Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Department of Labor Trying to Improve Job Opps for People with Disabilities

On December 9, 2011, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs proposed revisions to the regulations implementing the non-discrimination and affirmative action regulations of section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

This change introduces a goal that at least 7 percent of workers employed by most federal contractors be individuals with disabilities.

"This proposed rule represents one of the most significant advances in protecting the civil rights of workers with disabilities since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "President Obama has demonstrated a commitment to people with disabilities. This proposed rule would help federal contractors better fulfill their legal responsibility to hire qualified workers with disabilities."

Establishing a 7 percent hiring goal for the employment of individuals with disabilities would be a tool for contractors to measure the effectiveness of their affirmative action efforts and thereby inform their decision-making. The proposed rule also would enhance data collection and record-keeping requirements — including for documentation and processing of requests for reasonable accommodation — in order to improve accountability. Additionally, it would ensure annual self-reviews of employers' recruitment and outreach efforts, and add a new requirement for contractors to list job openings to increase their pools of qualified applicants.

"For nearly 40 years, the rules have said that contractors simply need to make a 'good faith' effort to recruit and hire people with disabilities. Clearly, that's not working," said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. "Our proposal would define specific goals, require real accountability and provide the clearest possible guidance for employers seeking to comply with the law. What gets measured gets done. And we're in the business of getting things done."

For a complete look at the revisions visit the federal register here. Comments on the revision will be accepted until Tuesday, February 7th.

You can submit comments identified by RIN number 1250-AA02, by any of the following methods:
  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Fax comments to: (202) 693-1304 (for comments of six pages or less) or
  • Mail comments to Debra A. Carr, Director, Division of Policy, Planning, and Program Development, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Room C-3325, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210.

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