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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Reasonable Accommodations at the FDA: It’s the Right Thing to Do

Presented by LaJuana D. Caldwell
FDA Acting Director, OEEO
FDA and HHS Virtual Hiring Event, Nov. 3. 2011

(Text Version)

FDA has a robust reasonable accommodations program.  An accommodation is any change or modification in the work environment or in the way things are customarily done that would enable an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform the essential functions of the job and to enjoy the privileges and benefits of employment.  All Federal agencies are required to make a reasonable accommodation to a known physical and/or mental limitation of an otherwise “qualified” individual with a disability unless the agency can show that the accommodation would cause an undue hardship.

A qualified individual with a disability is an employee who meets the skills, experience, education, and other job related requirements of the position, and can perform the essential functions with or without an accommodation.

Should you come to work at the FDA, it is your responsibility to inform your supervisor that an accommodation is needed.  

  1. There are many types of reasonable accommodations and resources available, some are:
  2. Providing a sign language interpreter for a job interview for an applicant who is deaf
  3. Making facilities physically accessible for individuals with disabilities
  4. Allowing flexi-place and/or flexi-time above what is currently offered to employees.
  5. Modifying of exams or training materials (including providing them in alternative formats).
  6. Providing assistive devices and/or other adaptive equipment such as a large screen monitor.
  7. Restructuring a job (through the elimination of nonessential functions. 

Available Resources Include

  • Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) at the Department of Defense provides free assistive technology accommodations to individuals with disabilities.
  • Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides information on accommodation options and practical solutions as well as Fact sheets on different disabilities.
  • TARGET Center at the U.S. Department of Agriculture has workstations available for hands-on demonstrations and evaluations of assistive technologies. The Center also assists in conducting needs assessments and recommending ergonomic solutions to aid employees in their work environment.

As part of our program our Office of Equal Employment Opportunity has reasonable accommodation specialists available to guide you through the reasonable accommodation process and assist you with getting the right resources to help you apply for a job or perform effectively once hired.