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Barry McVay's FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH

DATE: October 12, 2000

FROM: Barry McVay, CPCM

SUBJECT: Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs; Affirmative Action and Nondiscrimination Obligations of Contractors and Subcontractors

SOURCE: Federal Register, October 12, 2000, Vol. 65, No. 198, page 60815

AGENCIES: Department of Labor (DOL), Employment Standards Administration (ESA), Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)

ACTION: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

SYNOPSIS: DOL is proposing to revise the regulations that implement Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("Section 503"). Section 503 requires those with federal contracts or subcontracts in excess of $10,000 to take affirmative action to employ and advance qualified individuals with disabilities. The proposed rule would conform the regulations implementing Section 503 to the compliance evaluation procedures contained in the regulations implementing Executive Order 11246 of September 28, 1965, Equal Employment Opportunity, and the affirmative action provisions of the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA).

EDITOR'S NOTE: OFCCP has published its Section 503 implementing regulations in Title 41 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Public Contracts and Property Administration; Chapter 60, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Equal Employment Opportunity, Department of Labor; Part 60-741, Affirmative Action and Nondiscrimination Obligations of Contractors and Subcontractors Regarding Individuals with Disabilities (41 CFR Part 60-741).

Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 22.14, Employment of the Handicapped, implements 41 CFR Part 60-741.

DATES: Submit comments no later than December 11, 2000.

ADDRESSES: Send comments to James I. Melvin, Director, Division of Policy, Planning and Program Development, OFCCP, Room C-3325, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20210, or by fax to 202-693-1304 (six pages or fewer).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: James I. Melvin, Director, Division of Policy, Planning and Program Development, OFCCP, Room C-3325, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20210, 202-693-0102, TDD/TTY: 202-693-1308.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: The last major revision of the Section 503 regulations was in 1996. At that time, the regulations implementing Section 503, Executive Order 11246 (41 CFR Part 60-1, Obligations of Contractors and Subcontractors), and VEVRAA (41 CFR Part 60-250, Affirmative Action and Nondiscrimination Obligations of Contractors and Subcontractors Regarding Special Disabled Veterans and Veterans of the Vietnam Era) all used "compliance reviews" as the primary method for evaluating compliance. A compliance review was a comprehensive evaluation of a contractor's employment practices and consisted of a desk audit, an on-site review and, if necessary, an off-site analysis.

Revisions to 41 CFR Part 60-1 in 1997 and 41 CFR Part 60-250 in 1998 authorized OFCCP to utilize a wider range of methods for evaluating compliance, specifically the off-site review of records, compliance check, and focused review. This proposed rule would amend 41 CFR Part 60-741 to authorize these addition methods as well, thus bringing the enforcement mechanisms for all the "affirmative action" regulations into conformance. With this change, OFCCP could use parallel procedures to simultaneously evaluate contractor compliance under all three sets of regulations.

The following two sections in 41 CFR Part 60-741 would be changed the most significantly by this proposed rule:

Also, this proposed rule would revise the definition of "compliance check" in 41 CFR Part 60-1 (paragraph (a)(3) of Section 60-1.20, Compliance Evaluations) and 41 CFR Part 60-250 (paragraph (a)(3) of Section 60-250.60, Compliance Evaluations) by removing the requirement that OFCCP visit a contractor's establishment during a compliance check. This change would allow OFCCP greater flexibility when using the compliance check method to assess a contractor's compliance status. With this change, OFCCP could permit a contractor to satisfy the requirements of the compliance check by supplying the required records and supporting information to an OFCCP office or other designated site.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barry McVay at 703-451-5953 or by e-mail to BarryMcVay@FedGovContracts.com.

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