By Deborah Hopkins, July 19, 2017
A few weeks ago, I was talking shop with a colleague, and he mentioned that he’d recently run into an agency EEO supervisor who had never heard the term targeted disability.
“C’mon,” I said, “There’s no way that’s right.”
“Right or wrong, it’s the truth,” replied my colleague.
“Okay,” I said, “Maybe she is at least familiar with the term predictable assessment?”
“Nope,” my colleague said, “Not that either.”
“Ok, how about Schedule A?”
Holy moly. If an EEO supervisor doesn’t know this stuff, then how many of our readers might not know it either? I think it’s time for a “read and learn” session.
Targeted disabilities are the most severe types of disabilities, and they include:
- Partial and full paralysis
- Missing extremities
- Intellectual disabilities
- Psychiatric disabilities
Individuals with these disabilities typically have the greatest difficulty finding employment, so the federal government places a special emphasis on recruiting, hiring, promoting and retaining people with targeted disabilities.
The related term predictable assessment comes out of 29 CFR § 1630.2(j)(3): the “inherent nature” of certain impairments will “virtually always be found to be a substantial limitation.” Thus, these conditions always rise to the level of disability under the ADA.
Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 charges federal agencies to promote the hiring and retention of individuals with disabilities in two ways:
- To be a model employer of individuals with disabilities through use of meaningful affirmative hiring, placement, and advancement opportunities; and
- To ensure employment non-discrimination and reasonable accommodation.
Schedule A hiring authority allows agencies to provide job opportunities to individuals with targeted disabilities by appointing qualified individuals to federal jobs non-competitively, thus eliminating the need to post a job opening or certify a certain number of candidates for an open position. Schedule A also allows for hiring readers, interpreters, and personal assistants for employees with severe disabilities as reasonable accommodations.
From a practical perspective, this means that if a candidate with a targeted disability appears to be qualified for a funded vacancy, and the supervisor wishes to hire this individual, the agency does not need to issue a job announcement. But, Schedule A applications can be accepted after the job announcement closes, up until the position is actually offered to someone.
Earlier this year, the EEOC released a final rule, “Affirmative Action for Individuals with Disabilities in Federal Employment.” Beginning in 2018, agencies will be required to incorporate affirmative action into hiring and advancement plans: 12 percent of employees should be people who have disabilities, and 2 percent of employees should have targeted disabilities. Agencies will be required to report their statistics to the EEOC, and will furnish copies of their hiring/promotion plans to EEOC for approval.
This is an important topic that some people seem to have missed. There’s a lot more that goes into Schedule A hiring, and FELTG is holding a webinar on this topic July 20 (that’s tomorrow!), so if you’re interested there’s still time to register. Hopkins@FELTG.com