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Suit Filed to Prevent Implementation of New Rehabilitation Act Regulations by DOL;

Submitted by Firm:
Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus, P.C.
Firm Contacts:
Abtin Mehdizadegan, J. Bruce Cross, Misty Wilson Borkowski
Article Type:
Legal Update
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Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), a national trade association representing 22,000 members from more than 19,000 construction and industry-related firms, has filed an injunction to prevent the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) from enforcing a regulation modifying affirmative action compliance responsibilities under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act (the Rule).

The ABCs of Injunctions

On November 19, 2013, ABC filed a request for an injunction in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the new revisions to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act regulations. The revisions, which would become effective on March 24, 2014, drastically alter affirmative action and nondiscrimination obligations of federal contractors with respect to individuals with disabilities. Depending upon the outcome of this request for injunctive relief, the effective date could be delayed or parts of the revisions may not take effect at all.

OFCCP's Rule makes numerous changes to existing procedures under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. ABC focused on three issues specifically. The Rule establishes a "utilization goal" of seven percent (7%), which requires contractors to make efforts to hire individuals with disabilities to comprise at least 7% of employees in each job group. Additionally, the Rule requires contractors to conduct an annual utilization analysis and assessment. Finally, contractors would also be required to invite applicants and employees to self-identify as individuals with disabilities. Previously, construction contractors were not required to maintain written availability and utilization documentation. Such paperwork and reporting provisions would be completely new to the construction industry, and ABC has argued that this fact was not taken into account in OFCCP cost estimates. Thus, ABC filed for injunctive relief.