Today, Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, introduced the Equal Standards in Hiring Americans Act, which would require the Department of Labor (DOL) to abide by the same hiring regulations it is attempting to impose on federal contractors.
The DOL's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has issued a proposed rule that would be forced on federal contractors and subcontractors, and would effectively require seven percent of their workforces be comprised of people with disabilities. This rule would also apply to subcontractors, and failure to meet the requirement could result in the forfeiture of government contracts.
Regarding his legislation, Alexander said, "This proposed rule has created a wave of anxiety among those in the federal contracting community, many of whom are facing severe budget cuts and are struggling to retain current employees on their payrolls. Federal contractors are wondering how they will know if they are in compliance with the rule since it is against the law for them to ask if an employee is disabled; they are also unsure if they will be required to lay off non-disabled employees and replace them with people with disabilities in order to satisfy the rule's requirement.
"Remarkably, it does not appear that DOL is in compliance with the regulations it is attempting to impose on federal contractors.
"This legislation does not prevent DOL from implementing this rule; instead, it simply says that DOL cannot impose this rule on federal contractors unless it first certifies to Congress that each office and division within DOL is in compliance with the rule's requirements.
"I appreciate the Department of Labor's devotion to ensuring Americans with disabilities are sufficiently represented in the workplace. But when it comes to hiring, I believe our government needs to set the standard--not lead from behind. We should not be asking others to meet goals we ourselves our unwilling or unable to achieve."