United States Commission on Civil Rights--Parking Fees for Employees with Disabilities

B-291208: Apr 9, 2003

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

By letter dated August 6, 2002, the Deputy General Counsel of the United States Commission on Civil Rights (the Commission) asks whether parking benefits for employees with disabilities, who commute to work in privately owned vehicles rather than by mass transit or in vanpools, may be included in the federal government's transit pass transportation fringe benefit program. In the alternative, the Commission asks whether it may use appropriated funds to pay the parking fees of employees with disabilities who commute to work in privately owned vehicles as a "reasonable accommodation" under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or whether there is any other legal means to pay any part of the parking fees for employees with disabilities.

We conclude that the Commission may not pay the parking fees of employees with disabilities either under the transit pass transportation fringe benefit program or as a reasonable accommodation under the facts presented here. However, if the Commission determines that an employee's severely disabling condition is the principal reason that the employee must pay parking costs that are substantially more than those incurred by employees without disabilities working at the same facility and able to park at less expensive facilities further away, and the Commission believes that having employees with disabilities pay substantially more for parking than employees without disabilities could frustrate the hiring and retention of persons with disabilities or adversely impact upon the agency's operational efficiency, then the Commission may pay the difference if it so chooses.