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Employer Assistance & Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN): A service of The Viscardi Center.
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Affirmative Action Plans

An Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) should be created as a result of a contractor’s own internal analysis and audit of its workforce and personnel practices. Visit EARN's information pages on finalized regulations for federal contractors under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and The Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA).

Affirmative Action Plans are prepared with three principles in mind:

  1. The plan must be complete, reasonable, and acceptable.
    1. Completeness: The plan must be current and include all of the required elements.
    2. Reasonableness: The workforce analysis, utilization analysis, and goals must meet standards established by OFCCP.
    3. Acceptability: After completeness and reasonableness have been evaluated, the plan may then be determined to be acceptable. If any components of the AAP are missing or fail to meet standards, the OFCCP must issue a cause notice which indicates the plan is not acceptable; the contractor then has 30 days to respond to this notice.
  2. Contractor’s personnel policies and practices must not discriminate against any persons because of their race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, or covered veteran’s status.
  3. The plan must have results-oriented policies and procedures to which a contractor makes a commitment to apply good-faith efforts .


Successful Affirmative Action Plans for Employing People with Disabilities

OFCCP regulations require covered federal contractors and subcontractors to develop affirmative action plans that include the 10 major components outlined below. These are equally effective for employers voluntarily implementing affirmative action plans.

Employers should:

  1. Assign a company official to be responsible for the implementation of affirmative action activities.
  2. Prepare and post an equal opportunity policy statement on company websites and in job announcements, job descriptions, and other employment or marketing materials.
  3. Review personnel processes to ensure job applicants and employees with disabilities are considered for all job vacancies and training opportunities, and are not stereotyped in a manner which limits their access to all jobs for which they are qualified.
  4. Review all job qualification standards to ensure that they are job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.
  5. Make reasonable accommodations to the known functional limitations of otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities.
  6. Develop and implement procedures to ensure that employees with disabilities are not harassed because of disability.
  7. Undertake appropriate outreach and positive recruitment activities such as:
    1. Establishing formal arrangements with recruitment sources for applicant referrals.
    2. Participating in work-study programs with schools that specialize in training or educating individuals with disabilities.
    3. Including current employees with disabilities in promotional literature and career programs.
    4. Sending written notification of the company affirmative action policy to subcontractors, vendors and suppliers.
    5. Considering applicants with known disabilities for all available positions for which they may be qualified, not just for those to which they have applied.
  8. Train all personnel on issues of disability inclusion, diversity and workplace culture; especially those involved in recruitment, screening, selection, promotion, disciplinary action and related processes, to ensure that affirmative action steps are taken.
  9. Develop procedures to disseminate information about affirmative action policies within the company in order to ensure greater employee cooperation and participation.
  10. Design and implement an audit and reporting system to measure the effectiveness of the affirmative action program, and take action to remedy the situation if it is found to be deficient.

Other Resources

e-laws Advisor<>
The e-laws Advisors are interactive e-tools that provide easy-to-understand information about a number of Federal employment laws. Each Advisor simulates the interaction that you might have with an employment law expert. It asks questions and provides answers based on responses given.

Affirmative Action and People with Disabilities<>
This resource provides information on Affirmative Action (AA) and how it relates to the employment of people with disabilities including the ten components of a successful AA Plan.

Executive Order 11246 - Affirmative Action<>
This resource provides information from the Department of Labor on the Executive Order 11246 and the role of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. It also describes Affirmative Action (AA) outreach and requirements for Federal Contractors. Examples of AA programs, successes and additional resources are also provided for employers.

Office of Federal Contract Compliance<>
Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) ensures that contractors doing business with the Federal government take affirmative action and do not discriminate. The purpose of this agency is to enforce the contractual promise of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity required of those who do business with the Federal government.

Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) of 1974<>
This web site provides information on VEVRAA, which requires that employers with federal contracts or subcontracts of $100,000 or more provide equal opportunity and affirmative action for Vietnam era veterans, special disabled veterans, and veterans who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized.

Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 <>
This resource provides information on Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which requires affirmative action and prohibits employment discrimination by federal government contractors and subcontractors with contracts of more than $10,000.

Page last updated on Tuesday, January 21, 2014