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Resource Center for Addressing and Resolving Poor Performance

Requests for Accommodations

When counseling, providing an opportunity period, or taking action, you may discover that a performance problem is due to a mental or physical condition. As a result, an employee may request some type of accommodation. If the accommodation request does not cause the agency an undue hardship, you are required to accommodate the employee if he or she has a disability and is a "qualified" individual with a disability. This type of situation is an area in which you will have to get technical assistance from your agency's human resources staff. However, as a starting point in your determination as to whether or not an employee is entitled to such an accommodation, review the checklist below.

Does the employee have a disability?
Yes if . . .
  check mark    Medical documentation supports a physical or mental condition that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or
  check mark    A record of impairment exists that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Is the employee a "qualified disabled" person?
Yes if . . .
  check mark    The employee can perform essential functions with or without reasonable accommodation.
  check mark    There is no endangerment of health and safety of employee or coworkers.
  check mark    The employee otherwise meets the requirements of the position.

If the employee demonstrates that he or she is a qualified individual with a disability, you will need to work with your human resources office to determine whether the accommodation request will cause an undue hardship. Some factors that will be considered include:

Does the accommodation request cause an undue hardship?
Consider the following factors . . .
  check mark    The number of employees in the organization.
  check mark    The type of facilities.
  check mark    The size of the organization's budget.
  check mark    The cost of the requested accommodation(s).

An accommodation should be designed to address an employee's physical or mental limitations so that the employee has as much of a chance to achieve acceptable performance as a non-disabled person. While each case may be different, as a supervisor your responsibility is to resolve the performance problem, not the mental or physical disability. Keep in mind that a request for accommodation does not preclude you from proceeding with a performance-based action. In many situations, accommodations can be put be in place at the same time an opportunity period is started.

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