Friday, January 20, 2012

Improving Job Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities - Part 4

Today we conclude this series on the Labor Department's proposed rules to enhance the requirements for contractors to take affirmative action to employ, advance in employment, and otherwise treat qualified individuals without discrimination on the basis of disability in all employment practices. Today we will discuss the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program's (OFCCP's) compliance evaluations and the sanctions and penalties available to it to  enforce the new regulations.

Under the proposed regulations, the OFCCP may conduct compliance evaluations to determine whether the contractor is taking affirmative action to employ individuals with disabilities. Compliance evaluations may consist of any one or any combination of the following investigative procedures.

1. Compliance review. A comprehensive analysis and evaluation of the firing and employment practices of the contractor, the written affirmative action program, and the results of the affirmative action efforts undertaken by the contractor.

2. Off-site review of records. An analysis and evaluation of the affirmative action program (or any part thereof) and supporting documentation, and other documents related to the contractor's personnel policies and employment actions that may be relevant to a determination of whether the contractor has complied with the requirements of section 503 and its regulations.

3. Compliance check. A determination of whether the contractor has maintained records consistent with the new regulations. OFCCP may request the documents be provided either on-site or off-site.

4. Focused review. A review restricted to one or more components of the contractor's organization or one or more aspects of the contractor's employment practices.

In addition, for contracts and subcontracts expected to exceed $10 million, the new regulations require the contracting officer to request a pre-award compliance evaluation. The pre-award evaluation would focus on the contractors policies, procedures, and practices. The OFCCP has only 30 days to perform the pre-award evaluation. After that, the awarding agency is allowed to proceed with the award.

The proposed regulations provide for penalties and sanctions for contractors that are not in compliant with the rules or for violations of the requirements as when someone files a complaint. There is a due process afforded contractors within the proposed regulations but assuming fault, there are a number of actions the Government may take against a contractor to enforce the rules. These are:

  • Withholding progress payment
  • Terminating the contract, and
  • Debarment from receiving future contracts for six months to three years.

If you wish to read the full text of the proposed regulation, click here. This link also provides information on how to submit comments, if you're so inclined.

No comments:

Post a Comment