• DOL Strengthens Rules for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors
  • September 10, 2013
  • Law Firm: Frantz Ward LLP - Cleveland Office
  • On August 27, 2013, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) of the U.S. Department of Labor announced important new rules regarding the employment of veterans and individuals with disabilities by federal contractors and subcontractors.  These rules update the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which require federal contractors to affirmatively recruit, hire, promote and retain qualified veterans and individuals with disabilities.

    The updates to VEVRAA require federal contractors to adopt, for the first time, an annual benchmark for recruiting and hiring protected veterans.  The benchmark is based upon the national percentage of veterans in the workforce, currently at 8%.  Similarly, the updates to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act require federal contractors to adopt a goal for recruiting and hiring qualified individuals with disabilities.  The new goal is based upon the 7% nationwide utilization goal that the OFCCP has set for qualified disabled persons.  Additionally, contractors must now conduct an annual utilization analysis and assessment related to the employment of individuals with disabilities and establish specific action-oriented programs to address any problem areas.

    Federal contractors and subcontractors must revise their affirmative action programs (AAP) accordingly.  Those that have an AAP in place as of the effective date of these rules (a date to be determined, but likely in 200 days or less) may maintain their AAP until the end of their program year and implement the required revisions to their AAP in their next program cycle.

    Among other things, the updates to VEVRAA and Section 503 also require contractors to:

    • Document and update annually several quantitative comparisons regarding the number of veterans and disabled persons who apply for jobs and who are hired for jobs;
    • Invite job applicants to self-identify as protected veterans or qualified disabled persons at both the pre-offer and post-offer stages of the application process;
    • Use specific language when incorporating an equal employment opportunity clause into a subcontract by including a reference that will alert subcontractors to their responsibilities as federal subcontractors; and
    • Allow the OFCCP access to review documents and information for compliance purposes.