Recurring Issues of Disability Accommodation, Light & Limited Duty, and the Form Filling of the OPM SF 3112D PDF File

The issue of Agency Accommodations — whether or not an agency can truly “accommodate” an individual; what constitutes a legal accommodation as opposed to temporary light-duty arrangements which do not constitute legally viable accommodations under the standards as expressed in Bracey v. OPM and other cases — keeps coming up in the form of questions and concerns.

Let me just state a few thoughts: First, obviously, the best scenario is if the Agency checks off block 4(a) of SF 3112D, acknowledging that the “medical evidence presented to the agency shows that accommodation is not possible due to the severity of the medical condition and the physical requirements of the position.” Second, however, even if the Agency does not check off 4(a), it is not necessarily a problem, or even a valid concern. Agency Human Resources personnel are notoriously ignorant of the current case-law, and often mistake ad-hoc temporary assignments as constituting an “accommodation”, when in fact they represent no such standard or level of acceptability in disability retirement law. Finally, it is always mindful to remember that disability retirement is a medical issue, not one which is determined by non-medical personnel, and that is why it is important to focus first and foremost upon obtaining a legally sufficient medical narrative report.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

One Response

  1. I am a disabled veteran that was diagnosed with RP (Retinitis Pigmentosa) back in 1985 while in the service. Was hired with the Post Office 03/27/1997. As a Temporary Employee was assigned as a Letter Carrier at the Ballard Station in Washington State for two months driving mail trucks and delivering mail and parcels. Then transfered to Special Delivery at the Seattle Terminal Operations Station.

    While at P&DC assigned various collection routes for six months until I could bid on a vacant route. Now, my DISABILITY at the time I was hired was progressive and in July 1, 2004. I could no longer put myself and innocent people in danger due to my visual impairment.

    Now, with this visual impairment the route I bid on was a walking route which is suitable for me. I could no longer drive my weekend route. Supervisors at Special Delivery has accommodated me when they received a letter from the Department Of Veterans Affairs stating that I should not be driving due to visual impairment.

    Since then, I was working 5 days aweek my hours cut from 32 hours at 30 hours. We’ve been through several inspections and my route has never been touched due to my DISABILITY. But, now with this last Inspection back in March 8, 2010. My, previous position was eliminated and assigned to various routes doing the SAME COLLECTIONS.

    Now, back in August 19, 2010. The DRAC (District Reasonable Accommodation Committee) Requested medical information about my condition. Dr. Irene L. Yang, OD, FAAO informed the committee that Mr. Williams is currently Legally blind due to Retinitis Pigmentosa Significant difficulty with mobility, esp, in darker environments and in complex environments; difficulty with navigation, obstacle avoidance, location of dropped objects, etc.; expected to have difficulty reading small print.

    As a result of my medical conditions from my Doctor, The DRAC denied reasonable accommodation that I can perform the essential functions of a particular funded position dated September 28, 2010. And I’m encouraged to explore employment options (bidding, reassignment, transfer) that may provide the change I seek. In addition, I have a right to apply for disability retirement and may , if eligible, request permanent light duty pursuant to Article 13 of the applicable collective bargaining agreement.

    As a result of my denied reasonable accommodation I’ve written the Seattle Postmaster (Acting) Mr. Robert Montgomery. And stated to him that I would like to have my “same walking route collection position since my previous position was eliminated.” (My Letter dated November 1, 2010). As a result of my letter Mr. Montgomery’s Letter dated November 12, 2010. Stated that “It is unclear if you are requesting to be placed back onto your eliminated position or if you are requesting to be provided walking route collection duties as a form of accommodation. Regardless of which interpretation is correct, your request is denied.” His, Further statements says ” you are not entitled to have a walking collection route position as there is no current vacant, funded position. Under the law of reasonable accommodation, the Postal Service is not obligated to create a position nor to pull job duties of other individuals to provide “make work.” As such, to the extent that your letter requests the creation of a position, it is denied.”

    Mr. Montgomery informs me if I’m dissatisfied with the decision I may, within 10 business days, make a written request for reconsideration to Helen Pelton, Manager Human Resources, 415 1st Ave N, Seattle, Wa 98109. I can provide additional information to support my request with your request. I will be notified in writing of the decision.

    With, All this said and done my NALC has informed me that since I am a DISABLED VETERAN that I should file an appeal via the MSPB (Merit Systems Protection Board) And if I have a personal lawyer, I should contact them. I’m currently with Pre Paid Legal Services. But, not sure if they can handle this situation.

    Please, what ever comments of advise you can give would be helpful. as soon as you can. Thanks!

    Sincerely,

    Mr. Percy A Williams Jr

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