U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Nov 26, 2022
The purpose of this part is to effectuate section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to eliminate discrimination on the basis of handicap in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
This subpart applies to each activity, program or project receiving Federal financial assistance from the Office of Personnel Management from the date this subpart is approved. The duration of the applicability is the period of time for which the assistance is authorized.
Unless the content requires otherwise, in this subpart:
(a) Recipient means any State or its political subdivisions, any instrumentality of a State or its political subdivisions, any public or private agency, institution, organization, or other entity, or any person to which Federal financial assistance is extended directly or through another recipient, including any successor, assignee, or transferee of a recipient, but excluding the ultimate beneficiary of the assistance.
(b) Federal financial assistance means any grant, loan, contract, (other than a procurement contract or a contract of insurance or guaranty), or any other arrangement by which the agency provides or otherwise makes available assistance in the form of:
(2) Services of Federal personnel; or
(3) Real and personal property or any interest in or use of such property, including:
(i) Transfers or leases of such property for less than fair market value or for reduced consideration; and
(ii) Proceeds from a subsequent transfer or lease of such property if the Federal share of its fair market value is not returned to the Federal Government.
(c) Facility means all or any portion of buildings, structures, equipment, roads, walks, parking lots, or other real or personal property or interest in such property.
(d) Handicapped person means any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.
(1) As used in paragraph (d) of this section, the phrase: physical or mental impairment means:
(i) Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: Neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genitourinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or
(ii) Any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.
(2) Major life activities means functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
(3) Has a record of such impairment means has a history of, or has been misclassified as having a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
(4) Is regarded as having an impairment means:
(i) Has a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit major life activities but is treated by a recipient as constituting such a limitation;
(ii) Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of others toward such impairment; or
(iii) Has none of the impairments defined in paragraph (d) of this section but is treated by a recipient as having such an impairment.
(e) Qualified handicapped person means:
(1) With respect to employment, a handicapped person who with reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job in question.
(2) With respect to other services, a handicapped person who meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of such services.
(f) Ultimate beneficiary means one among a class of persons who are entitled to benefit from or otherwise participate in, programs receiving Federal financial assistance and to whom the protections of this subpart apply.
(a) No qualified handicapped person shall, on the basis of handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity which receives or benefits from Federal financial assistance from the Office of Personnel Management.
(b) (1) A recipient, in providing any aid, benefit, or service, may not, directly or through contractual, licensing, or other arrangements, on the basis of handicap:
(i) Deny a qualified handicapped person the opportunity to participate in or benefit from the aid, benefit, or service;
(ii) Afford a qualified handicapped person an opportunity to participate in or benefit from the aid, benefit, or service that is not equal to that afforded others;
(iii) Provide a qualified handicapped person with an aid, benefit, or service that is not as effective in affording equal opportunity to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit or to reach the same level of achievement as that provided to others;
(iv) Provide different or separate aid, benefits, or services to handicapped persons or to any class of handicapped persons than is provided to others unless such action is necessary to provide qualified handicapped persons with aid, benefits, or services that are as effective as those provided to others;
(v) Aid or perpetuate discrimination against a qualified handicapped person by providing significant assistance to an agency, organization or person that discriminates on the basis of handicap in providing any aid, benefit, or service to beneficiaries of the recipient's program;
(vi) Deny a qualified person the opportunity to participate as a member of planning or advisory boards; or
(vii) Otherwise limit a qualified handicapped person in the enjoyment of any right, privilege, advantage, or opportunity enjoyed by others receiving aid, benefit, or service.
(2) A recipient may not deny a qualified handicapped person the opportunity to participate in programs or activities that are not separate or different, despite the existence of permissibly separate or different programs or activities.
(3) A recipient may not, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, utilize criteria or methods of administration:
(i) That have the effect of subjecting qualified handicapped persons to discrimination on the basis of handicap,
(ii) That have the purpose or effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of the recipient's program with respect to handicapped persons, or
(iii) That perpetuate the discrimination of another recipient if both recipients are subject to common administrative control or are agencies of the same State.
(4) A recipient may not, in determining the site or location of a facility, make selections:
(i) That have the effect of excluding handicapped persons from, denying them the benefits of, or otherwise subjecting them to discrimination under any program or activity that receives or benefits from Federal financial assistance, or
(ii) That have the purpose or effect of defeating or substantially impairing the accomplishment of the objectives of the program or activity with respect to handicapped persons.
(c) The exclusion of nonhandicapped persons from the benefits of a program limited by Federal statute or Executive order to handicapped persons or the exclusion of a specific class of handicapped persons from a program limited by Federal statute or Executive order to a different class of handicapped persons is not prohibited by this part.
(d) Recipients shall administer programs and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified handicapped persons.
(e) Recipients shall take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with their applicants, employees and beneficiaries are available to persons with impaired vision and hearing.
(a) No qualified handicapped person shall, because a recipient's facilities are inaccessible to or unusable by handicapped persons, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity to which this subpart applies.
(b) A recipient shall operate each program or activity so that the program or activity, when viewed in its entirety, is readily accessible to and usable by handicapped persons. This paragraph does not necessarily require a recipient to make each of its existing facilities or every part of an existing facility accessible to and usable by handicapped persons. Where structural changes are necessary to make programs or activities in existing facilities accessible, such changes shall be made as soon as practicable, but in no event later than three years after the effective date of the regulation.
(c) A recipient may comply with the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section through such means as redesign of equipment, reassignment of services to accessible buildings, assignment of aides to beneficiaries, home visits, alteration of facilities or any other methods that result in making its program or activity accessible to handicapped persons. A recipient is not required to make structural changes in existing facilities where other methods are effective in achieving compliance with this section.
(d) New facilities shall be designed and constructed to be readily accessible to and usable by handicapped persons. Alterations to existing facilities shall, to the maximum extent feasible, be designed and constructed to be readily accessible to and usable by handicapped persons.
(e) In the event that structural changes to facilities are necessary to meet the requirements of this section, a recipient shall develop within 12 months of the effective date of this subpart a transition plan setting forth the steps necessary to complete such changes. The plan shall be developed with the assistance of interested persons, including handicapped persons or organizations representing handicapped persons.
(f)(1) Effective as of August 23, 1990. Design, construction, or alteration of buildings in conformance with sections 3-8 of the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) (appendix A to 41 CFR subpart 101-19.6) shall be deemed to comply with the requirements of this section with respect to those buildings. Departures from particular technical and scoping requirements of UFAS by the use of other methods are permitted where substantially equivalent or greater access to and usability of the building is provided.
(2) For purposes of this section, section 4.1.6(1)(g) of UFAS shall be interpreted to exempt from the requirements of UFAS only mechanical rooms and other spaces that, because of their intended use, will not require accessibility to the public or beneficiaries or result in the employment or residence therein of persons with physical handicaps.
(3) This section does not require recipients to make building alterations that have little likelihood of being accomplished without removing or altering a load-bearing structural member.
(a) General. (1) No qualified handicapped person shall, on the basis of handicap, be subjected to discrimination in employment under a program or activity that receives or benefits from Federal financial assistance from OPM.
(2) A recipient shall make all decisions concerning employment under any program or activity to which this subpart applies in a manner which ensures that discrimination on the basis of handicap does not occur and may not limit, segregate, or classify applicants or employees in any way that adversely affects their opportunities or status because of handicap.
(3) The prohibition against discrimination in employment applies to the following activities:
(i) Recruitment, advertising, and the processing of applications for employment;
(ii) Hiring, upgrading, promotion, award of tenure, demotion, transfer, layoff, termination, right of return from layoff, and rehiring;
(iii) Rates of pay or any other form of compensation and changes in compensation;
(iv) Job assignments, job classifications, organizational structures, position descriptions, lines of progression, and seniority lists;
(v) Leaves of absence, sick leave, or any other leave;
(vi) Fringe benefits available by virtue of employment, whether or not administered by the recipient;
(vii) Selection and financial support for training, including apprenticeship, professional meetings, conferences, and other related activities, and selection for leaves of absence to pursue training;
(viii) Employer sponsored activities, including social or recreational programs; and
(ix) Any other term, condition, or privilege of employment.
(4) A recipient may not participate in a contractual or other relationship that has the effect of subjecting qualified handicapped applicants or employees to discrimination prohibited by this subpart. The relationships referred to in this paragraph include relationships with employment and referral agencies, with labor unions, with organizations providing or administering fringe benefits to employees of the recipient, and with organizations providing training and apprenticeship programs.
(b) Reasonable accommodation. (1) A recipient shall make reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified handicapped applicant or employee under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance from OPM unless the recipient can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of its program.
(2) Reasonable accommodation may include, but shall not be limited to, making facilities readily accessible to and usable by handicapped persons, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, appropriate adjustment or modification of examinations, the provision of readers and interpreters, job restructuring and providing part-time or modified work schedules and other similar actions.
(3) In determining pursuant to paragraph (b)(1) of this section whether an accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the recipient in question, factors to be considered by OPM include:
(i) The overall size of the recipient's program with respect to the number of employees, number and type of facilities and size of budget;
(ii) The type of operation, including the composition and structure of the work force; and
(iii) The nature and the cost of the accommodation.
(c) Employment criteria. (1) A recipient involved in activities receiving Federal financial assistance may not make use of any employment test or other selection criterion that screens out or tends to screen out handicapped persons or any class of handicapped persons in any program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance unless the test score or other selection criterion, as used by the recipient, is shown to be job-related for the position in question and alternative job-related tests or criteria that do not screen out as many handicapped persons are not shown by the Office of Personnel Management's Personnel Research and Development Center to be available.
(2) A recipient shall select and administer tests concerning employment so as to ensure that, when administered under any program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance from OPM, to an applicant or employee who has a handicap that impairs sensory, manual, or speaking skills, the test results accurately reflect the applicant's or employee's ability to perform the duties of the type of position in question rather than reflecting the applicant's or employee's impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills (except where those skills are the factors that the test purports to measure).
(d) Preemployment inquiries. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (d)(2) of this section, a recipient, when considering an applicant for employment under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance from OPM, may not conduct a preemployment medical examination and may not make preemployment inquiry of an applicant as to whether the applicant is a handicapped person or as to the nature or severity of a handicap. A recipient may, however, make preemployment inquiry into an applicant's ability to perform job-related functions.
(2) Nothing in this section shall prohibit an organization from conditioning an offer of employment under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance from OPM on the results of a medical examination conducted prior to the employee's entrance on duty: Provided, That (i) All entering employees are subjected to such an examination regardless of handicap or when a preemployment medical questionnaire used for positions which do not routinely require medical examination indicates a condition for which further examination is required because of the job-related nature of the condition; and
(ii) The results of such an examination are used in accordance with the requirements of this subpart.
(a) General. Each application to OPM for financial assistance, as a condition to its approval and the extension of financial assistance, shall contain or be accompanied by, a certification from the applicant in a form prescribed by OPM that the program will be conducted in compliance with the requirements of this subpart. The assurance shall obligate the recipient for the period during which the financial assistance is extended to the program.
(b) Certification from subgrantees. A certification shall be required of all subgrantees receiving financial assistance from OPM to the effect that all programs or parts thereof carried out by subgrantees shall be in compliance with the requirements of this subpart. The recipient shall be responsible for securing the certification from subgrantees.
(a) Each recipient shall, within one year of the receipt of financial assistance, conduct or have conducted an evaluation of its compliance with this subpart with the assistance of interested persons, including handicapped persons or organizations representing handicapped persons. Each such recipient shall evaluate its current policies and practices and their effects, and modify any that do not meet the requirements of this part. Each such recipient shall permit the Office of Personnel Management, during normal business hours, to examine its self-evaluation along with its books, records, accounts, facilities and other sources of information as may be useful to determine whether there has been compliance with this subpart. Self-evaluation required under other Federal programs may be accepted by OPM if the information pertaining to activities receiving financial assistance from OPM is included and the records are available to OPM representatives.
(b) Each recipient shall modify, after consultation with interested persons and organizations, including handicapped persons, any policies and practices that do not meet the requirements of this subpart; and
(c) Each recipient shall take, after consultation with interested persons, including handicapped persons or organizations representing handicapped persons, appropriate remedial steps to eliminate the effects of any discrimination that resulted from adherence to these policies and practices.
(a) Programs and activities receiving OPM financial support shall take appropriate initial and continuing steps to notify participants, beneficiaries, applicants, and employees, including those with impaired vision or hearing, that it does not discriminate on the basis of handicap in violation of Section 504 and this subpart.
(b) As appropriate, a recipient shall consult with interested persons, including handicapped persons or organizations representing handicapped persons, in achieving compliance with this subpart.
When the Office of Personnel Management determines that a recipient has failed or threatens to fail to comply with this subpart and the noncompliance or threatened noncompliance cannot be corrected by informal means, OPM may suspend or terminate or refuse to grant or continue financial assistance as provided in § 900.408 of title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations.