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Reasonable accommodations are changes or modifications to a job or work environment that make it possible for an employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of that job. Reasonable accommodations create equal access and opportunities in the workplace so that people with disabilities can be productive team players whose unique perspectives promote the development of successful programs.
Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, managers and supervisors are required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified Federal employees and applicants. The Disability Resource Center (DRC) is available to help all Department of Transportation managers, supervisors, and employees understand the accommodation process and obtain necessary equipment and services. While managers and employees are experts in their respective fields, they may not know how to go about providing specific reasonable accommodation solutions for different situations. That's where the DRC can offer their expertise.
Examples of Reasonable Accommodations can include:
- sign language interpreting
- screen readers and screen enlargers
- mouse alternatives
- personal amplification systems
- voice recognition systems
- modified workstation
- adjusted work schedule
Of course, the list above is not all-inclusive. Accommodations are a very individual thing, and DRC can help you or your employee find the right solution for the given situation.
How Can DRC Help?
Identify Individual Needs and Resources
The first step is to complete the DRC Accommodation Request Form so we can begin to identify your needs. Our staff will work with you to understand how your limitations impact your ability to perform your critical job tasks. Providing reasonable accommodations is an interactive process where the employee and his or her manager need to participate to help achieve a successful accommodation. DRC staff will talk with the employee and the supervisor to understand the scope of the job and to find effective solutions.
Purchase Appropriate Technologies and Services
Once your or your employee's needs have been identified, we will prepare a written Action Plan for achieving the proposed accommodations. The DRC staff member and the employee's mananger sign the form as well as the employee. The DRC will then purchase the items or services outlined in the Action Plan, at no additional cost to your operating administration.
Provide Solutions, Training, and Support
When the needed technologies or other products are delivered, DRC doesn't stop there. We want to be sure that you or your employee can fully use the accommodation effectively. We provide training in the use of the accommodation, and follow up with the employee to be sure that the accommodation is effective.
Supervisors should be aware that most technologies we purchase as an accommodation may take awhile for employees to master. As such, training is required, and adequate training time should be allowed.
What If I Want Interpreting Services or Other Ongoing Supports?
Some services, such as sign lanugage interpreting, reader services, or personal assistance while on travel, can be provided by DRC on a continuing basis. We would ask that you fill out a "Request for Accommodation" on the first instance of your request, and at that time, the procedure for obtaining your needed service will be explained. These support services are provided throughout DOT, regardless of an employee's geographic location.
For more information on requesting sign language interpreters, please visit the DRC Interpreting Services page.