Office of Diversity and Inclusion Diversity@Work targeted disabilities in Federal Agencies through...

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  • Office of Diversity and Inclusion

    Diversity@Work October 2018

    WWW.DIVERSITY.VA.GOV

    Commemorate National Disability Employment Awareness Month

    VA joins the Nation in observing National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) this October. This year’s theme is “America’s Workforce: Empowering All.” VA leaders are encouraged to support events and activities that recognize the contributions of workers with

    disabilities and educates about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents. Employment of individuals with disabilities is essential in accomplishing the noble VA mission, which—in the great words of President Abraham Lincoln—is “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” (Continued on page 3.)

    ORM Steps Toward Conflict Resolution

    Callers can REACH to the Office of Resolution Management (ORM) using the new number, 1-888-566-3982 (TDD: 1-888-626-9008), and speak with a specialist regarding Equal Employment Opportunity Complaint Processing, Alternative Dispute Resolution, and the Harassment Prevention Program. REACH to ORM is available from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. in all time zones. To file a discrimination or harassment complaint, you must contact ORM within 45 calendar days of the date of the alleged discriminatory incident.

    Upcoming Events October 2018 September 15-October 15 Hispanic Heritage Month

    National Disability Employment Awareness Month

    Out & Equal Workplace Summit October 1-4; Seattle, WA

    Real Talk October 4 at noon; VACO Room 530

    Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Conference October 6-8; Atlanta, GA

    National Indigenous People’s Day Columbus Day October 8

    Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Annual Conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health October 10-13; Las Vegas, NV

    DEFENSE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE POSTER

    http://www.va.gov/ https://www.diversity.va.gov/ https://www.va.gov/ORM/EEOcomplaint.asp https://www.va.gov/ORM/EEOcomplaint.asp https://www.va.gov/ORM/EEOcomplaint.asp https://www.va.gov/adr https://www.va.gov/ORM/HPP.asp https://www.va.gov/ORM/RSC.asp https://www.diversity.va.gov/calendar/october.aspx http://outandequal.org/event/2018summit/ https://www.hacu.net/hacu/Annual_Conference1.asp https://www.hacu.net/hacu/Annual_Conference1.asp http://glma.org/ http://glma.org/ http://glma.org/

  • Training

    Out & Equal Workplace Summit Out & Equal Workplace Advocates will host its annual Workplace Summit on October 1-4, 2018, at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Washington. The educational commitment and focus of this conference this year centers around Peer-to Peer Education, Commitment to Diversity, and Focus on LGBTQ Workplace Equality. Employees who wish to attend the Workplace Summit must preregister. Employees are responsible for securing authorization to attend from their respective supervisors before registering on the Out & Equal Website. For more information, contact Mr. Sterling Akins, VA’s National LGBT Program Manager, ORM.

    HACU Conference The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) will host its 32nd Annual Conference October 6-7, 2018, at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, GA. It will provide a unique forum to share information and ideas for the most promising practices in the education of Hispanics. Employees are responsible for securing authorization to attend from their respective supervisors before registering on the HACU website. For more information, contact Ms. Edith Perry, VA’s National Hispanic Employment Program Manager, ODI.

    Policy Updates

    Annual EEO, D&I, No FEAR, and Whistleblower Rights and Protection Policy Statement Secretary Wilkie is firmly committed to a VA that is a workplace free from unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. The Secretary recently issued VA’s updated Annual Equal Employment Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion, No FEAR, and Whistleblower Rights and Protection Policy Statement. This Policy Statement summarizes VA’s workplace rules of behavior and employee protections. Please be sure you have read the updated policy, dated August 27, 2018.

    Policy Guidance on Religious Exercise and Expression During this holiday season, all VA employees are expected to be mindful of the Department’s Policy Guidance on Religious Exercise and Expression in VA Facilities and Property Under the Charge and Control of VA. At all times, the government must ensure that it does not act in a manner that would lead a reasonable observer to conclude that it is sponsoring, endorsing or inhibiting religion generally or favoring or disfavoring a particular religion. The government must also ensure that it does not require or pressure its employees or others to participate in religious activities or to refrain from participation in such activities. Please read the associated FAQs at the link above for more information. We all have a responsibility to be respectful and to ensure that our workplaces are harassment-free zones.

    Services for People with Disabilities: Personal Assistance Services (PAS) Federal Agencies' Obligation to Provide Personal Assistance Services (PAS) under Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act

    On January 3, 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) amended the regulations implementing Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 501), the law that prohibits the federal government from discriminating in employment on the basis of disability and requires it to engage in affirmative action for people with disabilities.

    As part of the agencies' obligation to engage in affirmative action, federal agencies are required by the new regulations to provide Personal Assistance Services (PAS) to individuals who need them because of certain disabilities. See 29 C.F.R. § 1614.203(d)(5). PAS are services that help individuals who, because of targeted disabilities, require assistance to perform basic activities of daily living, like eating and using the restroom. In VA, PAS requests are handled the same as Reasonable Accommodation (RA) requests. For more information regarding PAS and RA check out the RA Community of Practice on VA Pulse.

    Page 2

    http://outandequal.org/event/2018summit mailto:Sterling.Akins@va.gov?subject=Out%20&%20Equal https://www.hacu.net/hacu/Annual_Conference1.asp mailto:Edith.Perry@va.gov?subject=HACU%20Conference https://www.diversity.va.gov/policy/statement.aspx https://www.diversity.va.gov/policy/statement.aspx https://www.diversity.va.gov/policy/religion.aspx https://www.diversity.va.gov/policy/religion.aspx https://www.vapulse.net/groups/reasonable-accommodation-services https://www.vapulse.net/groups/reasonable-accommodation-services

  • Commemorate Continued from Page 1

    In order to provide the highest level of care and benefits to those impacted by the lasting effects of their unwavering service to this great Nation, there needs to be an understanding of the various limitations and disabilities faced by those who have sacrificed unselfishly to defend and protect our people. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure VA’s workforce includes individuals who have disabilities so the Department can accurately capture the challenges faced by Veterans and their families as it relates to individual disabilities. It is a great benefit to employ individuals with disabilities because not only is there rich talent, by the very nature of the hardships many of these individuals face, it creates a strength and resilience in the face of adversity and contributes toward finding resolutions to some of the Department’s most challenging and pressing issues.

    As of August 2018, individuals with disabilities represented 13.85 percent of the VA workforce, including 2.53 percent with targeted disabilities. In addition, Veterans with disabilities represented 13.31 percent of the VA workforce for this same time period. Although there was a previous onboard goal of 2 percent and hiring goal for of 3 percent for individuals with targeted disabilities, these goals are no longer applicable as they changed in fiscal year 2018 due to updates to regulation. In 2018, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated the goals set forth for employment of individuals with disabilities and targeted disabilities in Federal Agencies through updates to 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1614, section 203, implemented through Management Directive 715 (MD-715). VA is meeting three of the four new onboard goals set forth in the MD-715 to include having 12 percent of the onboard VA workforce in the grade cluster of general schedule (GS) 1 to 10 and equivalent individuals with disabilities, 2 percent of the onboard VA workforce in the grade cluster of GS 1 to 10 and equivalent individuals with targeted disabilities, and 12 percent of the onboard VA workforce in the grade cluster of GS 11 to Senior Executive Service (SES) and equivalent individuals with disabilities. The Department is still challenged to meet the goal of 2 percent of the onboard VA workforce in the grade cluster of GS 11 to SES and equivalent individuals with targeted disabilities.

    These new changes make it ever so important to ensure employees can easily self-report whether they have a disability and what the disability is. When a new employee is hired, he/she is asked to complete Standard Form (SF) 256, “Self-Identification of Disability”, which helps V