The purpose of the law is to ensure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA guarantees this for people with disabilities in all aspects of everyday life — from employment opportunities, to being able to purchase goods and services, to participating in state and local governments’ programs and services.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a law that prohibits employment discrimination based on disability and requires affirmative action in the hiring, placement and advancement of people with disabilities by federal contractors or subcontractors.
On September 24, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published a Final Rule revising the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and set a “utilization goal” for people with disabilities as 7 percent of employees in each job category or 7 percent of the total workforce. These changes were implemented to help increase the employment of people with disabilities by companies that do business with the Federal Government.
Failure to meet the disability goal is not a violation of the regulations and will not lead to a fine, penalty or sanction. The regulations specifically provide that the disability goal is not to be used as a quota or a ceiling that limits or restricts the employment of individuals with disabilities. It further states that a contractor’s determination that it failed to meet the disability goal does not constitute either a finding or admission of discrimination in violation of the regulation.