The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for employees and applicants. DHS provides reasonable accommodations for the known physical or mental limitations of otherwise qualified employees and applicants with disabilities, unless DHS can demonstrate that a particular accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of its programs.
What is a reasonable accommodation?
A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment or alteration that enables an otherwise qualified person with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties, or enjoy benefits and privileges of employment. There are three categories of reasonable accommodations:
- Modifications or adjustments to a job application process to permit an individual with a disability to be considered for a job (such as providing application forms in alternative formats like large print or Braille).
- Modifications or adjustments to enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job (such as providing sign language interpreters).
- Modifications or adjustments that enable employees with disabilities to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment (such as removing physical barriers in an organization’s cafeteria).
In 2013, CRCL issued a Directive to establish the DHS policy for providing reasonable accommodations for employees and applicants with disabilities. In 2020, CRCL issued a revised Instruction establishing the procedures for providing reasonable accommodations to qualified employees and applicants with disabilities and personal assistance services for employees with targeted disabilities at DHS.
In 2017, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a Questions and Answers guide to assist federal agencies in providing personal assistance services under Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. EEOC Issues New Guide to Assist Federal Agencies to Provide Personal Assistance Services. Consistent with the EEOC’s guidance, requests for personal assistance services for employees with targeted disabilities will be processed under reasonable accommodations procedures.