The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) in late September 2013 published a Final Rule that makes changes to the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 503) at 41 C.F.R. Part 60-741. Section 503 prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against individuals with disabilities, and requires them to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these individuals. The new Section 503 regulations became effective on March 24, 2014, except for certain contractors with a written affirmative action program (AAP) in place. Recently, the OFCCP posted a checklist tool designed to assist contractors to assess their compliance with the Section 503 AAP requirements. OFCCP cautions that using the checklist does not ensure compliance, however, it should help contractors to enhance their awareness of their AAP obligations and alert them to potential compliance problems.
The Section 503 regulations set forth the standards for compliance with Section 503 of the Act, as amended 29 U.S.C. § 793, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities and requires certain government contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities. They apply to all government contracts and subcontracts in excess of $15,000 for the purchase, sale or use of personal property or non-personal services (including construction, but not federally assisted construction), and the requirements of Subpart C pertaining to written AAP requirements apply to every government contractor that has 50 or more employees and a federal contract of $50,000 or more.