222 Step One: Determine Whether an Individual Has a Disability and Meets Minimum Qualification Standards

The Postal Service is entitled to know that an employee or applicant has a covered disability that requires a reasonable accommodation. You may not ask for documentation to support the existence of a disability when an applicant’s or employee’s disability is obvious (such as blindness). If you are unsure whether the employee or applicant has a disability or believe he or she does not have a disability, you must contact the RAC. Questions to consider:

In general, medical documentation should substantiate the following:

  1. The severity of the impairment (how it impacts the employee at work and outside of work).
  2. Any restrictions or limitations related to the impairment and their duration.
  3. If a specific accommodation is being requested, an explanation as to why it is needed.

Next, consider whether the individual can meet the minimum qualifications for the job at issue. Minimum qualification standards must be related to and necessary for the performance of the job. If you question whether a qualification standard is necessary for the performance of the job, you must contact the RAC for guidance.

Being minimally qualified includes the following:

The existence of a direct threat is a high standard, so you must refer any questions concerning safety to the RAC for guidance and assistance.

Note: In addition, an individual with a disability may require reasonable accommodation in exams and/or training needed to meet job prerequisites (see Chapter 3).

If you have determined that the individual has a covered disability and is minimally qualified, proceed with steps 2 through 6 to determine whether he or she is able to perform the essential functions of the position, with or without accommodation, and what accommodation, if any, is appropriate.

The Postal Service encourages informal dialogue with the individual to obtain relevant information is throughout the process and considers it necessary to make an informed decision.

If you believe the individual does not have a covered disability, notify the individual in writing that you are referring his or her request to the RAC for further review or assessment.

Contact the manager, Human Resources (District), or the manager, Disability Programs, at Headquarters when you need help making this determination. Alternatively, the RAC can assist you with this step or the entire decision-making process.