Today marks the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and this year’s theme is “Celebrate, Learn, Share.” The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) advances the inclusion of individuals with disabilities by federal contractors in all aspects of employment, including in hiring and promotions.
OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 503), which prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against individuals with disabilities in jobs and requires employers take affirmative action steps to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these individuals. OFCCP provides federal contractors with technical assistance and guidance on their anti-discrimination and affirmative action obligations under the law and in meeting or exceeding the nationwide goal for ensuring at least seven percent of their workforce comprises persons with disabilities.
In addition to evaluating federal contractors’ compliance with Section 503 during its compliance evaluations, OFCCP investigates complaints of disability discrimination and allegations of violations of federal contractors’ affirmative action obligations under Section 503. Complaints filed with OFCCP under Section 503 often fall within the jurisdiction of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under Title I of the ADA. These discrimination complaints are considered dual-filed, and OFCCP acts as EEOC’s agent when receiving, investigating, and processing these complaints. In FY 21, OFCCP received over 350 complaints based on disability and 260 complaints in the first half of FY 22.
In January 2022, OFCCP launched the Hiring Initiative to Reimagine Equity (HIRE) with the EEOC to advance equal employment opportunities and help provide access to good jobs for workers. HIRE is a multi-year collaborative effort that has been engaging a broad array of stakeholders to expand access to good jobs and address key hiring and recruiting challenges. HIRE will identify strategies to remove hiring barriers for workers no matter their race, color, ethnicity, gender, LGBTQ+ status, religion, disability, age, or veteran status.
Learn more about the rights of individuals with disabilities that OFCCP protects and other resources that help promote disability inclusion in the workplace.
The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) provides a free resource that educates employers seeking to recruit, hire, retain, and advance qualified employees with disabilities. EARN provides companies with some of the following resources on accommodations and more:
- How to Increase Disability Inclusion with Centralized Accommodation Programs
- A Checklist for Employers to Facilitate Hiring of People with Disabilities through eRecruiting
- Recruitment and Hiring of Qualified Individuals with Disabilities – There are several resources available to help you meet your recruitment goals of qualified individuals with disabilities and protected veterans.
- Reasonable Accommodations Pocket Card – This pocket card assists applicants, employees, and other interested parties in understanding the process for requesting a reasonable accommodation.
- Disability Rights Facts Sheet – This fact sheet provides information on employee and applicant rights as an individual with a disability. It addresses multiple areas including the definition of a disability, the protections OFCCP enforces, and reasonable accommodations. It also provides information on how to file a complaint related to discrimination in hiring, firing, pay, benefits, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, job training, recruitment, or other personnel activities because of disability.
- Disability Inclusion Starts With You – As part of OFCCP’s ongoing efforts to support greater self-identification by individuals with disabilities, we created this video to explain the benefits of voluntary self-identification. Contractors may wish to download and post this video on their Intranet or company website to share with their employees and job applicants who may be reluctant to self-identify, or who may not understand why they are being asked to self-identify.
- Section 503 Best Practices – As a part of OFCCP’s ongoing efforts to support federal contractor compliance with the Section 503, the agency provides a list of best practices and frequently asked questions on their Section 503 obligations.