Published Date: 10/27/2014
By George Ports
US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chair Jenny Yang recently spoke at a White House event celebrating “Champions of Change” who are doing extraordinary work to hire, retain and promote people with disabilities in their local communities and throughout the nation. The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals who are nominated by their communities for making a difference on a particular issue.
As part of the initiative’s efforts, the EEOC issued an updated version of its brochure, “The ABCs of Schedule A for Applicants with Disabilities.” As the nation’s largest employer, according to Chair Yang, the federal government is committed to being a model employer for people with disabilities. The Schedule A hiring authority for people with disabilities [5 CFR § 213.3102(u)] is a vehicle for federal agencies to streamline the hiring process for qualified individuals with intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities and psychiatric disabilities. The EEOC has committed to updating the remaining four Schedule A brochures by July 2015 in time for the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
In addition, the EEOC is in the process of updating its regulations to enforce the federal government’s obligation to be a model employer of individuals with disabilities pursuant to Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act. The EEOC issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking this past May and plans to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking early in 2015.
The EEOC enforces Title I of the ADA and Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which makes it illegal for employers in the private, public and federal sectors to discriminate against qualified job applicants and employees based on their physical or mental disabilities. These laws also require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to job applicants and employees who need them because of their disabilities, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.
For more information about the EEOC, its initiatives and the laws it enforces, go to www.eeoc.gov.