[IPAC-List] Testing Accommodations vs. On the Job Accommodations

keith.poole at phoenix.gov keith.poole at phoenix.gov
Tue Aug 19 11:42:44 EDT 2014

It's a good question and I'm interested in hearing thoughts on this as 
well.  It's something we still occasionally struggle with.  Years ago I 
worked in our ADA accommodations and job placement division, finding 
alternate jobs or training for employees with permanent work restrictions. 
 The accommodation process for a 'real job' takes a lot of analysis and 
discussion with the applicant/employee, their doctor or rehab specialist, 
the departments that have possible jobs, etc.  It sometimes required job 
trials where they either worked while on LTD payments or sometimes taking 
the job for a limited time period.  So finding a 'fit' could take weeks or 
months.  We might take a slightly different approach for a new hire vs 
existing employee but the analysis and interactive process doesn't really 
change if the applicant is very motivated.

On top of that I'm aware of a couple employees who came to our agency as 
new hires that had impairments that I never would have imagined would 
'work out'.  One example being a heavy equipment mechanic with one hand, 
and an Human Resources Aide in the employment testing division that was 
legally blind.  Both were successful in their positions. 

So my general approach is that we provide testing accommodations if they 
are reasonable for a testing process, without getting too much into the 
nuances of the actual job environment, or trying to factor in how long it 
might take an applicant in the real job to acclimate and find a situation 
that works for them.  As an aside, while I believe the vast majority of 
applicants requesting accommodations just sincerely wanted to take the 
test and be considered for the job, there has been more than occasion 
where I'm pretty sure it was a "mystery shopper," from where and what 
motivation I couldn't really say.  Trying to do too much analysis at the 
front end of a selection process (can they really do the job?) probably is 
just going to raise too many red flags and get your testing folks wrapped 
up in too much detail.

Keith Poole
Human Resources Supervisor
City of Phoenix HR Department
135 N 2nd Ave
Phoenix, AZ  85003
Phone: (602) 262-7140
Fax: (602) 495-5498
Email:  keith.poole at phoenix.gov

From:   "Reindl, Kevin" <K1RQ at pge.com>
To:     "ipac-list at ipacweb.org" <IPAC-List at ipacweb.org>, 
Date:   08/19/2014 07:42 AM
Subject:        [IPAC-List] Testing Accommodations vs. On the Job 
Sent by:        "IPAC-List" <ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org>

I wanted to see if anyone is willing to share approach/opinion about the 
timing and sequence of considering job and testing accommodations under 
the ADA. My question is whether testing accommodations should be treated 
separately and prior to any discussion of accommodations on the job. I’ll 
try to provide a simple example to illustrate my question:
Suppose a job applicant who has limited use of one hand applies for a job 
that periodically requires using a jackhammer. Suppose also that one of 
the tests required for the job measures back strength, however, the 
apparatus used to measure back strength requires the test taker to grip 
and pull back on a bar attached to a chain, and the only way the test can 
be performed is with the use of 2 hands gripping the bar (i.e., gripping 
of a bar with both hands is really just an artifact of the testing 
apparatus, and not an ability that the test is designed to measure).
My question is this: Can/should we consider whether the person can perform 
the job with or without a reasonable accommodation as a reason not to 
accommodate him on the test? OR…is it better to make the testing 
accommodation without regard to the job in question and save the 
determination of whether he can perform the job until after testing?
Thanks in advance for your thoughts,
Kevin Reindl
Pacific Gas & Electric
Human Resources
Performance, Selection & Inclusion
245 Market Street, N2J
San Francisco, CA 94105
Office: 415-973-7013
Mobile: 619-322-3368
k1rq at pge.com

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