Earlier this year, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) announced that it will be placing an increased emphasis on disability inclusion in the workplace. In order to accomplish that goal, the agency said it will be conducting “focused reviews” of compliance with Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, which requires federal contractors to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain individuals with disabilities.
On November 8, the OFCCP announced that it will soon begin selecting federal contractors and subcontractors who will be subject to these focused reviews. Focused reviews will include site visits to contractors’ headquarters, interviews with managers, a comprehensive review of policies and practices, collection of certain data related to employees with disabilities, and a review of contractors’ handling of accommodation requests.
If your company is a federal contractor, it is likely a good time to review your compliance with the OFCCP’s disability affirmative action regulations. The regulations set forth benchmarks for the recruitment and hiring of disabled individuals and contain many requirements for contractors. For example, the regulations require contractors to invite employees to identify as disabled at least every five years. The revised regulations went into effect in 2014, so it may be time for your company to re-survey its employees.
OFCCP has published a “landing page” on its website containing information about its Section 503 focused reviews, in order to help federal contractors with this process. The page contains useful information on what to expect if your company is selected for a 503 focused review and best practices for compliance.