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U.S. Pushes Hiring the Disabled

March 1, 2012
Plain English Version

The U.S. Department of Labor wants to make companies having contracts with the federal government hire disabled workers. They say that 7 percent of a company’s work force has to be disabled.

Companies that do not meet that percentage may lose their government contracts.

About 200,000 companies with $700 billion in government contracts are affected by the proposed rules.

Companies say the rules means there are quotas for hiring. They say:

  • There will law suits
  • There might not be enough qualified workers
  • Federal law does not permit them to ask workers if they have a disability
  • They might have to fire non-disabled workers to meet the quota

Current federal law encourages companies to have a diverse work force.

Advocates for the disabled say:

  • Unemployment rates for the disabled are 50 percent higher than for others
  • Severely disabled workers are being overlooked by contractors
  • Accommodating the disabled in the work place is usually simple
  • Contractors would invite people to “voluntarily self-identify” as disabled.

Regulators are considering requiring that 2% of contractors’ work force be severely disabled workers, such as those with total deafness, blindness, or missing extremities. The federal government is making an effort for disabled people to find work, including injured war veterans.

The Wall Street Journal


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