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New OutSolve Articles Reviewing OFCCP Webinars on Section 503 and VEVRAA

OutSolve

Article posted reviewing each of the webinars that OFCCP gave covering VEVRAA and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.

On September 3rd, 2013 OutSolve published new articles reviewing the webinars that OFCCP conducted on August 29th. In the webinars, OFCCP introduced the public to two new Final Rules covering Veterans and the Disabled that were published on August 27th. While the Final Rules have not yet been published in the Federal Register, OFCCP elected to release the information in advance. Industry experts are hailing the updated regulations as the most significant changes in almost 40 years.

Below is an introduction in addition to a link to the full article at the bottom.

Summary of VEVRAA Webinar. On August 29, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL")'s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs ("OFCCP") conducted a webinar introducing its new regulations promulgated under the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act ("VEVRAA"). These rules ("Final Rule," "Final VEVRAA Rule" or the "new regulations") can be found at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/VEVRAARule/.

The webinar was presented by Naomi Levin, OFCCP Policy Branch Chief, and two attorneys from the DOL's Office of the Solicitor: Suzan Chastain and Keir Bickerstaffe. The three presenters explained the key substantive changes in the VEVRAA regulations, and answered questions posed by the webinar attendees. Towards the end of the session OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu joined the webinar for a few minutes to comment on the regulations.

Some of the key statements made by the presenters were:

1) the benchmark required for veterans hiring is not a goal;

2) failing to meet the benchmark will not cause a finding of violation of the regulations;

3) failure by a contractor to create a benchmark for veterans will cause the OFCCP to find the contractor did not comply with the Final VEVRAA Rule;

4) the pre-offer self-invitation of veteran status which is part of the Final Rule does not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"); and

5) the effective date of the Final Rule, which will be 180 days from the date of the Rule's publication in the Federal Register (expected in a few weeks), will be phased in for a number of the key provisions.

Summary of Section 503. On August 30, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL")'s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs ("OFCCP") conducted a webinar introducing its new regulations promulgated under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ("Section 503"). These regulations ("Final Section 503 Rule," "Final Rule," or "the new regulations") can be found at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/503Rule/.

The webinar started with comments by OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu, and was conducted by Naomi Levin, OFCCP Policy Branch Chief, as well as and members of the DOL's Office of the Solicitor. The presenters explained the key substantive changes in the Final Section 503 Rule, and answered questions posed by the webinar attendees.

Some of the key statements made by the presenters regarding the Final Section 503 Rule were:

1) the Final Section 503 Rule establishes a nationwide 7% utilization goal for qualified individuals with disabilities (this goal will be applied to each job group except that employers with 100 or fewer employees will apply the goal to their entire workforce);

2) the failure by a contractor to meet a goal is not a violation and will not carry penalties, as the goal is not designed to be a "gotcha," but instead is a tool for analyzing and assessing workplace practices in an effort to achieve equal employment opportunity;

3) contractors, however, could be cited and penalized for not conducting the assessments required for this 7% goal process of the Final Rule or creating action-oriented program, to correct any identified problems;

4) the pre-offer, post-offer and survey of current employees to self-identify voluntarily as individuals with disabilities does not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), and must be asked in the exact format which the agency will soon post on its website; and

5) the effective date of the Final Section 503 Rule, which will be 180 days from the date of the Rule's publication in the Federal Register (expected to be by mid-September 2013), will be phased in for a number of the key provisions.

Link to the full articles can be found here:

http://www.affirmativeactioneducation.com/Articles.aspx

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