U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Rules for Contractors Regarding the Employment of Veterans and People with Disabilities

By Rudman Winchell Attorney

By: Rudman Winchell Attorney Matthew Cobb

On August 27, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract
Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced two new rules that are intended to
improve hiring and employment of veterans and people with disabilities.
The rules are part of a broader effort to strength affirmative action
requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors. These rules
will become effective 180 days after they are published in the Federal
Register, which the Department of Labor has indicated will take place

One rule updates certain requirements of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment
Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA). The VEVRAA requires federal
contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative action to recruit, hire,
promote, and retain veterans. The new rule requires contractors to
adopt a hiring benchmark each year based on the national percentage of
veterans in the workforce, or their own benchmark based on the best available

Similarly, the second rule introduces new hiring goals under Section 503 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Rehabilitation Act prohibits federal
contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against individuals with
disabilities, and requires contractors to take affirmative action to recruit,
hire, promote, and retain these individuals. The new rule introduces a
hiring goal for contractors that 7% of each job group in their workforce be
qualified individuals with disabilities. Contractors will apply this 7%
utilization goal to each of their job groups or to their entire workforce if
the contractor has 100 or fewer employees. The new rule also requires
contractors to invite applicants to self-identify during the pre-offer and
post-offer phases of the application process, and to invite their employees
to self-identify every five years.

OFCCP will soon publish on its website appropriate language for contractors to use
to implement the new rules.


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