Initial Impact of Section 503 Rules: Identifying Effective Employer Practices and Trends in Disability Violations among Federal Contractors

In March 2014, regulations went into effect related to the implementation of Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 503), setting new requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors related to non-discrimination and affirmative action in the employment of qualified individuals with disabilities. For example, contractors now are required to offer applicants and employees the opportunity to self-identify as a person with a disability and further to use the data collected to understand their progress toward a 7% utilization goal for employment of individuals with disabilities1.

The overall goal of this project is to understand the initial impact of these regulations on employer practices and consequently on the employment environment for individuals with disabilities. The study uses both existing administrative and survey data to achieve three supporting objectives: 1) understand the characteristics of firms with and without evidence of a disability violation under EEO laws; 2) examine the initial impact of changes to Section 503 regulations on the observed patterns of employers with disability violations; 3) build an understanding of effective practice and policy as contractors have initially responded to Section 503 regulations.

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Funding is provided by the United States Department of Labor under cooperative agreement number IL‐EO-30273-17-60-5-36. This material does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the United States Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the United States Government. 100% percentage of the total costs of the project or program is financed with Federal funds, for a total of 249,999 dollars.

1. See for more description.