Reasonable accommodations help strengthen Land and Maritime workforce

By Ephraim “Rami” Ungar DLA Land and Maritime Equal Employment Specialist

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It’s a fact of life that anyone at some point in time could develop a disability that hampers one or more areas of life. This reality is a reason to call attention to the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disability Act and the Rehabilitation Act as amended.

This October during National Disability Employment Awareness Month it’s a timely opportunity to remind the workforce of the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime’s Reasonable Accommodation process and how to use it should the need arise.

Using a hypothetical example, an employee has back pain, a common issue as people grow older or get into accidents. The limitations are such that the condition is considered a disability and impacts their ability to perform daily position duties. The employee informs their supervisor of the need for a RA because of their back. The employee or their supervisor reaches out to the Equal Employment Office’s RA team which handles Agency and DLA Land and Maritime requests.

After speaking with an RA team member the employee learns that the RA team doesn’t decide whether or not they receive an RA, but merely facilitates the process so the decision maker, usually the supervisor, can make an informed decision. The employee also learns that the RA process is to help accommodate them to successfully perform their job. RAs are not provided to care for family members who may have disabilities. There are other programs to assist employees in those situations. The RA process doesn’t erase past performance issues or disciplinary actions, even if their disability was a factor. With or without an accommodation, the employee needs to accomplish the duties of their position.

The RA team member advises the employee to fill out a form DL1887, which gives the RA team basic information about their accommodation request. The employee is also requested to provide supportive medical documentation from their doctor containing the following: diagnosis, including symptoms;  prognosis, or what the likelihood of recovery is; limitations, or how the symptoms disrupt daily activities; and suggested accommodations that may assist them to perform their job. Employees are given 45 days to turn in medical documentation before moving to the next phase.

While the employee fills out form DL1887 and gets supporting medical documentation, the RA team member will contact the supervisor to discuss the RA process with them and answer any questions they may have. The RA team also arranges for an on-site ergonomist to visit the employee at their workstation and evaluate the need for any additional assistive equipment. The ergonomist also reviews other workstation adjustments that may be required to support job success.

The RA team sends their recommendations to the employee’s supervisor after receiving completed medical documentation accompanied by a completed form DL1887.

The supervisor decides which recommendation(s) to provide, and completes a form DL1887-2 before sending it back to the RA team. Once received, the RA team orders the employee’s approved RA which is then installed at their workstation by Defense Supply Center Columbus’ Installation Facilities department.

There are many different disabilities and just as many RAs to address them. However, the desired outcome is always the same: to help employees receive RAs that can help them accomplish their duties. This is just one example of the RA process.

If you would like to request an RA or if you have questions about the RA process reach out to one of the RA team members below. You can also see what disability accommodations are available at the Job Accommodation Network at www.askjan.org.

RA Team: Paul.Gambrell@dla.mil; Sheri.Kelley@dla.mil; Ephraim.Ungar@dla.mil; Lametra.Dulaney@dla.mil; Frances.Quinones@dla.mil