EEOC Issues Regulations Explaining How Federal Agencies Should Serve As “Model Employers” For Disabled Featured

  10 January 2017

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published regulations explaining what federal agencies must do to comply with their legal obligation to engage in affirmative action in employment and otherwise serve as "model employers" for individuals with disabilities.

The regulations do not impose any obligations on private businesses or state and local governments. However, private employers may want to review the regulations for details on what the EEOC considers to be a “model employer” for disabled individuals. The EEOC has also published a question-and-answer document on the regulations. The final regulations reaffirm the federal government's commitment to being a model employer of people with disabilities.The rule consolidates existing requirements from a variety of sources, such as the existing requirements that federal agencies have written reasonable accommodation procedures and seek out qualified job applicants with disabilities. The regulations set goals for federal agency workforces of 12 percent representation for individuals with disabilities and 2 percent for individuals with "targeted" disabilities. Targeted disabilities are defined as disabilities that the government has, for several decades, emphasized in hiring because they pose the greatest barriers to employment, such as blindness, deafness, paralysis, convulsive disorders, and mental illnesses, among others. The goals apply at both higher and lower levels of federal employment. The regulations also require federal agencies to provide personal assistance services to employees who need them to perform basic human activities at work, such as eating and using the restroom. These services will allow individuals with significant disabilities to enjoy the opportunity and independence of paid employment, which may reduce the amount of taxpayer funds spent on public disability benefits. To give agencies sufficient time to come into compliance, the rule will become effective on January 3, 2018. EEOC also will provide agencies with training and technical assistance to support their compliance efforts. Read more here.