EEOC accepting input on how the federal government can be “model employer”

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Feds seek public input

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is accepting public comments until Monday, July 14 regarding the federal government’s obligations for hiring people with disabilities.

Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that the federal government shall be a “model employer of individuals with disabilities.” In addition, these regulations state that the federal government shall “give full consideration to the hiring, placement, and advancement of qualified individuals with disabilities.”

In an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making, published in the Federal Register on May 12, the EEOC announced that it is planning to revise these regulations to create a “a more detailed explanation” of the federal government’s obligations.

To assist with the process of drafting the revised regulations, the EEOC is accepting comments from “federal agencies, individuals, employers, advocacy groups, agency stakeholders, and other interested parties,” according to an EEOC news release.

To help guide the process, the Notice contains a list of questions, regarding topics ranging from the barriers faced by people with disabilities in the federal hiring process, the federal government’s hiring goals, to the consequences for failing to meet these goals, and others.

As of fiscal year 2012, the most recent year for which statistics are available, people with disabilities represented an estimated 11.89 percent of the federal workforce.

In 2010, President Obama issued an executive order, requiring the federal government to hire 100,000 new employees with disabilities by 2015. Although the federal government made progress in its hiring efforts in FY 2012, it is not expected to meet this goal.

The announcement comes a little more than a month after the Obama Administration’s new disability hiring regulations for federal contractors and subcontractors went into effect.

Read more information on how to submit public comments.