The House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections recently held a hearing to examine the Department of Labor’s recent final rules from its Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) regarding federal contractors hiring of veterans and people with disabilities.
“With jurisdiction over so many employees and companies, the work OFCCP does to level the playing field has a ripple effect across the entire labor market and affects the lives of thousands of women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, protected Veterans, and their families,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu, in testimony before the subcommittee.
The new rules update requirements that certain federal contractors develop, maintain, and implement programs to ensure equal employment opportunities to qualified veterans and people with disabilities in compliance with their obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA). Shiu testified that OFCCP updated the regulations were outdated and did not reflect changes to federal law, like the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments of 2008.
The civil and human rights community supported the updated rules because they will ensure that contractors are not discriminating against veterans and people with disabilities in hiring. “Easter Seals stands ready to assist in the implementation of these rules by helping to connect federal contractors that have job openings with qualified veterans and individuals with disabilities who seek employment. Together, we can help to put veterans, who have served our nation, and people with disabilities, who represent a significant part of our society, in the best position to succeed,” said Brian Fitzgerald, president and CEO of Easter Seals New Jersey, in his testimony before the subcommittee.
The new rules precede a number of updated rules relating to equal opportunity and nondiscrimination requirements under federal law that the civil and human rights community is expecting OFCCP to release, including rules regarding the hiring of minorities and women.
The Leadership Conference supports OFCCP’s work to help contractors recruit, retain, and hire people with disabilities and veterans,” said Wade Henderson, President & CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, in his written testimony. “Many unemployed veterans and individuals with disabilities are ready, able, and willing to work. Employment opportunity increases access to economic security and independence. Furthermore, we strongly support additional efforts to encourage recruitment and training of women and minorities employed by federal contractors and efforts to prevent and enforce nondiscrimination based on sex or race.”