Proposed rule would set goals for federal contractors to hire people with disabilities

The U.S. Department of Labor proposed a new rule to require federal contractors and subcontractors to set a hiring goal of having 7 percent of their workforces be people with disabilities, among other requirements. The proposed rule seeks to strengthen the affirmative action requirements established in Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 obligating federal contractors and subcontractors to ensure equal employment opportunities for qualified workers with disabilities.  Current rules require federal contractors to make a “good faith” effort to recruit and hire people with disabilities, but set no numeric hiring goal.  In contrast, the proposed rule sets a 7 percent hiring goal and details specific actions contractors must take in the areas of recruitment, training, record keeping, and policy dissemination — similar to those that have long been required to promote workplace equality for women and minorities.  Click here to read the proposed rule.