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Page 2 of Reasonable Accommodation Comments

"Not only is a disgrace that HUD would not agree to reasonably accommodate their employees, in my opinion it is against the law. I would like to see them challenged in this area. People in general do not understand disabilities unless they themselves happen to be unfortunate and something debilitating happens to them. What ever happened to "love your fellow man"? Unfortunately I have seen a big decline in HUD over my 34+ years with the Department when it comes to caring about the employees. That is why I will be leaving as soon as I become eligible. Who wants to work where you are not appreciated and expert skills mean nothing!"

"THIS IS A TOTAL DISGRACE. As an employee with HUD for the last 16 years, I have since had 2 surgeries both under workman's compensation due to the use of the mouse and keyboard. I use an ergonomic keyboard and mouse and wish I had prior to getting the injuries. My orthopedic surgeon has numerous articles to back up the fact that keyboards and mice are damaging workers like us who use them repetitive. The Union should not allow this to happen. This needs to be fought on behalf of all HUD employees"

"I am not sure what you expect me to do regarding your E-Mail, as the Office has accommodated my needs very well. I have a special keyboard and a ball mouse which meets my needs. It is a shame you have to negotiate with such short sighted individuals. I know the management in the Field Office is much more enlightened and compassionate. In another instance they have offered to get an employee with visual problems a larger computer monitor than other employees use. Also, in my case I do not drive, a management staff person has volunteered to drive me to conduct my monitoring. All I have to do is coordinate my trip with one another employee is making. My work assignments also reflect an awareness of my slight mobility problems. I do not believe reasonable accommodation is an issue in our Office. Good luck, but I have no horror stories to report."

"I certainly do agree that the process for obtaining ergonomic designed equipment should be streamlined. Not only for persons with disabilities but, also, as a preventive measure, for employees before they become disabled. I believe a written policy should be established that takes into account the expense of obtaining the equipment versus the lost work hours that will be saved. I would think that the up front expense will be more than offset by the long term savings."

"I agree totally with the statement made in the "Urgent Action Alert" notice and that "it is a disgrace that a Department charged with enforcing the Civil Rights Act would blatantly ignore the lawful right of its employees". Is this just another example of how the Department treats it's employees? If the Department stays with this policy it should be remembered in the annals of Department history along with calling employees with having 20 or mores years as being "Dead Wood". The Department continues to amaze us with some of their archaic thinking. It has long been know that productivity increases if employees are given the appropriate tools to work with and this should include ergonomic office equipment. Along with productivity, moral also increases and work comp claims would in all probability diminish if the Department would open their eyes and recognize that preventive measures lessen the impact on both the Department and the employee."

"I support AFGE's position regarding accommodation in hiring and provision of all modifications to the buildings and access to equipment which will enable or enhance their ability to perform their assigned duties."

"I would like to inform AFGE, that in the HUD office, all possible accommodations for disabled employees have been provided with no hesitation on the the part of management or IT. It would be good to have this in writing, but I must commend our organization for their all out accommodations. One of the severest handicapped people, who uses a walker, and is partially blind, has her own printer, and a special computer that magnifies print, and that can "read" to her vocally. IT has told us to let them know if we have any special needs; there are several of us that have carpal tunnel, and IT has bought special equipment to help us."

" Yes, all employees should be given equal opportunity to have reasonable accommodations in the workplace. That is what MLK and other great leaders have envisioned."

"I find it hard to imagine why management would not consider electronic technology for those struggling with mental or physical disabilities. Certainly there must be more to this story than meet the eye. Advances in new technology are occurring at a rapid pace to mitigate all sorts of obstacles and are readily available in the marketplace. Our government must fulfill a leadership role in this regard. I applaud your efforts to assists our fellow co-workers who are burdened with disabilities who deserve every right to technology that will provide more equity in the workplace environment."

"I believe the phrase is "practice what you preach". It is difficult to maintain a sincere commitment and continuous effort to our agency's goals of public service when our agency does not demonstrate a similar commitment and concern for the employees. They manner in which we perform our responsibilities is in great part related to and influenced by the manner in which our agency treats us. "

"I agree that management’s unwillingness to negotiate is deplorable. Management should be made to be more responsive and comply with their obligation under the law. They should be more responsive and provide constructive input into the process. There should be one central database as to what reasonable accommodations have been granted. Each HUD employee should not have to reinvent the wheel each time they request a reasonable accommodation. HUD could very easily establish clear and concise standards for documenting the need for a reasonable accommodation. I have seen the instances in which they have taken 2 and 3 years to reasonably accommodate visually impaired and physically disabled staff. This is abhorrent behavior which demonstrates that HUD simply does not want to comply."

"I am appalled by this Federal Agency's (HUD) refusal to include a written reasonable accommodation policy to assist its own disabled employees with ergonomic work stations. Recently one of my co-workers was complaining about her injured back and how she has to ask for a reasonable accommodation to get a egonomic keypad for her computer. Many of us who are right handed have left-winged desks and all day everyday we have to twist our heads, arms, hands, heads, and bodies to access our computer equipment and telephones. This Department's refusal to accommodate the disabled employees affects us all."

"all levels of management are ignorant of just what the ADA requires them to do. I was able to find HUD's time frames, ADA discussions, etc. on the web. My boss had no clue what he was to do. He not only mishandled the whole situation, everyone else on up the line (including Human Resources) has violated policy and/or law. Every time I think about this situation my stress levels rise and I wonder if the upshot will be a stroke, heart attack or nervous breakdown. HUD sure stinks in viewing employees as Assets. I would say my treatment at HUD's hands over the past 16 years is shabby if not criminal."

"As almost all office work is now done with computers, not encompassing electronic technology as a reasonable accommodation is not acceptable."

"I'm very dismayed to hear about Management's stance on the provision of ergonomic equipment, since I wouldn't be keyboarding the way I can without the ergonomic keyboard provided to me years ago when I was in the ______ office. I can't figure out how it benefits an administration to act this way. The dollar cost, nation-wide, would have to be miniscule compared to the overall IT budget. And there must be studies out there that highlight how the use of sick leave and on-the-job dexterity and comfort are adversely impacted without the benefit of ergonomic tools that are easily available. I guess I'll have to start praying that my current keyboard doesn't bite the dust! Good luck with your continued negotiations."

"Maybe a two-fold attack to this blatant discrimination is in order. Granted as long as the union is in negotiations with management the EEO process is unavailable but will be available if union talk breaks down. Now that the agencies must pay for their own discrimination complaints, process costs, damages, attorney costs, etc., they are more likely to want to settle. Perhaps, the knowledge that the next move when union talks get nowhere is an attorney and the EEO process which is long and cumbersome but ultimately when in front of a judge will be adjudicated in favor of reasonable accommodation for the disabled, along with the award of damages and attorney costs. I have never worked with the advantage of a union and so I may not be aware of the union mind-set, but it never hurts to let management know that this is not going away and it will cost them some serious cash. Although, union negotiations preclude other avenues, those avenues open up when negotiations break down. One thing management fears is the possibility of their incurring major costs to their agency. Definitely effects their upward mobility. And the costs can be substantial. But if they , with this threat, do not immediately begin making the parties whole, the rest of the process can be long. The administrative process can be a nightmare. But a true and good case, in front of a judge can be successful and profitable. I appreciate your email and the opportunity to know what's going on."

"Are we living in the dark ages????? We have computers to do our work faster yet our employer will not give us the aids to use these modern devises without creating permanent damage to our bodies. W e need these items to help prevent arthritis, carpal tunnel disease and strained muscles that require us to miss hours of work for treatment for these problems."

"We deal with vision and mobility issues all of the time. Most careing people do the right thing when issues come up and make the person who happens to have an issue not feel like an outcast. This can be in some cases as simple as a computer screen enlarger to help vision. Why wouldn't a Departmental policy contain language to include such an accommodation? Hopefully I am missing something here. Sometimes even the obvious can be a challenge with the powerful and omnipotent HUD Manager."

"I would greatly appreciate it if the Department would ergonomic computer devices to accommodate it's employees. I suffer from a repetitive motion illness and I am in constant pain due to the constant use of computer equipment. My illness has been documented and approved by the Department of Labor as a work related illness. I have been employed by HUD for only a few months. I have completed the form HUD-22006 (with copies of letters from the Department of Labor and my orthopaedic surgeon) so that I could get approval for a trackball device to help reduce the repetitive motion of my arm related to the use of a mouse. I am hoping it will be approved soon."

"I thought the definition of disabled was broad enough to cover things like carpel tunnel syndrome and that a person with this problem could expect to receive a reasonable accommodation through computer setup, keyboard and mouse changes, etc. This is wide-spread physical problem for office workers and it is very important that you are pressing them on this. Are they saying merely that they don't want to put the process in writing for fear of committing to costs that might in the end be unreasonable--say if everyone developed carpel tunnel, for example. And saying that they will handle each case on its merits and provide reasonable accommodation based on the needs shown in each case? I think the procedures should say how they will evaluate each case and when they will provide reasonable accommodation. And I think that the procedures should state that this accommodation can include computer setup, keyborad mouse ==whatever==based on the individual circumstances. Examples would be useful. And leave it open ended as to what will be done in each case--but that management and the employee will work together to find a solution."

"This issue is of great importance to me as I have psoriatic arthritis and currently have been provided by the agency reasonable accommodations to include a touch key pad, electric hole punch and electric stapler. Without these my daily production would be greatly decreased as I have limited use of my hands and wrist without great pain. My contribution to the agency is greatly enhanced by their providing me with the tools to be able to continue to do my work in comfort."

"WE CAN CELEBRATE BY TREATING EVERY ONE WITH RESPECT AND FAIRLY. BEFORE, MISTREATING ANYONE PUT YOURSELF IN HIS/HER PLACE. LEARN TO RESPECT THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS. DON'T CONFUSE PERSONAL FEELING WITH FACTS."

"I am upset to hear that HUD does not want to consider computers and computer accessory as a necessary reasonable accommodations. I have the above items and there are days that I could not work if I did not have those items. I have a pinch nerve in my back and the pain radiates pain down to my fingers and up my neck. Further,a large monitor allows me to read information with out having to bend forward. ever time I need to read my computer. This is a computer society and. companies should take responsible for the injuries that are caused by the use of office equipment. Many of the reasonable accommodations requests are the result of continuous computer work within the office."

"Over the years, I have had occasion to request reasonable accommodation two or three times. I have always found the Department quite responsive, both in Headquarters and the field, in CPD, PIH and now PD&R. In fact, I have found the Department usually wanting to do more for me than I request. Actions speak louder than words. I'd rather have the Department's responsiveness than a bunch of empty promises on paper."

"THANK YOU- THANK YOU- THANK YOU! I AM LEGALLY BLIND AND I WORK FOR THE FAIR HOUSING ENFORCEMENT DIVISION FOR THE LAST 12 YEARS. OUR JOB IS TO ENFORCE CIVIL RIGHTS AS IT RELATES TO ISSUES OF HOUSING. FOR MANY YEARS I HAD TO STRUGGLE WITH THIS ISSUE OF REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION. IN FACT I HAVE BECOME VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE WITH THIS ISSUE. MANY CO-WORKERS FROM OTHER DEPARTMENT COME TO ME FOR ADVICE. I AM SO HAPPY THAT THIS MATTER IS BEING ADDRESS BY AFGE LOCAL 222 . THANK GOD THAT MY DIRECTOR IS SENSITIVE TO THIS. HE HAS FOUGHT FOR MY RIGHT TO BE ACCOMMODATED. IF IT WAS NOT FOR THE SPECIAL ADAPTIVE EQUIPMENT PROVIDED TO ME , I WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO MY WORK WHICH I LOVE SO MUCH, TO FIGHT DISCRIMINATION IN HOUSING. SO IF THEIR IS ANYTHING I CAN DO TO HELP YOU IN YOUR EFFORTS TO HELP OUR MEMBERS PERFORM BETTER IN THEIR DUTIES , PLEASE LET KNOW ."

"Dear AFGE: Management should provide reasonable accommodation in regard to electronic equipment just as in regard to other aspects of the workplace. Keep fighting for improvement in this area."

"After reading the message below, I can't believe what I read! How can you deny the rights of HUD employees to receive ergonomic keyboards etc.?!?!? I have had carpel tunnel surgery caused by 20+ years of sitting in front of a computer, doing HUD's work. There are a lot of other people here with the same problem. I did receive my ergonomic keyboard after my surgery to fix the carpel tunnel but what about those who now need the same things because they are going through exactly what I went through. Please don't make them have to go through pain and suffering by not providing them with the proper equipment they need to do their jobs. The Union is correct in saying that HUD is in charge of making sure the the Fair Housing, Equal Opportunities Laws are applied to everybody out there. Why then would you deny HUD employees the same rights you fight to give to others?? That doesn't make sense!! Please reconsider your actions and treat us exactly the way you would treat outsiders with the same problems."

"After reading the most recent e:mail notification that the Department will not include computer apparatus as a standard under reasonable accommodation is unbelievable. You would think that one of the major Departments charged with reviewing, addressing and enforcing reasonable accommodation, they would be a firm practicer, in addition to preaching to its clients. Further, as a way to avoid receipt and processing of requests from its clients (its employees) for such apparatus to perform their job, they would be able to address the issue before it becomes an issue.I would hope the Department would rethink its current policy and amend the policy to include the apparatus and just do the right for its employees."

"What irks me is that "management" has ergonomic keyboards, special chairs, flat screen monitors, and other items which provide them more physical comfort than anyone else. Just because they are management, why should they enjoy accommodations the rest of