home > reasonable accommodation comments

The Council has received approximately 116 email responses (from the enews alert sent January 16th) ranging from short responses such as "I concur" and "I agree" to lengthier responses. We will post additional comments as time allows. If you wish to send a comment to the Council, include a statement that is ok/not ok to post it here. The hand at the bottom of the page will take you to the second page of comments.

"Your email brought a very perplexing message which some of us will likely ignore. But hopefully the responses of those of us who dare to challenge this blatant injustice of those with employees with physical limitations requiring employee assisted devices and services will prevail. There must be human compassion and administrative equity for those who struggle to be productive in their jobs. Yet we are seeing hard earned supportive means and devices removed or efforts our hindered by the lack of reasonable and appropriate means to provide, permit and protect the comfort and fair treatment of workers allowing them to be productive. Redress of this issue is the minimal response to the matter. The fulfilment and success our struggle to force a realization of the expectations of those in need is our charge. And, it is imperative to the future of our relationship to management and the appreciation of our employment situations both individual and collective. Forge on - We've got your back!"

"They are probably relying on the Toyota case (can't remember cite, but it was decided in the last five years) in which the USSC said that if you can feed yourself and bathe yourself, you are not disabled under Title I of the ADA. However, to their credit, they are probably too embarrassed to make such statements publically. Therefore, your emphasis on the civil rights intent behind the ADA is an excellent strategy to flush out such a rationale. Furthermore, policies like this, as well as telework etc., should be looked upon by management as productivity enhancement tools. Upper management should be trained to train the line managers how to use those tools to the benefit of the Agency, as well as to the benefit of the employee. Perhaps the union (in conjunction with the AFL-CIO) could develop a course on this issue as a counterpoint to the USSC case cited above."

"I think 'parents' should practice what they preach."

"This is an outrage. There is very little, if any additional cost for certain ergonomic equipment. I would question if the Secretary is aware that his representatives are this naïve I would suggest that with all of the other violations of human rights that this agency is currently trying to defend itself against an article should be placed in the newspaper for all to see. That always seems to get their attention. For example the number of EEO complaints and grievances filed each year by the staff. Since they just recently lost a case it would strengthen the impact of a statement. Not to mention the shear number of outstanding complaints that show the low moral of the staff as a whole."

"I don't understand how they can deny an individual the equipment necessary to perform their job duties. If this is not done, they will be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There will be numerous complaints being filed by individuals with disabilities because they should be afforded they same opportunities as other co-workers to perform to the best of their ability."

"I myself have a hearing impairment and understand that when a request is made that sometimes the agency does not address the situation properly. This makes the individual ask how can a government agency not be in compliance with the ADA, that was enacted to help eliminate discrimination, when it expects the private sector to follow the law and it does."

"Are you aware that while the proposed reasonable accommodation does not include electronic technology, HUD employees can receive whatever assistive technology equipment they require to do their job under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Assistive technology is considered any item, piece of equipment, or system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is commonly used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. This includes mice, ergonomic keyboards, monitors, software, and a variety of products. Section 504 prohibits discrimination based on disability in federally funded and federally conducted programs or activities in the United States, including employment programs. For more information on HUD's Section 504 program (referred to as the Assistive Technology Program) please review on the following website ---> http://hudweb.hud.gov/po/i/it/usersupp/enabled/index.htm"

"While I am in an office NOT covered by AFGE, I thought my experience would be helpful. I requested an enhanced monitor and MAGic 8 Reader System in late December 2002. My supervisor in immediately acted on the request and contacted the Regional IT folks who also worked diligently to accomplish this request. Within a week it was approved and delivered to my office. The response was outstanding. Not only was the equipment delivered, but John Edington of the IT Assistance Staff walked me through the programs. It may be difficult to understand why there may not be a written policy, but, in my case, the Department came through with flying colors."

"I am employed by HUD as a Civil Rights Analyst. My hands were severely effected by the workload brought on by the re-organization and shift of assignments from the clerical division to the enforcement division. The doctors immediately recommended time off work and a return to light duty assignments. HUD FHEO Management failed to acknowledge the doctors' orders initially. The doctors had recommended that I be provided with a voice activated, laptop computer which would allow me to type or speak information into the subject case files. The doctors had indicated that I should not do any lifting, yet Management required that I move boxes of papers, heavy training manuals and other items which re-injured my hands. When I hesitated to re-injure myself, I was reprimanded verbally, in writing and suspended from work losing income. When I borrowed carrying cases for my work, I was required to return the rolling carrying case and instructed not to take work home or even on-site unless it was approved. When I asked to take work home, the requests were denied. Ergonomical accessments were requested by my doctors but never provided by the Department. In my opinion, the Department lacked the sensitivity needed to respond promptly to my Reasonable Accommodation needs. There was no structure or professional approach to providing me with objective policy and procedure information. Human Resources and Management were uninformed and insensitive about how to handle Workmen's Comp matters and Reasonable Accommodation. The progress that was made happened in a very untimely manner. A voice activated desk-top computer was provided more than two years after I requested it. The pain and suffering, surgery and recovery had already occurred and the time had elapsed, minimizing the real need for the accommodations after the damage was done. The office I have worked in for thirteen years refused to provide the voice-activated laptop computer requested for me by my doctors regardless of the numerous times the request was made. As a result, my work and my moral was adversely affected. I am providing this statement as a plea for AFGE to press very hard to substantiate the rights of HUD's disabled workforce."

"HUD management must include all types of accommodations for persons with disabilities. HUD's commitment to enforcing accessibility for recipients of HUD's grants seems a bit shallow when dealing with its own employees if it excludes accommodations for the use of electronic equipment. This makes me wonder if HUD management has a conscience or a desire to do the right thing. I applaud the Union's efforts to expand the range of accommodations for those current and future employees with disabilities."

"I have been a member of the union since 1988. I am happy to see that the union is moving forward with the Reasonable Accommodation. I recently had a bad experience and made a Reasonable Accommodation and was denied. I suffer with a "emotional disability" and a "physical disability". I commend the AFGE Council 222. Keep up the positive approaches in breaking the barriers. I look forward in the up coming information on this subject."

"At the very least, there should be a statement of commitment to reasonable accommodations for disabled employees. As you know, we monitor recipients for compliance with Section 504. "

"Even if agreement cannot be reached on the Procedures, there should be overall guidance for all employees on safest way to handle the electronic equipment we use and/or are exposed to in the workplace. You may have already done this but, if not , and if management does not take the lead, the union should check the literature in the field, consult EPA, etc., and develop guidance for everyone's benefit. There are simple things which can be done. For example, most employees do not have their monitors or keyboards at heights which will be best for their eyes and hands."

"Thank you for bringing this issue to my attention. As one of the early advocates for the disabled in HUD, and a founding member of DIG (Disabled in Government), I continue to nurture a belief that HUD has a role in making the Federal workplace a demonstration of the dynamic methods to unleash productivity among all the members of its workforce. The disabled persons on HUD's staff have made outstanding contributions over the years, many of them precisely because of the insight they poses due to their disabling conditions. They are uniquely positioned to address any number of concerns assigned to HUD. HUD should seek all ways to nurture and amplify the capacity of each and every one of them to carry out their responsibilities. And, where possible, HUD should facilitate ways for them to help the agency succeed in meeting the needs of the disabled persons among HUD's constituents."

"I think that Department of Housing and URban Development's slogan of leave no one behind should extend to its employees and provide reasonable accommodation. We uphold laws of equal assessment and rights we should uphold reasonable accommodation as well."

"Please consider this. I can tell you from first-hand experience that your personal situation can go from healthy to desperate very quickly, and without warning. In a sense therefore, support for providing reasonable accommodation is support for yourself."

"Please work to provide all employees reasonable accommodations. I currently do not need any, however, that may not be the case in the future."

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(this page posted January 21, 2003 and updated January 23)