SHRM Submits Comments on Federal Contractor Regulations

Feb 21, 2012
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Society calls changes to affirmative action plans a burden without guarantee
of positive results for people with disabilities

Alexandria, Va., – Feb. 21, 2012 – The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) — although agreeing with the goal of hiring individuals with disabilities — calls a proposal by the Department of Labor to modify federal contractors’ affirmative action plans a burden that will increase costs but not guarantee expanded opportunities for people with disabilities.

In comments submitted today to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), SHRM strongly supported the goals of the proposed rules, including improving outreach to individuals with disabilities.

But, the Society said: “Measuring progress through onerous paperwork requirements and inherently unreliable data does not advance the OFCCP’s stated goals and, indeed, only detracts from federal contractors’ current efforts to provide meaningful employment opportunities and supportive environments for individuals with disabilities and other protected groups.”

The Department of Labor (DOL) proposal modifies affirmative action regulations under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The regulations apply to all federal contractors and subcontractors employing 50 or more employees and holding one or more federal contracts valued at $50,000 or more.

Representing almost 260,000 members — including human resource professionals employed by federal contractors — SHRM called the proposed DOL regulations “a departure from the agency’s traditional view that affirmative action plans should be a useful management tool.

“Replacing that flexibility with a checklist of very specific ‘gotcha’ items is not likely to encourage employment of individuals with disabilities and instead only will serve to undermine the underlying premise of Section 503 — which is that the capabilities of any individual with a disability be examined on a case-by-case basis and not be based on stereotypes or common misperceptions about a condition or impairment,” SHRM said.

SHRM submitted comments with the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources. The two organizations suggested recommendations that will allow the OFCCP to achieve its goals without unduly burdening federal contractors, and SHRM offered to work with the department to reach the goals.

SHRM’s comments are available at online.

Media: For more information, contact Kate Kennedy of SHRM Media Relations at 703-535-6260 or kate.kennedy@shrm.org.

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at www.shrm.org. Follow us on Twitter at: @SHRMPress

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