RONEY, Circuit Judge:
Roger Treadwell brought this action under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S. C.A. §§ 791 and 794, alleging that the United States Army Corps of Engineers improperly denied him a position based on his physical handicap. The district court entered judgment for defendants. Plaintiff makes three assertions on appeal: first, the court erroneously excluded evidence regarding his ability to work which surfaced after the date on which the Office of Personnel Management authorized the Corps to pass over plaintiff for the job; second, the trial court failed to require the Corps to show that the physical criteria it relied on were job related; and third, the court erred in not requiring the Corps to show it could not make reasonable accommodations for plaintiff's handicap. We affirm.
Plaintiff is a retired Air Force colonel, rated by the Veteran's Administration as being 100 percent disabled. It based this rating primarily on two handicaps, a nervous condition and a heart condition. Because the pressures of military service precipitated his nervous condition, Treadwell was classified as a 10 point preference veteran with reinstatement eligibility for purposes of federal employment. This entitled him to preferred consideration with respect to any employment register upon which his name might appear. In February 1979 Treadwell had quadruple coronary bypass surgery and a pacemaker was implanted. Shortly thereafter he sought a job with the Corps of Engineers as a seasonal park technician at Clark's Hill Lake in South Carolina.
Without detailing all the evidence, we note that after numerous internal communications, medical examinations and reports, and discussions of the job's requirements, an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) medical officer approved the Corps' request to pass over Treadwell, citing his coronary bypass and use of a pacemaker. The Corps received the authorization May 21, and OPM notified Treadwell by a letter dated May 18, 1979.
Treadwell brought suit under §§ 501 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. 29 U.S.C.A. §§ 791 and 794. Section 501 imposes on federal agencies a duty to take affirmative steps to ensure that handicapped individuals have equal access to employment opportunities in the federal government.
This case starts with the undisputed fact that the defendants refused to hire Treadwell because of his physical condition, on the ground that the physical condition would prevent him from doing the job. Once a plaintiff shows an employer denied him employment because of physical condition, the burden of persuasion shifts to the federal employer to show that the criteria used are job related and that plaintiff could not safely and efficiently perform the essentials of the job. Prewitt v. United States Postal Service, 662 F.2d 292, 310 (5th Cir., Unit A. 1981).
Even though the district court granted the motion to exclude evidence after June 1, it apparently considered the evidence Treadwell argues supports his position. It found the opinions of the doctors who contacted the Corps after April 27 to be of uncertain value, however, because it appeared that none of them had ever examined Treadwell for this particular job or were even specifically aware of the nature of the position. Treadwell asserts that each of the exhibits refers to evidence of his medical condition as it existed prior to June 1, 1979, and properly takes the physical criteria into consideration. The letters themselves do not support this assertion. They cannot serve as a basis for overturning the district court's decision because they all relate to Treadwell's physical condition as it existed subsequent to the time the Corps passed him over. A finding of discrimination cannot be predicated on information the agency did not have before it at the time it made its decision.
Treadwell contends the district court did not require the Corps to show that the physical and environmental criteria were job related. Specifically, he asserts that neither the Corps nor the court enumerated precisely which duties he could not perform, failed to consider that the single activity consuming the vast majority of a park technician's time is fee collection, and overlooked the fact that 90 percent of the time on the job is spent traveling from campsite to campsite. The court's findings of fact, however, referred to Dr. Goodman's deposition testimony that he did not believe Treadwell could safely perform such duties as operating a motorboat alone, walking over rough terrain, or handling disorderly park visitors. The court's opinion concluded that the plaintiff could not physically perform other essential functions such as working alone. Thomas Lewis, the supervisor of park technicians, testified that each of the functional and environmental factors is essential to the position for which Treadwell applied at Clark's Hill Lake. Furthermore, the essential nature of a particular job function is not determined solely by the amount of time devoted to it. That a technician might be called upon to operate a motorboat alone only occasionally does not make that job function any less essential or make it unrelated to the job.
Finally, Treadwell argues that by using an improper standard to define the term "otherwise qualified individual," the district court failed to require the defendants to sufficiently show that reasonable accommodations either could not be made or would pose an undue hardship on the employer. See Prewitt v. United States Postal Service, 662 F.2d at 307-09.
The Supreme Court has held in a case decided under § 504 of the Act that an "otherwise qualified [handicapped] person is one who is able to meet all of a program's requirements in spite of his handicap." Southeastern Community College v. Davis, 442 U.S. 397, 406, 99 S.Ct. 2361, 2367, 60 L.Ed.2d 980 (1979). A plaintiff who could perform the essentials of the job if afforded reasonable accommodation would be entitled to relief. The necessity for providing reasonable accommodation is derived from
29 C.F.R. § 1613.704(c) (1982).
The district court concluded that it would have been necessary for the Corps to require other park technicians to perform many of plaintiff's duties had he been hired. Given that only two to four other workers are available at any given time to patrol the 150,000 acres at Clark's Hill Lake and in light of the agency's limited resources, the court concluded that such "doubling up" would impose an "undue hardship" on the defendants. The evidence supports the court's conclusions in this regard. Additionally, in determining whether Treadwell could perform the job, the Corps properly considered its previous experience with a technician who had undergone bypass surgery and who subsequently decided on his own to retire because the position was too arduous. Once the Corps presented credible evidence on the point, it was incumbent on plaintiff to rebut it with evidence concerning his individual capabilities and suggestions for possible accommodations. Nothing in the record suggests Treadwell met this evidentiary requirement or that the court's conclusions were clearly erroneous.
29 C.F.R. § 1613.704 (1982).