Reasonable Accommodations – Problematic in the Long Run?

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Latest post Wed, Feb 22 2017 3:50 AM by AttyMcGill. 2 replies.
  • Sat, Feb 18 2017 3:42 PM

    • FedMgr
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    Reasonable Accommodations – Problematic in the Long Run?

    I am 55 years old, have 11 years with the federal government, and have Addison's Disease. I have been able to manage the disease and live a normal lifestyle up until recently. My current position is supervisory, and equivalent to GS-15. During the past year, my job has intensified, leading me to work very long hours and weekends, as well as long-term TDY with no visits home. As a result, I have begun to experience Addisonian episodes, and my physician has advised me that, unless something changes, I am on the path to experience Addisonian crisis, which is life threatening. My physician agrees that my job is causing the Addisonian episodes.

    I spoke to my supervisor and the Disability Program Manager (DPM) about my situation, and asked whether adjustments could be made to my job to enable me to continue working without risking my health. The DPM advised me to seek situational telework as a reasonable accommodation by filling out my agency's form. I wasn't clear why this advice was helpful, since I already am able to telework situationally. My agency's accommodation memo / procedures state that, to request a reasonable accommodation, the employee asks the physician to complete the agency's form. The employee provides to the physician 3 items: performance objectives, essential job functions (as identified by the supervisor), and the position requirements description. Using these 3 items, the physician describes how the employee's condition is negatively affected by the job, and what reasonable accommodations will improve the situation.

    My position requirements description is not only extremely general; it is a hodge-podge of scanned information concatenated together, and I contend it does not describe essential job functions. Therefore, I identified essential/marginal functions of my specific job as it exists today, and gained my supervisor's concurrence to seek a reasonable accommodation of delegating the marginal functions.  I am about to complete this process, but had a couple questions.

    If I seek reasonable accommodations including this delegation of marginal functions, as well as situational telework and sick leave on short notice, is it likely to hinder my ability to seek disability retirement at a future date, if my condition continues to worsen?

    Also, I have a general question: if an employee agrees to a reasonable accommodation, and is subsequently unable to perform successfully with the accommodation in place, is the employee's eligibility for disability retirement negatively affected?

     

  • Tue, Feb 21 2017 2:09 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    • Joined on Thu, Mar 30 2000
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    Re: Reasonable Accommodations – Problematic in the Long Run?

    Suggestion ....in the very complex world of federal jargon and rules it might be smart to get some paid review of of your paper pile BEFORE you submit final written anything .....one seemingly very skilled attorney on these matters frequently responds here ....

    As a practical matter ...a boss in your corner and a doctor willing to cooperate with right words are major assets but they may not know the words that count in that environment ....so,get some help with the words and concepts that matter 



  • Wed, Feb 22 2017 3:50 AM In reply to

    Re: Reasonable Accommodations – Problematic in the Long Run?

    The simple answer to your multiple questions:  Whatever the agency does as being characterized as an 'accommodation' is likely only temporary, and will not be a permanent restructuring of the position itself, but tailored to fit your current medical needs.  As such, it does not rise to the level of a legally-viable accommodation, anyway.  That being said -- whether permanent or temporary -- if, after such 'accommodations' are made and you still cannot do your job, it can only 'help' your disabiity retirement case later insofar as it will be further evidence that you tried, the agency tried, and still you could not be accommodated.

    Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Attorney

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