Speaking to employers during a June 6 affirmative action conference, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) Director Patricia Shiu announced the agency’s plan to launch a public service announcement (PSA) explaining to employees the disability affirmative action requirements imposed by the new regulations issued by OFCCP under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 503).
Under OFCCP’s September 2013 final rule implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, federal contractors must invite job applicants to self-identify as disabled, both pre- and post-offer. Contractors must also invite current employees to self-identify voluntarily as disabled every five years. OFCCP had anticipated that, by providing workers with multiple opportunities to self-identify, contractors would be in a position to track Section 503’s hiring benchmarks for individuals with disabilities. The federal contracting community, however, has expressed concern that these repeated inquiries may expose them to liability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or be met with fear or resistance on the part of workers. OFCCP hopes to assuage those concerns by explaining to workers through its PSA that such inquiries are being made by contractors to comply with federal affirmative action regulations.