The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) has announced the issuance of two Final Rules making changes to the regulations implementing the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (“VEVRAA”) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act (“Section 503”).
VEVRAA prohibits discrimination against protected veterans by federal contractors and subcontractors and requires them to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote and retain such veterans. Similarly, Section 503 prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by federal contractors and subcontractors and requires them to take affirmative action in recruitment, hiring, promotion and retention.
The Final Rules, to be effective 180 days after publication in the Federal Register, contains several significant changes to prior regulations:
- Contractors will be required to establish annual hiring benchmarks for protected veterans based on either the national percentage of veterans in the labor force or data derived from the contractor’s own unique hiring circumstances.
- Establishment of a nationwide seven percent (7%) utilization goal for qualified individuals with a disability for each job group, or for the entire company if it has 100 or fewer employees.
- Contractors will be required to document and update annually veterans and individuals with disabilities applications and hires, and retain this data for three (3) years.
- Applicants must be invited to self-identify themselves as protected veterans or individuals with disabilities at both the pre-offer and post-offer phases of the application process.
- Contractors will be required to use specific language when incorporating the equal opportunity clause into a subcontract by reference.
- When listing jobs with the appropriate State or local job service, contractors must provide certain information in the manner and format required to make the job listing available to job seekers.
Contractors with an affirmative action plan already in place will have additional time to comply with the OFCCP’s Final Rules.
Understanding the impact of these Final Rules is important for companies which contract with the federal government and fall within the jurisdiction of the OFCCP. St. Louis employment law attorneys can be of to you in navigating through these compliance obligations.