Business Q&A Article
April 9, 2014 (Originally published in Florida Today in April, 2014)
Federal Contract Employers
On March 24, 2014, a new rule went into effect to assist the Department of Labor (DOL) in determining if federal contractors are meeting DOL guidelines for hiring people with disabilities and veterans. Under the new rules, contractors are required to set hiring goals for veterans and disabled people, offer job applicants the opportunity to “self identify” their status, collect data on hiring decisions and maintain records required by the rule for three years.
Contractors doing business directly with the federal government are required to include the new requirements in subcontracts that exceed $10,000.00 for the disability rule and $100,000.00 for the veterans’ rule. While there was some concern during the development of the rules that requiring contractors to maintain records of job candidates who are veterans or have disabilities could violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the government has resolved that issue by making self-identification voluntary and providing a form employers may use.
While it will be several months before this rule is fully implemented, federal contractors at all levels need to begin implementation as soon as possible. You can obtain a copy of the form and get more information about the new rule from the OFCCP website.
In addition to the new rule, the President has also issued an Executive Order stating that federal contractors can not prohibit employees from discussing how much they are being paid. In the memorandum the President stated that:
“Ensuring that employees of Federal contractors may discuss their compensation without fear of adverse action will enhance the ability of Federal contractors and their employees to detect and remediate unlawful discriminatory practices, which will contribute to a more efficient market in Federal contracting.”
The Order directs the Secretary of Labor to propose regulations to implement the new requirements within 160 days of April 8, 2014, the date of the Order.
The President has also issued a “Presidential Memorandum” directing the Secretary of Labor to develop regulations that will require federal contractors to “…provide data to the DOL on compensation of employees including data by sex and race.” The Secretary of Labor has 120 days to publish a proposed rule to implement this policy. I expect that when published, the rule will also include a requirement to provide data on individuals with disability and veteran status.