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Posts tagged "government contractors".

The partial federal government shutdown appears likely to continue into a second week, with no agreement on funding for the Department of Homeland Security, State Department, Justice Department and Interior Department, among other federal departments and agencies. For a second time this year, government contractors face the challenge of complying with a complex set of federal and state employment laws, while their federal contract work and workers remain idle. This article briefly identifies some of the issues affecting government contractors during the shutdown and provides guidance on how to navigate the issues.

On March 24, 2014, the final rule published by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to undertake affirmative action for individuals with disabilities will take effect.

The final rule makes changes to the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against individuals with disabilities (IWDs). It also requires these employers to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these individuals. In addition, the final rule makes changes to the nondiscrimination provisions of the regulations to bring them into compliance with the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).

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On January 29, the Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) issued Directive 306, which encourages federal contractors and subcontractors not to ask about criminal convictions on job applications. According to OFCCP, such questions can result in individuals being treated differently because of their race, national origin, sex, or other protected characteristics.

OFCCP issued the directive to address its concern that hiring policies and practices that exclude employees and potential employees with criminal records violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”). In support of its statement, OFCCP cites a study which found that one in three adults has a criminal history record. Of those adults, a high percentage were Hispanic and African-American. Based on the study, OFCCP reasons that employers who have a blanket policy of not hiring individuals with criminal convictions will exclude a greater number of Hispanic and African-American individuals resulting in “disparate impact” on these individuals, which would likely be in violation of Title VII. Thus, because of the impact, OFCCP recommends that employers “refrain from asking about convictions on job applications."