By Carla Fulton, SPHR
For employers that are either federal contractors or subcontractors the changes in the regulations focus on two areas:
- Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- Section 4212 of The Vietnam Era Veteran’s Readjustment Assistance Act (“VEVRAA”)
Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against individuals with disabilities in employment. This act also requires that federal contractors and subcontractors take definitive steps to ensure they are employing and advancing those individuals with disabilities.
VEVRAA prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against veterans, and these employers must take definitive steps to employ and advance veterans.
The effective date for these rulings was March 24, 2014.
Federal contractors and subcontractors are required to send labor organizations notice of the company’s commitment to take affirmative action. They also must post revised bulletin board notices.
If a contractor uses the intranet or internet for required employment related postings, the EEO tag line must be amended to include veteran and disability status. The contractor may also begin using the new voluntary self-identification form.
With the next AAP cycle after March 24, 2014, all parts of the plan must be updated to include Section 503 and VEVRAA requirements.
The new regulations will require additional changes as well:
- Employers will be required to update their job postings, employee notices, applicant notices and subcontractor notices.
- All employment advertisements now require the tag line for Veterans and individuals with disabilities. State agencies must be advised that you are a federal contractor; you must include “VEVRAA Federal Contractor” on all job postings. Also, you should request priority referrals for protected veterans.
- All notices for employees and applicants must be prominent and posted in such a manner that they are easily understood by individuals with disabilities.
- Subcontractor notices may incorporate the EO clause by reference. The subcontractor must still meet the annual obligation to send written notice of EO policy related to affirmative action efforts and requesting appropriate action to all subcontractors, vendors, and suppliers.
- The self-identification process is also impacted by these new regulations. For both Section 503 and VEVRAA, the self-identification process may be pre or post offer stage. Additionally, most employers will invite their workforce to self-identify for Section 503 the first year after the regulations are effective. Additionally, employers may ask their work force to self-identify for VEVRAA to ensure there is an accurate baseline in place.
- Best practice for both Section 503 and VEVRAA is to distribute the self-identification forms for disabilities and protected veteran status at the time the race/ethnicity/sex self-identification forms are distributed.
The best advice: know your obligations as a federal contractor or subcontractor.