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The "targeted disabilities," which were last listed on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Standard Form (SF) 256 in 1987, include: deafness; blindness; missing extremities; partial paralysis; complete paralysis; convulsive disorders; mental retardation; mental illness; and distortion of limb and/or spine.EEOC tracks statistics on the employment by federal agencies of people with these targeted disabilities because their unemployment and under-employment rates are so high.treated) as having a substantially limiting impairment.This definition is broader than the above-listed "targeted" or severe disabilities that the federal government has identified for special emphasis in affirmative action and data collection. The fact that a function is listed in a job description as essential is relevant, but not necessarily controlling.Tracking employment statistics for this population allows federal agencies to better monitor their own efforts at becoming and remaining model employers.Despite these efforts, the percentage of federal employees with targeted disabilities has declined since it reached its peak of 1.24 percent in fiscal year 1994 (32,337 employees).Relevant factors to consider in determining if a function is essential include but are not limited to the following: whether the reason the position exists is to perform that function; the number of people available to perform the function or among whom it can be distributed; the degree of expertise or skill required to perform the function; the employer's judgment as to which functions are essential; written job descriptions prepared before advertising or interviewing applicants for the job; the time spent performing the function; the consequences of not requiring the employee to perform it; the terms of any applicable collective bargaining agreement; the work experience of past incumbents in the job; and/or the current work experience of incumbents in similar jobs. These goals should be set in a way that will achieve measurable yearly progress, accounting for attrition and for the distribution of individuals with disabilities in the agency's overall workforce, and in particular segments and levels with an under-representation.
EEOC will approve or disapprove specific plans as appropriate, and will periodically conduct evaluations and program reviews to more closely assess MD-715 compliance.This document is intended as a reference tool for federal government managers and supervisors who, by hiring applicants with disabilities and ensuring equal employment opportunity for employees with disabilities, can reverse the current trend and fulfill the employment mandates of Section 501.The statutory language of Section 501 mandates that federal agencies submit to EEOC for approval an annually updated "affirmative action program plan for the hiring, placement, and advancement of individuals with disabilities." The Section 501 regulations require that the federal government be a "model employer" with respect to the employment of individuals with disabilities.This effort includes working with federal agencies to adopt and successfully implement the attributes of the EEOC's Model EEO Program under MD-715.Section 501 is also a non-discrimination law that: Under Section 501, the term "disability" means: (1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) a record of a substantially limiting impairment; or (3) being regarded (i.e.: An agency is filling a recently-vacated attorney position.The agency receives an application from an individual who had both legs amputated as the result of a car accident two years earlier.In fiscal year 2007, federal employees with targeted disabilities comprised only 0.92 percent (23,993 employees) of the federal workforce.Moreover, although the federal workforce has increased by 128,973 employees from FY 1998 to FY 2007, a net increase of 5.2%, the number of federal employees with targeted disabilities decreased from 28,035 in FY 1998 to 23,993 in FY 2007, a net decrease of 14.42%.It is also broader than the severe disabilities eligible for Schedule A appointment authority discussed below. The following are answers to frequently-asked questions from managers and employees about affirmative action and non-discrimination provisions of the Rehabilitation Act applicable to applicants and employees with disabilities. Must a federal agency have an affirmative action program for individuals with disabilities that establishes specific hiring and advancement plans? Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act requires all agencies, regardless of their size, to have an affirmative action program plan for individuals with disabilities.For example, an employee with diabetes that substantially limits her in the major life activity of eating would be an "individual with a disability" protected against discrimination under Section 501, even though she would not have a "targeted disability." including "modifications or adjustments to a job application process," "the work environment," "the manner or circumstances under which a position held or desired is customarily performed, or to enable an employee with a disability "to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment." Employers may be required to remove a marginal, but not an essential, function as a reasonable accommodation. Moreover, MD-715 requires those agencies with 1,000 or more employees to establish a special recruitment program with specific goals for the employment and advancement of individuals with targeted disabilities, and to submit their special program plan annually to the EEOC.