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Disability (Rehabilitation Act)


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badpug  
#1 Posted : Thursday, April 22, 2021 8:57:55 AM(UTC)
badpug

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I filed for RA as a title 38 nurse for a position with less walking/or being allowed to sit after being on feet 15 minutes consecutively. They offered me a GS 8 position even though there are postings for sedentary nursing jobs. They say putting me in a full time position is a promotion (they never knew I was part time until I mentioned it) I found supporting info on JAN website stating moving to a full time position from part time is reasonable because the goal is to keep employee working in same career/ pay.
I have questions about HR following the process (never received the handbook until I asked an EEO officer a question) Never had the process of reassignment fully explained detailing how it's done, was told my salary would be same, then told no the salary documented would only be if employed full time but placed in a job working 20 hours a week (not told this detail, was working 0.6 FTE before). Now I learned my SL &AL will be paid at new GS rate not Nurse rate even if earned in the past (not told this or documented). I'm trying to see if this is normal or does my HR dept suck at it's job (has high turnover). They state if I didn't take position I should contact and attorney.
frankgonzalez  
#2 Posted : Thursday, April 22, 2021 10:37:44 AM(UTC)
frankgonzalez

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Originally Posted by: badpug Go to Quoted Post
I filed for RA as a title 38 nurse for a position with less walking/or being allowed to sit after being on feet 15 minutes consecutively. They offered me a GS 8 position even though there are postings for sedentary nursing jobs. They say putting me in a full time position is a promotion (they never knew I was part time until I mentioned it) I found supporting info on JAN website stating moving to a full time position from part time is reasonable because the goal is to keep employee working in same career/ pay.
I have questions about HR following the process (never received the handbook until I asked an EEO officer a question) Never had the process of reassignment fully explained detailing how it's done, was told my salary would be same, then told no the salary documented would only be if employed full time but placed in a job working 20 hours a week (not told this detail, was working 0.6 FTE before). Now I learned my SL &AL will be paid at new GS rate not Nurse rate even if earned in the past (not told this or documented). I'm trying to see if this is normal or does my HR dept suck at it's job (has high turnover). They state if I didn't take position I should contact and attorney.
Without going into the specifics you provided on your situation, as a RA, reassignment is the RA of last resort.

If a reassignment is to be looked at, it looks at your qualifications and tries first to place you in a similar open position (duties/grade/etc) as you are currently in that allows you to also be accommodated per your medical restrictions.

If they cannot place you at your current grade, they can look at lower graded positions and different locations. As the person requesting the RA, you can place limits on this such as stating unless it is at your current grade or current geographical area/local commuting area, etc you won't accept an offer of reassignment. Of course, that could mean being separated due to medical inability to being able to perform your duties. At this point, Disability Retirement becomes the primary option (if you get approved for it)

By law, they are not required to promote a person, however, they can offer a lower graded position if none are available at your current grade. Such reassignment can change your pay in several ways (ie moving from one position on a special pay table to one not on the regular pay schedule, or moving from one locality to another).

As to your situation: While the HR folks may not have known you were part time until you mentioned it, it would have been discovered when they went to effectuate the reassignment. At that point, you may have found yourself SOL as it would have stopped the reassignment process and put you right back to the beginning of the process.

The change in AL/SL accrual would be the same as for LEO when they change to a non-LEO position and lose LEAP pay, and their ability to retire early as they are now regular GS/GG/etc.



You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
badpug  
#3 Posted : Thursday, April 22, 2021 6:02:28 PM(UTC)
badpug

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I feel HR is just being obstinate about referring me to a position I qualify for that absolutely fits my RA request. Do you know of any other situations where staff have been moved to full time in other VA hospitals? Or is my HR team being unreasonable?
I don't understand why they would declare someone permanently disabled when clearly I can perform my duties just asking for it to be in a a slower paced area so I can sit down between tasks if needed.(there are definitely areas that are less busy and require less walking).
Aside from that, are all the steps in the process usually explained more thoroughly? Are all the terms of the reassignment normally spelled out so the person filing for RA has all the facts to make a decision? (I feel I wasn't given all the facts needed to make an informed decision.)
When they canvas do they just use functional descriptions? Do they
talk to managers with openings and ask if the position could work for RA. What about asking a department to take someone part time or consider a job share with someone looking to cut back hour?
Despite what the VA states about job flexibility and work life balance, I've yet to see it taken seriously. Anytime I mentioned being part time other staff were amazed to hear there was actually part time available.
I am simply looking for an unbiased opinion about the way HR handled this; is this normal? Lastly can I rescind my decision after I agreed to move? I understand they could just send me back to my old position and have no further involvement.
frankgonzalez  
#4 Posted : Friday, April 23, 2021 3:30:48 AM(UTC)
frankgonzalez

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Originally Posted by: badpug Go to Quoted Post
I feel HR is just being obstinate about referring me to a position I qualify for that absolutely fits my RA request. Do you know of any other situations where staff have been moved to full time in other VA hospitals? Or is my HR team being unreasonable?
I don't understand why they would declare someone permanently disabled when clearly I can perform my duties just asking for it to be in a a slower paced area so I can sit down between tasks if needed.(there are definitely areas that are less busy and require less walking).
Aside from that, are all the steps in the process usually explained more thoroughly? Are all the terms of the reassignment normally spelled out so the person filing for RA has all the facts to make a decision? (I feel I wasn't given all the facts needed to make an informed decision.)
When they canvas do they just use functional descriptions? Do they
talk to managers with openings and ask if the position could work for RA. What about asking a department to take someone part time or consider a job share with someone looking to cut back hour?
Despite what the VA states about job flexibility and work life balance, I've yet to see it taken seriously. Anytime I mentioned being part time other staff were amazed to hear there was actually part time available.
I am simply looking for an unbiased opinion about the way HR handled this; is this normal? Lastly can I rescind my decision after I agreed to move? I understand they could just send me back to my old position and have no further involvement.
If you do not have a permanent disability, an accommodation is not needed (the law requires accommodations for permanent disabilities not temporary ones, though I often recommend management try to provide temp accommodations for temp issues).

Changing you to full time when you are currently part time would not be "reasonable" under the law. You could apply to those positions and if you have a disability, you could ask they use Schedule A for the hiring authority, but it isn't required the agency do so.

An accommodation is to allow you to do your job as is. A reassignment is not to provide more than you currently have (ie promote someone from a GS7 warehouse specialist picking up parts and supplies from a supply warehouse to a GS9 desk clerk who spends most of their time sitting at a desk), but to provide as similar as possible (that you qualify for) move. In the previous example, a move from GS7 warehouse specialist to GS7 desk clerk would be reasonable if the person was qualified for the latter position. If the former was part time, then the latter must be part time. There may also be aspects of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (aka Union Contract) that may impact what positions may be offered, and to violate the CBA is not considered "reasonable" per the courts.

I cannot speak to the VA as an employer as I have never worked there (though as a user of the VA at times...not all their employees or processes are veteran friendly!). Are you in touch with the reasonable accommodation people at the VA or just HR (two different offices IIRC)?

All aspects of the job (especially the essential elements of the position!) being offered for reassignment should be provided so you can discuss with your medical provider prior to accepting it (as while the job may be acceptable, it too may need some specific accommodations, even if slight, such as a specific chair or keyboard, etc).

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
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