If you are doing work on Stratcom in Omaha, or any federal project, you are obligated to comply with the new Office of Federal Compliance Programs’ (OFCCP) final rules, effective March 27, 2014. Under these new rules, contractors have additional obligations, including gathering data and setting hiring goals for individuals with disabilities and protected veterans.

Here are a few important aspects of the new rules:

Update the Equal Opportunity Clause: Contractors must include the following language, in bold, in their contracts:

This contractor and subcontractor shall abide by the requirements of 41 CFR §§ 60-1.4(a), 60-300.5(a) and 60-741.5(a). These regulations prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals based on their status as protected veterans or individuals with disabilities, and prohibit discrimination against all individuals based on their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Moreover, these regulations require that covered prime contractors and subcontractors take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, protected veteran status or disability.

Utilization Goals: The new rules require contractors to increase their outreach and recruitment of individuals with disabilities by 7% and set a hiring benchmark of 8% for protected veterans. In order to measure whether a contractor has met this goal, you will need to track your workforce and know how many current employees have disabilities or are protected veterans. Failing to meet this goal does not result in sanctions, but contractors will be required to show how they attempted to achieve these benchmarks through their recruitment and hiring practices.

Pre-Offer Invitation to Self-Identify: Contractors must now allow applicants to self-identify their disability and/or veteran status at the pre-offer stage. This is in addition to the already existing post-offer self-identification requirement. Contractors must use the Department of Labor’s self identification form.

These new rules do require an update of your Affirmative Action Plan and the way you track your hiring. If you have questions about the new rules, you can review the Q&A prepared by the Department of Labor on the Veterans rules  and Disability rules , or contact your attorney.