Federal Contractor Section 503 Requirements
Broadly speaking, Contractor companies are expected to make significant efforts to employ at least seven percent (7%) of the total number of employees in each of their job groups with Individuals with Disability (IWD), to increase, track and report on outreach efforts to community partners, and to conduct analysis and make revisions to their outreach efforts if those efforts did not result in an increase in the number of IWD hired. Contractors must provide the opportunity for voluntary Self Identification as an IWD at the pre-offer, post-offer and for the entire workforce. They must also conduct disability-related training to educate their recruiters, managers and staff regarding the company’s position, expectations and facts about hiring and employing IWD.
While most contractors are working to ramp up their compliance policies and practices, many do not have in-house expertise to address them. C5 is a strategic and highly responsive resource to support clients.
Federal Contractor and Employer Compliance with Federal Laws: Disability Discrimination.
Disability discrimination occurs when an employer or other entity covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, or the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, treats a qualified individual with a disability who is an employee or applicant unfavorably because of a disability.
Title I of the ADA prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The ADA was amended on September 25, 2008, to clarify and reiterate who is covered by the law. The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) made significant changes to the ADA’s definition of “disability” that broadens the scope of coverage under both the ADA and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Covers all employers with more than 15 employees. Federal employees and applicants are covered by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, instead of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The protections are mostly the same. Here are some highlights.
The Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP)
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), protects workers, promotes diversity and enforces the law. OFCCP holds those who do business with the federal government (contractors and subcontractors) responsible for complying with the legal requirement to take affirmative action and not discriminate on the basis of disability, or status as a protected veteran.
OFCCP shares ADA enforcement authority with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC.gov)
The Commission is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee including because of disability. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by EEOC laws. Most labor unions and employment agencies are also covered.
The laws apply to all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.
The law requires an employer to provide Reasonable Accommodation to an employee or job applicant with a disability, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer (“undue hardship”).
It is illegal to harass an applicant or employee because of a disability, had a disability in the past, or is believed to have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory (lasting or expected to last six months or less) and minor (even if he does not have such an impairment).
Having a History of Disability
Disability discrimination also occurs when a covered employer or other entity treats an applicant or employee less favorably because she has a history of a disability (such as cancer that is controlled or in remission) or because she is believed to have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory (lasting or expected to last six months or less) and minor (even if she does not have such an impairment).