Section 501 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended, requires Federal agencies to provide reasonable accommodation for qualified individuals with disabilities, unless it would cause undue hardship. A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment or in the way a job is performed that enables a person with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities.
Although many individuals with disabilities can apply for and perform jobs without any reasonable accommodations, workplace barriers may keep others from performing jobs which they could do with some form of accommodation. These barriers may be physical obstacles (such as inaccessible facilities or equipment), or they may be procedures or rules (such as rules concerning when work is performed, when breaks are taken, or how job tasks are performed). Reasonable accommodation removes workplace barriers for individuals with disabilities.
Personal Assistance Services (PAS)
As a model employer, it is the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) policy to provide PAS to its employees in accordance with 29 Code of Federal Regulations § 1614.203(d)(5), absent undue hardship on the agency. PAS means assistance with performing activities of daily living that an individual would typically perform if he or she did not have a disability, such as assistance with removing and putting on clothing, eating, and using the restroom.
Employees who may require PAS have targeted disabilities, which are disabilities that are deemed more severe as defined on the Office of Personnel Management’s Standard Form 256, such as Traumatic Brain Injury, deafness, blindness, missing extremities, significant mobility impairment, and paralysis. EEOC determined that some individuals with targeted disabilities experience barriers to employment in the absence of PAS, and thus, the provision of PAS for the federal workforce will provide greater opportunities for these individuals to participate in the workplace.
Resource Link: Questions & Answers: : Federal Agencies’ Obligation to Provide Personal Assistance Services Under Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act | U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (eeoc.gov)
NTSB Reasonable Accommodation Program