Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)

The Tobyhanna Army Depot EEO Officer can be contacted at (570) 615-7179.

EEO Laws

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967, as amended - The ADEA prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of age (40 years or older).

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act of 1973 - These laws prohibit discrimination against qualified people with disabilities who are able to perform the essential functions of the job. The law also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to assist individuals in performing their jobs unless the agency can demonstrate that the accommodations would impose an undue hardship on the operation of its program.

Equal Pay Act of 1963 - The Equal Pay Act prohibits sex-based wage discrimination. It prohibits Federal agencies from paying employees of one sex lower wages than those of the opposite sex for performing substantially equal work. Substantially equal work means that the jobs require equal skills, effort, and responsibility, and that the jobs are performed under similar working conditions.

Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) - Prohibits genetic information discrimination in employment. Title II of GINA prohibits the use of genetic information in making employment decisions, restricts employers and other entities covered by Title II (employment agencies, labor organizations and joint labor-management training and apprenticeship programs - referred to as "covered entities") from requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information, and strictly limits the disclosure of genetic information.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended - Title VII prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It also prohibits reprisal or retaliation for participating in the discrimination complaints process or for opposing any unlawful employment practice under Title VII.

EEO Complaint Process

Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1614; and Army Regulation 690-600 prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, or reprisal for prior EEO activity.

Any employee, former employee, or applicant for employment with Tobyhanna Army Depot (TYAD) who believes she/he has been discriminated against, may file a complaint with the TYAD Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Office. Complaints must be timely filed. In order to file an informal complaint, it must be initiated with the TYADD EEO Office within 45 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory action or event, or within 45 calendar days of first becoming aware of the alleged action or event.

The EEO complaint process has two stages: Informal where the allegation is counseled or mediated; and Formal where the allegation is investigated and/or adjudicated.

Steps in Filing a Discrimination Complaint

Step One: Informal Stage

The employee/former employee/job applicant must contact the TYAD EEO Office. At that time, the person would choose to initiate counseling or mediation.

EEO Counseling: An informal complaint (also referred to as a pre-complaint) would be assigned to an EEO counselor who conducts an inquiry and attempts to resolve the complaint. If the complaint is not resolved, the Counselor holds a final interview within 30 calendar days of the date the matter was brought to the attention of TYAD EEO. At the end of the counseling period, if the complaint was not resolved, the Counselor will provide the aggrieved written notice of the right to file a formal complaint of discrimination.

Mediation: Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution, which uses a mediator (neutral, objective, third party) to bring the aggrieved and management together to discuss the situation face-to-face in an attempt to reach a mutually satisfactory solution to the employment matter. If the matter is not resolved through mediation, the aggrieved will be provided a written notice of the right to file a formal complaint of discrimination.

Step Two: Formal Stage

If the aggrieved is not satisfied with the results received at the informal stage, he or she may file a formal complaint within 15 days of receipt of the notice of right to file a formal complaint. If TYAD EEO accepts the complaint, it is forwarded for investigation. If TYAD EEO dismisses the formal complaint, it will provide instructions to the complainant for appealing the dismissal. After a formal complaint is investigated, the Report of Investigation (ROI) is sent to the complainant. Within 30 days of receipt of the ROI, the complainant must submit a request to TYAD EEO for either a hearing from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or for a Final Agency Decision (FAD) from the Department of the Army.

Requesting a Hearing from EEOC

If a hearing is requested, EEOC may decide to conduct a hearing or, it may issue findings and recommendations without a hearing. If a hearing is held, an EEOC Administrative Judge will hear sworn testimony from witnesses from both sides. The EEOC has 180 days from the date of the hearing request to hold the hearing and issue its findings and recommendations to the Agency. Within 60 days of receiving the EEOC's findings and recommendations, Department of the Army may accept the findings and recommendations and grant the relief ordered by the Administrative Judge or Army may issue a final decision rejecting or modifying the findings and recommendations.

Requesting a Final Agency Decision

The Army must issue a final decision within 60 days of a complainant's request for a decision. The final decision consists of findings by the Army on the merits of each issue in the complaint and appeal rights to EEOC. The final decision must also contain a notice of the right to file a civil action in Federal District Court.

Reasonable Accommodation of People with Disabilities

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, protects qualified employees and applicants with disabilities in the Executive Branch of the Federal government from employment discrimination based on disability. In 1992, the substantive employment standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 12111, et seq., were made applicable to the Federal Government through the Rehabilitation Act. The amended law requires Federal employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities so that employees with disabilities can enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by similarly situated employees without disabilities. It requires Federal agencies to provide reasonable accommodation for known physical or mental limitations of qualified employees and applicants, unless to do so would cause undue hardship. The law also ensures equal access to Federal programs, activities, and facilities to people with disabilities. The Reasonable Accommodation (RA) program at Tobyhanna Army Depot (TYAD) is administered by the RA point of contact (POC) in the TYAD Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Office.

This section addresses reasonable accommodation guidance and best practices.

Who is an individual with a disability?

An individual with a disability has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the person's major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such impairment.

What is a major life activity?

A major life activity is a function that the average person in the general population can perform with little or no difficulty. Major life activities include activities such as caring for oneself, seeing, hearing, walking, breathing, speaking, learning, sitting, standing, lifting, reaching, and working.

Who is a qualified individual with a disability?

A qualified individual with a disability has the skills, experience, education, and other requirements of the job the individual holds or desires, and can perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.

What happens if the disability is not obvious?

When the disability and/or the need for accommodation is not obvious, the employer may ask the individual for reasonable documentation about his/her disability and functional limitations. An employer should respond expeditiously to a request for reasonable accommodation.

What is an undue hardship?

An agency is not required to make an accommodation if it can demonstrate that providing the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on its everyday operations. An undue hardship is an action that requires "significant difficulty or expense" in relation to the overall size of the agency's program with respect to the number of employees, number and type of facilities and size of budget; the type of operation, including the composition and structure of the agency's workforce; and the nature and cost of the accommodation.

What is reasonable accommodation?

The term "reasonable accommodation" is a term of art that Congress defined only through examples of changes or modifications to be made, or items to be provided, to a qualified individual with a disability. A reasonable accommodation is adapting the job site or job functions for a qualified person with a disability to enable an individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. This does not mean that the employer must lower the standards of work for the position or change the job requirements. There are three categories of reasonable accommodations:

* Modifications or adjustments to a job application process to permit an individual with a disability to be considered for a job (such as providing application forms in alternative formats like large print).

* Modifications or adjustments necessary to enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job (such as providing a computer screen reader application for a person with vision loss ).

* Modifications or adjustments that enable employees with disabilities to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment (such as removing physical barriers in an office cafeteria).

What are examples of a reasonable accommodation?

Reasonable accommodations that can be requested include, but are not limited to, the following:

* Making existing facilities accessible

* Restructuring the job

* Utilizing part-time or modified work schedules

* Adjusting or modifying tests, training materials, or policies

* Providing qualified readers and interpreters

* Acquiring or modifying equipment

* Reassigning an individual to a vacant position for which the employee must be qualified

How can an individual request a reasonable accommodation?

An individual can make either an oral or written request for accommodation. To request an accommodation, an individual may use "plain English" and does not need to mention the Rehabilitation Act or "reasonable accommodation." A family member, friend, health professional, or other representative may request a reasonable accommodation on behalf of an individual with a disability. An individual with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application process or during the period of employment. The request for a reasonable accommodation must be made for a reason related to a medical condition. You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process, or while on the job.

Can an employer request medical information?

When the disability and/or need for accommodation is not obvious, the employee or applicant seeking accommodation may be asked to provide appropriate medical information related to the functional impairment and/or limitations at issue and the requested accommodation. Medical information will only be requested to the extent reasonably necessary to establish that the requester is an individual with a disability and/or needs the requested accommodation, such as:

* The past, present, and expected future nature, severity, and duration of the impairment (e.g., functional limitations, symptoms, side effects of any treatments, etc.)

* The activity or activities limited by the disability

* The extent to which the disability limits the individual's ability to perform the activity or activities

* Why the individual requires the particular accommodation requested, and how the accommodation will assist the individual to apply for a job, perform the essential functions of the job, or enjoy a benefit of the workplace.

What if the request is denied?

All denials of reasonable accommodation requests must be made in writing, and the decision must specify the reason for the denial. The denial should be written in plain language, clearly stating the specific reasons for the denial. If a request is denied, the individual must be informed that s/he has the right to file an EEO complaint.

What are the responsibilities of an individual with a disability?

Employees or applicants with disabilities who need reasonable accommodation are responsible for making their needs known to the appropriate official. When an individual decides to request accommodation, the individual or his/her representative must let the employer know that s/he needs an adjustment or change at work for a reason related to a medical condition. The employer and the individual with a disability should then engage in an informal process to clarify what the individual needs and identify the appropriate reasonable accommodation. Decisions on accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis. An individual who is granted a reasonable accommodation might not receive the exact form of accommodation requested. The deciding official has the discretion to identify reasonable and appropriate alternatives. A request for accommodation should be submitted to the point of contact in Civilian Personnel (for employment applicants) or to an employee’s current supervisor, who will coordinate with the EEO Office. Every request must be submitted to the RA POC as soon as practicable but no later than two (2) business days of receipt.

Procedures for Processing Requests for Personal Assistance Services

Federal agencies are required to provide Personal Assistance Services (PAS), in addition to reasonable accommodation, during work hours and work-related travel to employees with targeted (severe) disabilities unless doing so would impose an undue hardship. PAS allow individuals to perform activities of daily living that an individual would typically perform if he or she did not have a disability, such as assistance with removing and putting on clothing, eating, and using the restroom. The procedures outlined below are to be used when a TYAD employee makes a request for PAS.

STEP 1 – THE INITIAL REQUEST

An employee’s initial request for PAS can be made verbally or in writing to his or her first-line supervisor or the Reasonable Accommodation (RA) point of contact (POC). The TYAD Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Office administers the RA program. If the RA POC receives the request directly from the employee, the RA POC shall immediately inform the employee’s first-line supervisor of the request. Additionally, a family member, spouse or partner, friend, or medical health professional may request PAS on behalf of an individual with a targeted disability. It is the responsibility of all TYAD employees to recognize a request for PAS; if anyone other than the first-line supervisor or the RA POC receives a request for PAS, they should immediately notify the servicing RA POC.

Requests for PAS must be submitted to the servicing RA POC as soon as practicable, but no later than within two (2) business days of receipt of the initial request for processing. Requests for PAS, similarly to requests for RA, must be subsequently documented, in writing, signed and dated, for inclusion in the PAS request file.

The RA POC shall retain all documents related to the request for PAS in a file separate from the employee’s official personnel record, and may be kept in the employee’s RA file if applicable. Any information or documentation relating to the employee’s request for PAS is to be kept confidential and may be shared only with individuals involved in the PAS process who have a need to know.

STEP 2 – THE INTERACTIVE PROCESS

The interactive process is an informal discussion between the individual requesting PAS, his or her first-line supervisor, and/or the RA POC. This discussion first sets out to determine whether the employee is entitled to PAS. In order to be entitled to PAS, the following must hold true:

The individual must be a TYAD employee who has a targeted disability (see the definition of Targeted Disabilities in the definitions section of these procedures) and requires PAS because of his or her targeted disability. Additionally, the employee must be able to perform the essential functions of his or her position, without posing a direct threat to safety, once PAS and any required RA have been provided. Finally, providing PAS must not impose an undue hardship on TYAD.

In most cases, the employee’s targeted disability and the need for PAS is obvious. Therefore, the determination of whether the individual has a targeted disability should be made quickly. In the event that the targeted disability or the need for PAS is not evident, the employee’s first-line supervisor may request medical documentation to support the request.

If the employee is entitled to PAS, the interactive discussion then serves to determine the extent and nature of the services required based on the employee’s limitations. A continuing dialogue throughout the PAS request process is required to ensure an effective process.

STEP 3 – DECISION WHETHER OR NOT TO PROVIDE PAS

Decision to Approve Request for PAS - If the employee’s first-line supervisor determines that providing PAS is the appropriate course of action, a letter accepting the PAS request is issued from the supervisor to the employee within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of the written request by the RA POC. This approval letter may also be used to document that an alternative form of PAS from the PAS originally requested will be provided, and explains why it will be effective.

Decision to Deny Request for PAS - There is no requirement to provide PAS if the employee does not have a targeted disability, or if providing PAS would pose as an undue hardship on the agency. If the employee is not entitled to receive PAS, he or she must be notified of this decision within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of the written request by the RA POC. The denial notification must provide available avenues of redress, to include the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints process.

STEP 4 – OBTAINING THE PAS PROVIDER

A PAS provider is an employee or independent contractor whose primary job functions include the provision of personal assistance services. In general, the training or skill that a PAS provider should have will depend on the specific services needed by the employee.

TYAD can consider all available resources when arranging for PAS, including outside sources that are already providing PAS or are willing to provide PAS at their own expense, such as a state or veteran’s rehabilitation agency, so long as the services are provided in a timely manner.

TYAD has the flexibility of providing PAS via federal employee or independent contractor, depending on the employee’s need and the operational resources required to establish and provide PAS. If there is more than one employee requiring PAS, TYAD may use a pool of PAS providers, rather than assign one PAS provider to each employee, so long as the services are provided in a timely manner. When work-related travel results in the employee’s inability to rely on his or her usual source of PAS, TYAD must provide PAS at all times (both work and off-work hours) during the work-related travel, as a reasonable accommodation (absent undue hardship). Additionally, even if an employee’s usual PAS provider is available during work-related travel, TYAD is required to pay any additional costs related to providing PAS while on travel, such as transportation costs for the PAS provider, as a reasonable accommodation. TYAD also has the option of arranging for PAS at the destination site, rather than paying for the employee's own PAS provider to travel with him/her, as long as it is considered effective.

TYAD recognizes that it may take an extended period of time between when the request for PAS is approved and when PAS is implemented, due to the nature of federal recruitment and contracting procedures. In the event that provisional PAS is required, the employee’s first-line supervisor and coworkers may volunteer to assist with minimal non-personally invasive tasks to support the employee, such as, but not limited to, removing and putting on a coat, opening doors, retrieving items in the workplace that are out of reach, and replenishing water.

Employees who do not perform PAS as a primary job function shall not assist employees who require PAS with personally invasive tasks that they may not be qualified to perform, such as feeding, toileting, bathing, or lifting or moving employees from vehicles, beds or wheelchairs. (Please note that this restriction does not apply when assisting an employee in evacuating during an emergency or an exercise.) Until a contract is secured or a billet is in place, interim arrangements can be made for performing these more personal tasks through exploring the availability of local resources or providing temporary base access to spouses or family members who can assist with PAS.

STEP 5 – ONGOING INTERACTIVE PROCESS

If the request for PAS is approved, the employee shall be informed, in writing, of any changes in providing PAS. Changes can include incurred delays due to the nature of federal recruitment or contracting, the unavailability of the primary PAS provider and any alternative arrangements made, among other situations. In addition, the employee must inform his or her supervisor or the servicing RA POC of any changes needed to the services in place so that they may address these changes.

Definitions

Personal Assistance Services (PAS): Assistance with performing activities of daily living that an individual would typically perform if he or she did not have a disability, and that is not otherwise required as a reasonable accommodation, including assistance with removing and putting on clothing, eating, and using the restroom. PAS does not include services of a medical nature such as administering shots or monitoring blood pressure, and does not include assistance with commuting to and from work.

Reasonable Accommodation (RA): A change to the work environment or the way things are usually done that allows an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform the essential functions of the position, or enjoy equal access to benefits available to other individuals in the workplace. RA differs from PAS, as the assistance or modification provided as an accommodation is directly related to the performance of job-related tasks. Examples of an accommodation include providing a reader to enable individuals who have visual impairments to read printed text, or a Sign Language interpreter to facilitate deaf-to-hearing communication.

Targeted Disabilities: A subset of disabilities deemed to be severe. The federal government has recognized that qualified individuals with targeted disabilities face significant barriers to employment, above and beyond the barriers faced by people with the broader range of disabilities. The targeted disabilities are provided on the Office of Personnel Management’s Standard Form 256 (SF-256), “Self-Identification of Disability,” in which the October 2016 version of the form identifies the following as targeted disabilities: Developmental Disability; Traumatic Brain Injury; Deaf or serious difficulty hearing; Blind or serious difficulty seeing; Missing extremities (arm, leg, hand and/or foot); Significant mobility impairment, benefitting from the utilization of a wheelchair, scooter, walker, leg brace(s) and/or other supports; Partial or complete paralysis; Epilepsy or other seizure disorders; Intellectual disability; Significant Psychiatric Disorder, for example, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, or major depression; Dwarfism; and Significant disfigurement, for example, disfigurements caused by burns, wounds, accidents, or congenital disorders.