Thursday, December 08, 2011

Proposed Department of Labor Rules for Disability-Based Affirmative Action by Federal Contractors

Tomorrow's Federal Register will contain a notice of proposed rulemaking from the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs regarding the obligations of federal contractors to avoid discrimination against, and provide affirmative action to, workers with disabilities.  The law requiring affirmative action in this context has been on the books since 1973, but it has basically served as an antidiscrimination requirement like the ADA.  The proposed rules would give real meaning to the affirmative action obligation in this context for the first time.  Notably, they include a 7 percent nationwide "utilization goal" of people with disabilities, covering federal contractors with 50 or more employees and a federal contract of at least $50,000.  Failure to meet the goal would not constitute a violation of the law, but it would trigger certain procedural obligations.  The notice provides for a 60-day public comment period.

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