52 Bids, Promotions, and Reassignments

Once individuals with disabilities enter the regular workforce, or if individuals become disabled during their employment with the Postal Service, they have all bid and promotion rights afforded any employee under the applicable collective bargaining agreement.

The reasonable accommodation decision process is initiated each time an employee with a disability is being considered for a different job (either through bid, application, or other procedures). Engage in the same case-by-case interactive process described in subchapter 22 to:

Focus first on the employee’s ability to perform the desired job. If you conclude that the employee can perform the job’s essential functions, with or without accommodation, then focus on accommodations that might be required for the selection process (for example, examination and training). This sequence is important because training processes range from those performed on-site or close to the home installation (e.g., scheme training) to those performed at a distant location for several weeks (e.g., bulk mail and maintenance training).

The Postal Service is not obligated to train an employee for a job he or she will be unable to do even if the disability could be accommodated during the selection process. However, such a determination must only be made only after an individualized assessment of the situation and the individual in question and consultation with your area law office. Document the process and conclusions reached on the Reasonable Accommodation Decision Guide (see Exhibit 2-2).

Example: A deaf or hard-of-hearing individual assigned to a mail processing clerk job may require certain safety equipment, such as warning lights, to supplement auditory alarms. If the employee is later reassigned or promoted to a job requiring more personal contact, different accommodations may be necessary, such as manual communication. In this example, the individual’s limitations remain the same throughout the process; it is the job and the requirements imposed upon his or her performance that have changed.

Example: A letter carrier develops heart disease and has to undergo surgery. Before he returns to work, he bids on a carrier vacancy that requires less walking and provides medical documentation that he will be able to perform the full duties of the job within 3 months. As the senior bidder, he is awarded the job. However, after 1 week in the new job, the employee requests reassignment to a vacant clerk position because he says that the route requires him to walk more than he anticipated and given his heart condition and newly diagnosed emphysema, he does not feel up to it. In this example, the job and the performance requirements remained the same but the individual’s limitations changed. Since he relates the need for the reassignment to a medical condition, his request should be considered a request for reasonable accommodation and processed using the five-step interactive process described in chapter 2.