Because a reasonable accommodation provides an opportunity for the employee to perform the essential functions, and in most cases all functions of the job, or access a benefit or privilege of employment, and allows an applicant access to the application process, it is expected that the accommodation shall be provided as soon as reasonably possible. Special circumstances may influence timing of this process. In cases such as applying for a job or attending a USDA sponsored function scheduled to occur shortly may require expediting the reasonable accommodation request immediately. Most other accommodation decisions can be made and the accommodation provided within a few days, however the time lines indicated below shall be followed:
|a||the process to consider a reasonable accommodation request should begin immediately upon the receipt by the appropriate official of an oral or written request by the individual asking for the accommodation, or their representative. However, the process shall begin in no more than five business days from the date of the oral or written request;
|b||in situations where the individual has an obvious disability or previously documented medical condition that qualifies him/her as an individual with a disability and the accommodation requested is related to limitations caused by that medical condition, the first line supervisor must determine if the accommodation is effective and, if so, provide the accommodation in no more than 30 business days from the date of the written or oral
|c||in situations where the individual does not have an obvious or previously documented medical condition that qualifies him/her as an individual with a disability, the individual to whom the request is made shall forward the request to the Mission Area or Agency DEPM
within three business days from the date of the written or oral request. The Mission Area or Agency DEPM shall forward the request to the Mission Area Designee within two business
|d||with permission of the employee, the Mission Area Designee shall request any needed additional documentation from the appropriate source within five business days;
|e||upon receipt of the documentation, the Mission Area Designee shall within five business days consult with the USDA Medical Officer, as necessary, and make a decision regarding whether the employee is or is not an individual with a disability and so inform the requestor’s first line supervisor and the Mission Area or Agency Disability Employment Program Manager of the decision within this same five business day period;
in situations where medical documentation is necessary, the thirty business day period for the first line supervisor to determine if the accommodation is effective and to provide the accommodation begins on the date the Mission Area Designee issued his/her decision identified in (e) above.
It may be necessary to extend the above-mentioned time frames. Extenuating circumstances are factors that could not reasonably have been anticipated or avoided in advance of the request for accommodation. When these circumstances occur, the time for processing a request and providing the accommodation will be extended as reasonably necessary. All USDA employees are expected to act as quickly as possible to determine eligibility and provide needed accommodation. Below are a few examples of extenuating circumstances:
In the event of an extenuating circumstance, the employee’s supervisor shall notify the employee of the reason for the delay, and the approximate date on which a decision, and/or provision of the reasonable accommodation is expected. The supervisor shall investigate whether temporary measures can be taken to assist the employee. A temporary measure may be taken even when the delay is caused by the need to obtain or evaluate medical documentation to determine if the employee has a covered disability. This in no way obligates USDA to continue or offer further accommodations if the determination is made that the employee does not have a covered disability.
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