Reasonable Accommodations & Accessibility

 

NSA's Reasonable Accommodation program ensures all employees, including those with disabilities, have an equal opportunity to reach their highest potential and contribute fully to mission. We balance employee need and mission requirement to provide a wide array of accommodations that enable our employees to successfully perform the essential duties of their position. This might include anything from sit/stand desks to assistive technology and ASL interpreters.

If you require reasonable accommodations during your application process, please notify your NSA Recruiter. Your Recruiter will work with NSA's Office of Reasonable Accommodations and Accessibility (ORAA) on your accommodation request. An ORAA Reasonable Accommodations Manager may ask that you provide documentation to support your request. All information submitted to support an accommodation request is kept confidential and your privacy rights are protected.

NSA's Office of Reasonable Accommodations and Accessibility (ORAA) manages the reasonable accommodations process. NSA is required to provide a workplace accommodation for qualified applicants with a disability within the meaning of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as Amended.

Learn about NSA's Personal Assistance Services (PAS), managed by NSA's Well-Being Services.

Review the full Reasonable Accommodation Process. Below is a summary of the process.

Reasonable Accommodations Process:

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Applicants should contact the Disability Recruitment Program Manager or call 410-854-7384 if they are in need of reasonable accommodations and/or personal assistance services.

The Office of Recruitment contacts ORAA. The ORAA Reasonable Accommodations Manager will follow-up with the Office of Recruitment within three (3) business days to discuss the needs of the applicant.

Requests can also be provided to ORAA or call 301-688-7779. Requests for accommodation can be provided orally or in writing at any time.

The ORAA Reasonable Accommodations Manager may need to obtain information to determine if an individual’s impairment is a “disability” pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act or to determine an appropriate accommodation. Where documentation is needed, the ORAA Reasonable Accommodations Manager will work with the applicant to obtain it.

If clarification or additional information is needed, the ORAA may request review of the medical documentation by the Agency’s Occupational Health, Environmental & Safety Services (OHESS), medical staff or another medical professional (at the Agency’s expense) if consent is provided by the applicant.

The ORAA Reasonable Accommodations Manager or Agency medical staff may also give the applicant a list of questions to give to the health care provider to answer or contact the medical provider directly, if consent is provided by the applicant.

Once the medical information is reviewed and the individual is determined to be a person with a disability, the ORAA Reasonable Accommodations Manager will engage in the interactive process to determine the specific workplace accommodations needed. The ORAA Reasonable Accommodations Manager will contact the individual to clarify the accommodations requested. The ORAA Reasonable Accommodations Manager will also contact the individual’s management or the Office of Recruitment to discuss the accommodation request. 

Once the appropriate accommodations are clarified with the requestor, the ORAA Reasonable Accommodations Manager will coordinate with the requestor’s management or the Office of Recruitment to determine the implementation plan for the accommodations. The ORAA Reasonable Accommodations Manager will ensure that the individual and the appropriate Agency personnel receive a copy of the Reasonable Accommodation Decision (RAD).

Individuals can track the processing of their cases by emailing the Disability Recruitment Program Manager or calling 410-854-7384.

Job reassignment is an accommodation of last resort and should only be used with an employee who cannot be accommodated in his/her current position.

Qualified individuals with disabilities who can no longer perform the essential functions of their job with or without reasonable accommodations due to a new or worsening condition will be considered for job reassignment to a vacant position as a reasonable accommodation

Once approved, absent extenuating circumstances, the provision of a reasonable accommodation will occur no later than 21 business days from the date of the request. 

If the ORAA Reasonable Accommodations Manager must request medical information or documentation from a requestor’s doctor, the processing time frame will stop on the day that the ORAA Reasonable Accommodations Manager makes a request and will resume on the day that the information/documentation is received by the ORAA Reasonable Accommodations Manager.

In the event that an accommodation cannot be implemented within the 21-day business day time period, an interim accommodation may be implemented if practical. The interactive process between the applicant and the Agency (Recruitment and ORAA Reasonable Accommodations Manager) will occur to determine what interim measures are needed.

All decisions regarding a request for reasonable accommodations will be communicated to an applicant by his/her recruiter.

A decision to provide an accommodation other than the one specifically requested will be considered a decision to grant an accommodation. The decision to provide an alternative accommodation will be discussed with the applicant before implementation to ensure the applicant understands the alternative accommodation and agrees with it.

Applicants may be denied an accommodation if:

  • They are not a qualified individual with a disability

  • The accommodation creates an undue hardship

  • The accommodation would introduce a risk to national security

If an accommodation cannot be supported due to undue hardship to mission or productivity requirements, alternative accommodations options are explored.

Denial decisions will include specific reasons for denial. The ORAA Reasonable Accommodations Manager will provide the denial decision to Recruitment, who will share with the applicant. 

In cases where an accommodation other than the one requested is offered, an applicant will have the opportunity to accept or reject the alternate accommodation. If the alternative accommodation is not accepted the applicant’s rejection will be documented.

If an applicant disagrees with the approved accommodation(s) or alternate accommodation, or believes his/her request should not have been denied, the applicant may request an appeal or reconsideration of the approved/denied accommodation(s) within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the decision in writing. The written reconsideration request can be emailed or faxed to (301) 688-5405.

The Reasonable Accommodations Denial Board will convene within 10 business days of receipt of written request for reconsideration in the ORAA. Individuals will be notified of the date their reconsideration request was received.

Applicants should provide their written request for reconsideration by emailing or fax to (301) 688-5405.

A final decision will be rendered within 15 business days from the date of receipt of the reconsideration request in the ORAA. The final decision from the Board will be provided to the applicant in writing by the Chief of ORAA

Under the Rehabilitation Act, medical information obtained through the reasonable accommodation process must be kept confidential. All medical information is kept in files separate from the individual’s personnel file. Any Agency employee who receives medical information is strictly bound by these confidentiality requirements. Medical information is shared only with those with a need to know.

The ORAA Reasonable Accommodations Manager may share certain information with an employee’s supervisor or other Agency official(s) as needed to make determinations regarding a reasonable accommodations request. The recipients are informed about confidentiality requirements. Information disclosed is no more than necessary to process the request.

Notice to applicant or employee who chooses to pursue statutory remedies for denial of reasonable accommodation must:

For an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint: Contact an EEO Counselor in the Office of Discrimination Complaints within 45 days from the date of receipt of the written resolution notice or verbal response to the request (whichever comes first). EEO Counselors can be reached at (301) 688-1087. If a counselor is not contacted within 45 days the right to file a complaint will be lost. Individuals are encouraged to use informal dispute resolution processes to resolve complaints regarding reasonable accommodations.

Accessibility at Facilities, Rights under the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (ABA): NSA’s Installation & Facilities Operations Division, is responsible for ensuring the physical accessibility of the agency’s facilities. To report an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)/ABA issue or if there are concerns about the accessibility of Agency equipment, please call 667-812-6450.

To file a formal complaint visit U.S. Access Board, and select file an ABA complaint.

If you feel there is an accessibility issue that should be covered under the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (ABA) you have the right to file a complaint with an EEO Counselor as noted above by calling 301-688-1087.

If the agency’s investigation of a complaint filed under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 shows that a different entity is responsible for the alleged violation, the Agency will attempt to assist the applicant or employee with locating the proper place to file the complaint against the other entity, if possible.

These procedures create no new enforceable rights under Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, or any other law. Executive Order 13164, which requires all Federal agencies to adopt reasonable accommodations procedures, explains in section 5(b) that the procedures are “intended only to improve the internal management of the executive branch and does not create any right or benefit."