process identified in this NPR and provide technical assistance on this NPR to employees, applicants, managers, supervisors, and stakeholders in this process.
d. Process requests relating to the benefits and privileges of employment, such as use of fitness centers, and employees should direct their requests to the Center DPM for processing. (See Appendix A for a definition of benefits and privileges of employment.)
e. Request and receive medical documentation in support of the reasonable accommodation request, safeguard the documentation, and shall forward it to the NASA physician for medical evaluation, when appropriate. (See Sections 2.7; 18.104.22.168.)
f. Engage the Reasonable Accommodations Team (comprised of Center Subject Matter Experts), as appropriate. (See Section 2.8.)
g. Enter data related to reasonable accommodation requests into the NASA electronic tracking system.
h. Safeguard the privacy of reasonable accommodation records at all times. (See Section 3.3.4.)
i. Conduct a periodic review of reasonable accommodation cases, including following up with the Decision Makers and employees to ensure that the accommodation is effective; to confirm that the need for the accommodation continues to exist; and to assure that the accommodation is not causing an undue hardship.
j. Provide ongoing technical assistance regarding this NPR to employees, applicants, supervisors, managers, and the Center Reasonable Accommodations Team.
2.6.1 Job applicants may make a reasonable accommodation request to any Agency employee connected with the Agency’s application process. (See 29 C.F.R. § 1614.203(d)(3)(i)(D) and Section 2.2 and 3.1.2.) The NASA employee receiving the request from the job applicant is responsible for communicating this request to the HRS identified on the vacancy announcement. The HRS is responsible for determining whether to grant or deny a reasonable accommodation request from a job applicant. This decision should be made in consultation with the Center DPM. An example would be a request for sign language interpretation. (See 29 C.F.R. § 1614.203(d)(3)(i)(D) and Section 3.1.1.)
2.6.2 The HRS shall ensure that all vacancy announcements include the following statement in accordance with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidelines: “Job applicants with a disability who need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process should notify the HRS. The decision on granting reasonable accommodations shall be made on a case-by-case basis.”
2.6.3 The HRS shall begin the interactive process with individuals offered employment under Schedule A, or other disability specific hiring authority, inquiring as to whether the employee requires a reasonable accommodation, prior to reporting to duty.
2.6.4 The HRS shall notify the Center DPM regarding each request for reasonable accommodation made by a job applicant or new hire and partner with the DPM to manage every request consistent with Section 2.6.1 of this NPR.
2.6.5 In employee requests for reasonable accommodation, the DPM shall consult with the HRS to assist supervisors and other members of the Center’s Reasonable Accommodation Team in the reasonable accommodation process, as appropriate based on the scope and the nature of the request.
2.6.6 The HRS shall research vacant, funded positions in support of accommodation cases that involve reassignment as a potential accommodation. (See Section 6.5.)
2.7.1 In cases in which a review of medical documentation is determined appropriate, the NASA physician at each respective Center or a Federal Occupational Health (FOH) consultant 10 shall review the medical documentation to:
a. Determine whether the requesting individual is able to perform the specific duties of the job held, with or without an accommodation.
b. Provide detailed information on the employee’s functional limitations to assist the Decision Maker in identifying what types of accommodation(s) would be reasonable and effective. (See Section 22.214.171.124.)
c. Assist the DPM, the Decision Maker, or the Center Reasonable Accommodations Team in determining whether the requestor can perform the duties of the job held without posing a direct threat to the health or safety of himself/herself or others.
2.8.1 This is a team of subject matter experts, including but not limited to the Center DPMs, the Center EEO Directors, and representatives from various Center stakeholders such as the Human Resources Office (HRO), Legal, NASA physicians, Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), Safety and Occupational Health, the Employee Assistance Program, and Facilities. The DPM is highly encouraged to engage members of this team, as appropriate, based on the scope and nature of the reasonable accommodations request.
Under the Rehabilitation Act, medical information obtained in connection with the reasonable accommodation process must be kept confidential. All members of the Reasonable Accommodations Team who obtain or receive such information are strictly bound by these confidentiality requirements and the NASA Privacy Procedural Requirements. (See Section 126.96.36.199.)
2.8.2 When this team is convened by the DPM to discuss reasonable accommodation requests, this team shall determine whether supporting reasonable medical documentation is necessary and shall advise the Decision Maker in determining whether to grant or deny the request.
2.9.1 The Center EEO Director is responsible for:
a. Providing oversight and direction of Center reasonable accommodations programs and procedures.
b. Developing and issuing guidance for the implementation of the reasonable accommodations procedures.
c. Providing technical assistance on this NPR to employees, applicants, managers, and supervisors.
d. Conducting appropriate reviews of complaints relating to reasonable accommodations.
e. Conducting periodic reviews of the process to ensure compliance with this NPR.
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