ABC filed an appeal May 27 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging the U.S. District Court’s March 2014 ruling against ABC. At the District Court level ABC argued that an Aug. 27 rule from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), which drastically alters federal contractors’ existing affirmative action and nondiscrimination obligations for individuals with disabilities, exceeded the scope of the agency’s statutory authority, and altered longstanding precedent.
OFCCP’s new rule revises existing procedures under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act that require federal contractors and subcontractors to maintain affirmative action and nondiscrimination programs by drastically increasing the paperwork burdens without any supporting evidence from the agency that contractors weren’t previously meeting the requirements. The rule affects all industries, but is especially burdensome for construction contractors that will be required for the first time to maintain written documentation and track whether the percentage of protected employees meets affirmative action requirements for federal projects.
ABC and its members support nondiscriminatory practices toward individuals with disabilities on federal projects, and remain committed to placing these individuals in good jobs and careers in the construction industry; however, OFCCP’s rule does nothing to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Instead, the new burdens imposed by the rule mean many construction contractors, particularly small businesses, are likely to stop pursuing government construction projects.