Disclosing a disability when in the midst of a job search is a complex decision. While some disabilities are clearly visible, others are not. Although the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against prospective job applicants with a disability, statistics show that the percentage of disabled people who are unemployed in spite of the law, has not decreased significantly. The revisions to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, that went into effect March 24, 2014, holds federal contractors accountable for 7% utilization goal for candidates with disabilities. This is a lofty goal federal contractor will need to aspire to. This should give candidates with disabilities enormous confidence about increased job opportunities in the near and distant future. Another component of the new regulations is that employers will need to ask candidates to voluntarily disclose their disabilities by using an OFCCP approved form. Here are some things to consider if you have decided to disclose your disability:
Research the company to assess their attitude towards those with disabilities. Do they hire a lot of people who are disabled? Do they promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace? Can you find someone within the company that can provide insight into their work culture?
Take a close look at the job requirements and determine if your disability impedes in any way your ability to do the job. If you will not be able to lift heavy materials, for instance, and this was listed as one of the job requirements, you should disclose this during the interview.
Discuss if you need any special accommodations. For instance, if your disability concerns your vision, you may want to ask if you will be able to obtain the use of a specific computer monitor. If you need to take periodic breaks, you may want to discuss if this is an option during the interview or early on with your manager.
Determine how many details of your disability you want to disclose. You may have a disability that is not clearly visible. Since you have decided to disclose, you may only need to outline certain limitations you may have, but do not need to get into details such as the medications you take.
Prepare what you want to say in advance. Be prepared for the questions that you may be asked, such as why are there are gaps in your work history, and be ready to answer them.
Focus on your abilities. Even though you have chosen to disclose your disability, it is still best to minimize this part of the discussion and highlight your ability to do the job. You want to divert attention away from disability and toward your skills and experience.
Visit our Disability Exchange for more information on disability laws, career advice and tools.
Last week, a major security threat named “Heartbleed” was in the news. This is related to a bug in the encryption technology used on the Internet for usernames, passwords, and emails.
We want to let you know that account information remains secure and America’s Job Exchange sites were unaffected by this bug.
At America’s Job Exchange, the security of the site is a top priority. The servers our sites run on are hosted in a SSAE-16 certified data center where access to the servers is very restricted. The facility provides redundant power and high-speed connectivity. Additionally, the servers are monitored 24×7 for hardware and system issues, as well as, security intrusions. All of this to provide our seekers and employers access to the data they need, when they need it.
While the America’s Job Exchange sites were not impacted by this bug, it’s a good opportunity to review some good general practices around passwords:
Don’t use the same password for all of your accounts.
Choose a good password that will be hard to crack.
Change your password with some frequency.
If using a shared account, change the password when someone leaves the company.
In 1963, President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, when women were being paid 59 cents for every dollar paid to men, making it illegal for employers to pay lower wages to women doing substantially the same work as their male counterparts. Following year, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted, making it illegal to discriminate, including in compensation, on the basis of sex, race, color, religion and national origin. In 2009, President Obama signed the Lilly Led better Fair Pay Act as a concrete step to bridge the equal pay gap. Obama also increased the OFCCP’s budget by 10% and the Equal Opportunity Commission’s budget by 5% as well as continuing to support The Paycheck Fairness Act, which he cosponsored in the Senate.
But even today, 50 years after the Equal Pay Act became a law, women are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men. Lacking congressional support to raise wages to end gender pay disparities, President Obama is imposing his policies on federal contractors. He will sign an executive order Tuesday, barring federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their pay with each other. The order is similar to language in a Senate bill aimed at closing a pay gap between men and women. Continue reading →
On March 26, 2014, The Association of Employment Professionals (AOEP), held a forum to discuss the impact of the new OFCCP regulations (revising VEVRAA and Section 503), on federal contractors. March 24, 2014 was the D-Day for the regulations to go into effect. These regulations have revised the requirements for employers that receive federal contracts so as to increase employment opportunities for veterans and candidates with disabilities. The frenzy to get things just right in the event of an audit has federal contractors seek out information and guidance on the revisions around VEVRAA and Section 503 from many sources. This event in Waltham was well attended by many employers and federal contractors and there were discussions and lively q&a sessions after each speaker’s presentation.
The OFCCP recently published regulations that significantly impact the affirmative action requirements for qualified individuals with disabilities (IWDs), (Section 503), and protected veterans (VEVRAA). The regulations apply to covered federal contractors and sub-contractors and have become effective today!
What do you need to know today to speed up your compliance efforts?
• Collect and maintain more data relating to hiring and employment of underprivileged groups
• There is 7% utilization goal for candidates with disabilities
• Establish a hiring goal for veterans. The recommendation is to have a goal that equals the percentage of veterans in the civilian workforce now (8%)
• Have contact information of hiring official as well as identify in job listings the employer to be a federal contractor-for example, “VEVRAA Federal Contractor.”
• Have EEO clause and language attached to all job postings
• Increase quality and level of outreach efforts so as to increase the candidate and employee pool for veterans and people with disabilities
• Maintain records of the number of IWDs that apply for jobs vs. those that are hired in order to measure effectiveness of outreach efforts
• Evaluate the effectiveness of your outreach to understand gaps and maintain detailed records of such efforts
• Post jobs in a format approved by the appropriate ESDS
• Maintain records for 3 years
Some changes are due immediately for covered contractors. A significant portion of the new revisions can be “phased in” from now and the next time the contractor’s AAP is scheduled to be updated. For instance, if a contractor has set its AAP year to correspond with the calendar year, then many of the new requirements need not be implemented till January 1, 2015.
Other new requirements need to be implemented as of March 24, 2014 regardless of contractor’s AAP year date. These include required changes to EEO tagline on job postings, listing jobs with State Employment Delivery Systems and so forth.
For updated information visit OFCCP. Guidance in the form of FAQs and downloadable webinar links can be found here.
What needs to be done to comply with the new regulations?
The 2013 final VEVRAA rule, which takes effect March 24, 2014, requires that contractors advise the Employment Service Delivery System (ESDS) in each state where it has establishments that:
(1) It is a federal contractor, and
(2) It desires priority referrals from the state of protected veterans for job openings at all locations within the state.
The regulations also require the contractor to provide the ESDS with the name and location of each hiring location within the state and the contact information for the official responsible for hiring at each location.
Good faith efforts like Affirmative Action efforts need to be expanded to increase the pool of qualified candidates. Outreach has to be external (to reach the wider labor market), and internal (immediate workforce). Proof of outreach must be meticulously maintained. Good faith efforts also encompass training and promotion of the internal workforce. Results of good faith efforts also need to be documented. Continue reading →