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.

You activate the reasonable accommodation decision process each time you are considering an employee with a disability for a different job (either through bid, application, or other procedures). Engage in the same case-by-case interactive process described in 22 to do the following:

Focus first on the employee’s ability to perform the desired job. If you conclude that the employee can perform the essential functions of the job, with or without accommodation, then you must focus on accommodations that the selection process might require, e.g., 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 Postal Service could accommodate the disability during the selection process. However, you must make such a determination only after you have done the following:

Document the process and conclusions reached on the Reasonable Accommodation Decision Guide (see Exhibit 213(b)).

Example 1: An individual who is deaf or hard of hearing 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, the employee may need different accommodations, such as manual communication (e.g., using hand signs). 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 2: A letter carrier develops heart disease and has to undergo surgery. After he returns to work, he bids on a carrier vacancy that requires less walking. As the senior bidder, he is awarded the job. However, after one (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 due to a medical condition, you must consider his request for reasonable accommodation and process it using the six-step interactive process described in Chapter 2.