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Order
Subject
FHWA Personnel Management Manual; Part 1: Personnel Systems & Procedures, Chapter 2: Employment, Section 3: Affirmative Action Program for the Hiring, Placement, and Advancement of Persons with Disabilities
Classification Code Date
M3000.1C January 29, 2004  

Par:

  1. What is the purpose of this section?
  2. Does this directive cancel an existing FHWA directive?
  3. What references were used when writing this section?
  4. What is the background concerning this section?
  5. What is the FHWA's policy concerning the Affirmative Action Program for the Hiring, Placement, and Advancement of Persons with Disabilities?
  6. What are the key definitions used in this section?
  7. What are the responsibilities involved regarding the Affirmative Action Program for the Hiring, Placement, and Advancement of Persons with Disabilities?
  8. What is involved in the program administration of the Affirmative Action Program for the Hiring, Placement, and Advancement of Persons with Disabilities?
  9. What appointment procedures are used in hiring persons with disabilities?
  10. How can persons with disabilities obtain unpaid work experience?
  11. What is involved in employing readers, interpreters, and personal assistants?
  12. How are reassignments utilized in lieu of disability retirement?
  13. What are the requirements for submitting Affirmative Action Plans and Reports?
  14. What is another resource available regarding the Affirmative Action Program for the Hiring, Placement, and Advancement of Persons with Disabilities?

 

  1. What is the purpose of this section? The purpose of this section is to establish guidelines, procedures, and reporting requirements for the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA's) Affirmative Action Program for the Hiring, Placement, and Advancement of Persons with Disabilities.

  2. Does this directive cancel an existing FHWA directive? Yes. This section cancels FHWA Personnel Management Manual (PMM) Part 1, Chapter 2, Section 4, Affirmative Action Program for the Hiring Placement, and Advancement of Persons with Disabilities, dated June 28, 1996. This section number has been changed to Section 3 due to elimination of one section from this chapter.

  3. What references were used when writing this section?

    1. Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Public Law 93-112, Section 501, as amended, and Public Law 95-602, Section 505, as amended.

    2. Title 5, United States Code (USC) Section 3102, Employment of Personal Assistants for Disabled Employees, Including Blind and Deaf Employees.

    3. Title 29, USC Section 791, Employment of Individuals with Disabilities.

    4. Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 1613, Equal Employment Opportunity in the Federal Government.

    5. Departmental Personnel Manual (DPM), Chapter 306, Selective Placement Program, http://dothr.ost.dot.gov/HRPolicy/c306.pdf

    6. The Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA) of 1978.

    7. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.

    8. Executive Order (EO) 13078, March 13, 1998, Increasing Representation of Adults with Disabilities.

    9. EO July 26, 2000, Increasing the Opportunity for Individuals with Disabilities to Be Employed in the Federal Government.

    10. EO 13164, July 26, 2000, Requiring Federal Agencies to Establish Procedures to Facilitate the Provision of Reasonable Accommodation.

    11. Department of Transportation (DOT), Plan for the Employment of People With Disabilities, July 2001.

    12. DOT Disability Resource Center (DRC), http://www.drc.dot.gov

    13. EEOC issuance on Federal Laws Prohibiting Job Discrimination Questions and Answers which includes Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, www.eeoc.gov

    14. Title 5, CFR, Sections 213.3102 (i), (u), (t), (gg), and (ll), Entire Executive Civil Service.

    15. Title 5, CFR, Section 308, Volunteer Service.

    16. Title 5, CFR, Section 315.709, Employees who are mentally retarded, severely physically handicapped, or have psychiatric disabilities serving under Schedule A appointments.

    17. Title 5, CFR, Section 315.711, Readers, interpreters, and personal assistants serving under Schedule A appointments.

  4. What is the background concerning this section? The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-112), as amended, prohibits Federal Executive branch agencies from discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities and requires each agency to develop and implement affirmative action program plans for the hiring, placement, and advancement of individuals with disabilities.

  5. What is the FHWA's policy concerning the Affirmative Action Program for the Hiring, Placement, and Advancement of Persons with Disabilities? It is the policy of the FHWA to provide equal employment opportunities for persons with disabilities who are Federal employees or applicants for Federal employment. The FHWA will ensure that qualified persons with disabilities, including Federal employees who become disabled after appointment, have equitable opportunities to be hired, placed, and advanced in FHWA jobs to the fullest extent possible.

  6. What are the key definitions used in this section?

    1. Individual with a disability - A person who:

      1. (1) has a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more of the person's major life activities;

      2. (2) has a record or history of a substantially limiting impairment; or

      3. (3) is regarded or perceived by an employer to have a substantially limiting impairment.

    2. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - A Federal civil rights law designed to prevent discrimination and enable individuals with disabilities to participate fully in all aspects of society.

    3. Reasonable Accommodation - Adjustment or modification provided by an employer to enable people with disabilities to receive equal employment opportunities. Reasonable accommodation may include, but is not limited to making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities; job restructuring; modifications of work schedules; providing additional unpaid leave; reassignment to a vacant position; acquiring or modifying equipment or assistive devices; adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies; and providing qualified readers or interpreters.

    4. Undue Hardship - Federal agencies are required to make reasonable accommodations to an applicant or employee who is a qualified person with a physical or mental disability unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the agency. Undue hardship means that providing the reasonable accommodation would result in significant difficulty or expense, based on the agency's/organization's resources, operation and/or mission.

    5. Disability Resource Center (DRC) - A comprehensive Department-wide program for DOT employees, supervisors, and job applicants. The Center opened in 1999 to ensure that the employees with disabilities can participate fully in all aspects of the Department's work, programs, and services. Services are provided to all Operating Administrations (OAs) nationwide.

    6. Physical or Mental Disabilities

      1. (1) Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genito-urinary, hemic, lymphatic, skin, and endocrine; or

      2. (2)  any mental, emotional, or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotion or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.

    7. Developmentally Delayed - A chronic and lifelong condition of mental disability that may range from mild to profound. It is not a disease, nor a total absence of skill or aptitude. The majority of developmentally delayed individuals are capable of useful employment.

    8. Substantially Limiting - The degree to which the disability affects employability. A person with a disability who is likely to experience difficulty in securing or retaining employment or advancing in a position would be considered substantially limited.

    9. Major Life Activities - Functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, and working.

    10. Record of a Disability - A history of a mental or physical disability that does not substantially limit one or more major life activities, and from which the person may have recovered. However, as a result of the employer's attitudes, the person may be regarded as having a substantially limiting disability which affects his/her ability to secure, retain, or advance in a job. It is also possible that the employee has been inappropriately classified or perceived as having a disability and may be experiencing discrimination based on this classification.

    11. Perception of a Disability - The perception of an individual by other employees or supervisors as being a person with a disability, whether a true disability exists or not. The perception may have a negative impact on the individual's ability to secure, retain, or advance in Federal employment.

    12. Psychiatric Disability - Rehabilitated - Refers to an individual who has received professional treatment either in or outside of an institution for some emotional or mental difficulty, which has substantially disrupted their employment because of the disability. The individual indicates that a disadvantage was created by this disability, but he/she is capable of resuming normal functioning including employment, and any residual disability is not job-related.

    13. Qualified Person with a Disability - A person with a disability who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential duties of the position in question without endangering the health and safety of the individual or others, and either:

      1. (1) meets the experience and/or education requirements (which may include passing a written test) of the position in question; or,

      2. (2)  meets the FHWA's job requirements for educational background, employment experience, skills, licenses, and any other qualification standards that are job-related.

    14. Selective Placement Coordinator/Disability Employment Coordinator - An FHWA employee who facilitates the hiring, placement, and advancement of persons with disabilities and is responsible for developing and helping to implement an Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) for the hiring, placement, and advancement of persons with disabilities.

  7. What are the responsibilities involved regarding the Affirmative Action Program for the Hiring, Placement, and Advancement of Persons with Disabilities?

    1. Director, Office of Human Resources (HAHR). The Director, Office of Human Resources, is responsible for:

      1. (1) providing leadership and direction in developing, implementing, and evaluating the effectiveness of the Affirmative Action Program for the hiring, placement, and advancement of persons with disabilities, in conjunction with the Office of the Associate Administrator for Civil Rights;

      2. (2) making appropriate FHWA policy and program recommendations to the Executive Director through the Associate Administrator for Administration, in conjunction with the Office of Civil Rights;

      3. (3) integrating the hiring of persons with disabilities into the functioning of the entire human resources staff so that employment of the person with a disability is not viewed solely as the responsibility of the Selective Placement Coordinator;

      4. (4) ensuring that staff members concerned with all human resource functions are familiar with the Affirmative Action Program in their areas of responsibility; and

      5. (5) keeping the position of Washington Headquarters Selective Placement Coordinator filled by a qualified staff member.

    2. Human Resources and Civil Rights officials in field locations. These officials are responsible for assimilating and incorporating the Affirmative Action Plan for the hiring, placement, and advancement of persons with disabilities into their respective programs and local organizations to support an FHWA-wide emphasis and program accomplishment. They are responsible for identifying a Selective Placement Coordinator in their organizations and for ensuring that adequate resources are devoted to the program.

    3. Associate Administrators and Staff Office Directors. These officials are responsible for supporting and helping the FHWA to achieve its Affirmative Action Plan objectives by providing full consideration to disabled applicants and employees for promotion opportunities, special programs, and awards.

    4. Selective Placement Coordinators. Coordinators are responsible for assisting their organizational heads in performing their responsibilities through continuous participation in and evaluation of program activities.

  8. What is involved in the program administration of the Affirmative Action Program for the Hiring, Placement, and Advancement of Persons with Disabilities?

    1. The Office of Human Resources will:

      1. (1) develop the FHWA Affirmative Action Plan for the Hiring, Placement, and Advancement of Persons with Disabilities, in conjunction with the Office of Civil Rights. The plan, which will be reviewed annually and revised as necessary, will cover the period from October 1 to September 30 annually;

      2. (2) ensure that adequate guidance and instructions are provided to Washington Headquarters and field offices, and that Washington Headquarters and field offices understand and carry out their program responsibilities;

      3. (3)  develop and collect the necessary statistical information for the annual Affirmative Action Plan and make this information available to Washington Headquarters and field offices for monitoring purposes; and

      4. (4) submit through the FHWA Office of Civil Rights, annual accomplishment reports to the Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST).

    2. The Selective Placement Coordinator will:

      1. (1)  monitor and evaluate program status, including the extent of implementation of Affirmative Action Plans, and the results in terms of both numbers employed and services performed in support of the program;

      2. (2)  keep the organizational head informed of program status and identify any problems or deficiencies in the hiring, placement, and advancement of persons with disabilities; and

      3. (3)  participate in disabled employee advisory committees.

  9. What appointment procedures are used in hiring persons with disabilities? Normal competitive procedures are used to employ persons with disabilities whenever possible. When such procedures are not practical, the following special appointment procedures are available:

    1. Physically Disabled

      1. (1)  Temporary Trial Appointment. Temporary 700-hour appointments may be used to provide persons with disabilities an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to perform the duties of the position, and to overcome employer reluctance to hire them on a regular basis for fear that they will not be able to perform the job. The 700-hour appointment may be used for positions at grades General Schedule (GS)-1 through GS-15, and for positions covered by the Federal Wage System. The individual must meet the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) qualification standards for the position, including a written test if required, or the FHWA must obtain certification from a counselor of a Veterans Administration (VA), or State vocational rehabilitation agency attesting that the individual can perform the duties of the position. (See 5 CFR 213.3102 (i)(3))

      2. (2) Excepted Appointment. The Schedule A, Section 213.3102(u), excepted appointment authority, was developed to provide an alternate route for employment of individuals with severe physical disabilities. This includes identification, and, if required, restructuring or modification of job tasks and work environment of a specific position to accommodate the severely physically disabled individual. There are two methods in which a physically disabled person may be granted an excepted appointment.

        1. (a)  Conversion from the 700 hour temporary trial appointment to a Schedule A appointment. The individual must have successfully demonstrated ability to do the job under the temporary trial appointment.

        2. (b) Direct Schedule A appointment without a prior temporary trial appointment. Certification from either the VA or a State vocational rehabilitation agency may be accepted in lieu of successful job performance under a temporary trial appointment.

      3. (3) Promotion and Reassignment. Employees appointed under Schedule A, Section 213.3102(u) of the authority are not subject to normal competitive ranking requirements, and they may be informally referred and considered for a higher graded position at any time. Recertification may be required if either the physical or qualification requirements of the new position are substantially different. They may also submit an application for specific vacancies announced by FHWA, in accordance with the procedures described in the announcement. Such employees are advised, but not required, to indicate at the top of their application that they are serving under an excepted appointment. Although such employees may not compete under the FHWA Merit Promotion Program, if they are qualified, their names will be sent to the selecting official on a separate list or with other noncompetitive actions. If the selecting official wishes to select the person with a disability, the position may be filled through an excepted appointment.

      4. (4) Conversion to Competitive Appointment. After two years of successful performance in a permanent position, an employee serving in the excepted service under Schedule A, Section 213.3102(u), may be non-competitively converted to a career or career-conditional appointment upon the recommendation of his/her supervisor. While conversion to a competitive appointment is not mandatory, the supervisor should provide in writing, through the appropriate Selective Placement Coordinator, substantive justification for not recommending conversion of an employee who has demonstrated successful job performance. (See 5 CFR 315.709)

    2. Developmentally Delayed

      1. (1)  Excepted Appointment. A developmentally delayed person may be hired under Schedule A, Section 213.3102(t), provided certification is received regarding the employability of the individual from a vocational rehabilitation agency.

      2. (2)  Promotion and Reassignment. Developmentally delayed persons may be promoted to any appropriate grade level provided they are properly certified by a State vocational rehabilitation counselor for the higher graded position. Application and referral procedures available to selecting officials for promotion or reassignment are the same as in paragraph 9a(3) above, with the addition of the requirement of the rehabilitation counselor certification. When assessing the potential for advancement of employees appointed under this authority, human resources offices should explore possibilities for converting them to career or career-conditional appointments through appropriate examinations, whenever possible.

      3. (3)  Conversion to Competitive Appointment. Procedures for conversion to a career or career-conditional appointment from a Schedule A, Section 213.3102(t), appointment are the same as in paragraph 9a(4) above.

    3. Psychiatric Disability - Rehabilitated

      1. (1)  Temporary Trial Appointment. Procedures for using a temporary 700 hour appointment for people with psychiatric disabilities for grades GS-1 through GS-15 are the same as in paragraph 9(a)(1).

      2. (2)  Excepted Appointment. The Schedule A excepted appointment authority in Section 213.3102gg provides for non-competitive employment for persons with psychiatric disabilities if they have already demonstrated their ability to perform the position duties satisfactorily on a temporary appointment, or they have been certified by counselors of State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency or the VA as likely to succeed in performance of the position duties.

      3. (3)  Promotion and Reassignment - Procedures are the same as in paragraph 9a(3).

      4. (4)  Conversion to Competitive Appointment. After completing two years of satisfactory performance, employees may be converted to appointments in the competitive service as outlined in 9(a)(4) under 5 CFR 315.709.

  10. How can persons with disabilities obtain unpaid work experience? The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 authorizes Federal agencies to provide unpaid work experience for clients of State vocational rehabilitation agencies. The work experience is to assist these individuals in acquiring skills and training that would enable them to compete for positions in the public and private sectors. The procedures for establishing programs of unpaid work experience for clients of State vocational rehabilitation agencies are in 5 CFR 308, Volunteer Services.

  11. What is involved in employing readers, interpreters, and personal assistants? The FHWA may employ personal assistants, readers, and interpreters, as necessary, to enable disabled employees to perform their work using a Schedule A, 5 CFR 213.3102(ll) appointment. The FHWA can use its own employees, contact the Department's Disability Resource Center, or use outside sources such as nonprofit organizations or the State vocational rehabilitation office. Employees hired under this provision may be converted to competitive service when one of the following conditions is met: the person has completed at least one year of satisfactory service in such a position under a non-temporary appointment, and employment as a reader, interpreter, or personal assistant is no longer necessary for reasons beyond management's control. For additional information, see 5 CFR 315.711.

  12. How are reassignments utilized in lieu of disability retirement?

    1. If an employee becomes disabled while employed by the FHWA, reassignments of the employee who, because of illness or injury, is unable to continue in his/her current position will be considered.

    2. The FHWA is responsible for initiating action to secure disability retirement for eligible employees who are unfit for useful and efficient service because of physical or mental disability. There is, however, a further responsibility to consider reassigning an employee, who, though unfit for service in his or her present position, is medically and otherwise qualified to perform service in another position without detriment to him/herself or the Federal government.

  13. What are the requirements for submission of Affirmative Action Plans and Reports?

    1. In coordination with the Office of Civil Rights, the Human Resources office in Washington Headquarters will prepare a goal-oriented Affirmative Action Plan each fiscal year.

    2. The FHWA will prepare an annual accomplishments report for each fiscal year.

    3. The FHWA will submit to the Departmental Office of Civil Rights, at the end of each fiscal year, an agency annual recruitment plan for persons with disabilities and an annual accomplishments report.

  14. What is another resource available regarding the Affirmative Action Program Hiring, Placement and Advancement of Persons with Disabilities? The DOT's Disability Resource Center (DRC) is another resource available regarding the Affirmative Action Program for the Hiring, Placement, and Advancement of Person with Disabilities. The DRC is a comprehensive Department-wide program for DOT employees, supervisors, and job applicants. The DRC opened in 1999 to ensure that employees with disabilities can participate fully in all aspects of the Department's work, programs, and services. Services are provided to all OA's nationwide in areas pertaining to disabilities such as facility accessibility, emergency procedures, resource library, identifying resources, purchasing appropriate technologies and services, providing training and support, and learning about the DOT's reasonable accommodation process, policies, and practices.

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