By Kelline R. Linton,
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) recently issued Final Rules that changed regulations under both the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (“VEVRAA”) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act (“Section 503”). These Final Rules became effective on March 24, 2014. These changes were designed to update and strengthen federal contractors’ affirmative action and nondiscrimination responsibilities towards covered veterans and disabled individuals.
Some of the biggest changes to VEVRAA require federal contractors to:
1. Establish annual hiring benchmarks for protected veterans;
2. Collect data and document comparisons between the number of veterans who apply for employment and the number of veterans they hire;
3. Invite applicants to self-identify as covered veterans at both the pre-offer and post-offer phases of the employment application process; and
4. Allow OFCCP to review documentation related to a compliance check or focused review, at OFCCP’s request.
Some of the biggest changes to Section 503 require federal contractors to:
1. Apply a 7% utilization goal for qualified individuals with disabilities to their entire workforce if the contractor has 100 or fewer employees;
2. Invite applicants to self-identify as protected individuals with disabilities at both the pre-offer and post-offer phases of the employment application process, as well as every five years; and
3. Allow OFCCP to review documentation related to a compliance check or focused review, at OFCCP’s request.
A detailed account of the OFCCP Final Rules may be found at: http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/section503.htm.
Bottom Line: Federal contractors with an Affirmative Action Program (“AAP) already in place as of March 24, 2014, may maintain that AAP until the end of the AAP year. However, all federal contractors should review the new Final Rules to ensure timely compliance. We are available if you have any questions about the recent changes or necessary steps to take to become compliant.