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ABC Asks Agency To Withdraw Rule Establishing Hiring Quotas

In an April 17 letter to a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee in response to its hearing, “Reviewing the Impact of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' (OFCCP) Regulatory and Enforcement Actions,” ABC reacted to a recent OFCCP proposed rulemaking that would set hiring quotas for federal contractors to employ workers with disabilities, in addition to requiring greatly increased recordkeeping and affirmative action steps.  

The December 2011 notice of proposed rulemaking by the OFCCP is intended to update existing requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The proposal attempts to accomplish this by mandating arbitrary quotas (referred to by the agency as “goals”) for hiring disabled workers by all contractors with a government contract or subcontract of $50,000 or more and 50 or more employees. In addition, the proposal requires construction contractors to conduct job group utilization analyses and file written reports for the first time. 

ABC cited several concerns about OFCCP’s proposal, including the agency’s failure to analyze or justify the impact of its proposal on the construction industry. The letter noted that OFCCP has not acknowledged or explained the inconsistencies between its proposal and the agency’s longstanding differentiation of the construction industry from other industries with regard to affirmative action requirements. ABC pointed out that the unique nature of the construction industry has long exempted it from the types of paperwork and data collection found in OFCCP’s proposal—but that all of those actions will be required if it is finalized.

ABC also expressed concern that OFCCP has failed to compile any meaningful evidence to indicate federal contractors currently fail to meet their affirmative action and nondiscrimination obligations toward the disabled community. In addition, the letter noted that OFCCP minimized the regulatory burdens the proposal would impose on contractors, particularly small businesses—more than 20,000 of which currently contract with the federal government.  

ABC previously conveyed its concerns directly to OFCCP in its Feb. 21 comments, and requested an immediate withdrawal of the proposal so the agency can reevaluate its approach. Notwithstanding its position on this particular proposal, ABC supports reasonable efforts by OFCCP to address employment discrimination against individuals with disabilities.       


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