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Archive for February, 2015

LGBT Resources for Federal Contractors (February 10, 2015)

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

OFCCP continues to conduct outreach to contractors and other stakeholders following the publication of the Final Rule implementing Executive Order 13672. During previous outreach meetings, several contractors asked for assistance locating community and other resources to assist them with understanding how to treat employees and job applicants without regard to their sexual orientation and gender identity. To meet this stated need, OFCCP has created a non-exhaustive directory of organizations and other entities that offer resources and guidance to employers around issues related to creating an inclusive workplace for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees.

The directory includes information from both the public and private sectors and will be updated periodically. While guidance developed by federal agencies for public sector use may not have direct applicability to private sector employers, some employers may still find it informative.

You can locate the new directory on the OFCCP Web site at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/LGBT/LGBT_resources.html.

EEOC Joins Federal Partners to Produce Resource Guide for Employers (February 5, 2015)

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

Guide Creates Central Repository of User-Friendly Information and Resources to Increase Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities

WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, Feb. 3, at a Summit on Disability and Employment, the White House announced a new guide for employers that compiles key federal and federally funded resources related to the employment of people with disabilities. The resource guide, Recruiting, Hiring, Retaining, and Promoting People with Disabilities, provides employers with plain language technical assistance tools in an easy-to-use question-and-answer format. The guide was produced by the Curb Cuts to the Middle Class Initiative — a federal interagency effort working to increase equal employment opportunities and financial independence for people with disabilities.

The goal of the Curb Cuts to the Middle Class Initiative is to coordinate and leverage existing resources across the federal government. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Office of EEOC Commissioner Chai R. Feldblum has played a leadership role in the Curb Cuts Initiative.

As Commissioner Chai Feldblum explained, “We have heard time and time again that employers do not want to visit ten government websites to access the information they need. This resource guide is an example of federal agencies coming together to respond to the needs of employers by creating a central repository of user-friendly information and resources. I am proud of the integral role the EEOC played in putting this resource guide together.”

“This resource guide underscores the EEOC’s commitment to conduct proactive outreach and education to help businesses strengthen efforts to recruit, hire, retain, and promote people with disabilities,” said EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. For more information, go to www.eeoc.gov.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (February 7, 2015)

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

White House Summit Focuses on Disability Inclusion

On February 3, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez was at the White House Summit on Disability and Employment, where she spoke as part of a panel on exemplary workplace practices. Additional panels at the event addressed strategies for preparing the next generation of workers with disabilities and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act’s disability-related provisions. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez delivered the Summit’s keynote. Attendees received the new Resource Guide for Employers on Recruiting, Hiring, Retaining, and Promoting People with Disabilities.

Department of Transportation Civil Rights Symposium Features Assistant Secretary Martinez

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez was a featured speaker at the February 3 Civil Rights Symposium hosted by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Martinez discussed the critical role transportation plays in the employment of people with disabilities, as well as her collaborative experiences working on civil rights transportation issues. “Getting the best job, or being in the best employment program, means little if there is no reliable means of getting to work.” said Martinez. The three-day online symposium drew more than 1,000 representatives from federal and state transportation agencies, as well as transportation providers and metropolitan planning organizations.

Assistant Secretary Martinez Wins Braille Award

At an awards ceremony on January 30 in Philadelphia, Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ASB) presented a prestigious Louis Braille Award to Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez. Sponsored annually by ASB since 1959, the Louis Braille Awards honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions on behalf of individuals who are blind or visually impaired. In presenting Martinez with her award, ASB lauded Martinez for her years of efforts to promote policies that enhance employment opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired.

ODEP Participates in 4th Conference on Employment of People with Disabilities

The 4th Conference on Employment of People with Disabilities was convened on January 29 by Georgetown University in partnership with the National Business & Disability Council at The Viscardi Center, and hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The conference, which was themed “Wounded Warriors – Employing Vets with Disabilities,” focused on the importance of hiring individuals with disabilities and more specifically, what can be done to improve the hiring and retention of Veterans with disabilities returning to civilian life. Jennifer Sheehy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), served on a panel focused on how the recent Section 503 federal contracting regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs could impact Veterans with disabilities seeking gainful employment. Also highlighted at the event was ODEP’s National Employer Policy, Research and Technical Assistance Center on the Employment of People with Disabilities (Employer TA Center). Attendees learned about some of the Employer TA Center’s resources and tools for employers seeking to recruit, hire, retain and promote qualified individuals with disabilities, including the Employer Assistance & Resource Network (EARN).

Funding Available for Social Security Administration WIPA Grants

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced a funding opportunity for cooperative agreements for Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA) projects. WIPA projects are community-based organizations that provide counseling and support to disabled beneficiaries of the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. A key purpose of these projects is to disseminate accurate information to beneficiaries with disabilities, including transition-to-work aged youth, about work incentives programs and issues related to such programs, to enable them to make informed choices about working and whether or when to assign their Ticket to Work, as well as how available work incentives can facilitate their transition into the workforce. WIPA cooperative agreement awardees will provide services across the country through July 31, 2020, pending availability of funds over a five-year period of performance. Deadline for applications is March 30, 2015.

LEAD Center Releases Policy Update — Employment, Health Care and Disability

The LEAD Center’s Policy Update – Employment, Health Care and Disability provides policymakers, disability service professionals, individuals with disabilities and their families with information about relevant policy developments regarding Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and related topics, with a focus on improving employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. The latest update features stories on the members of the U.S. Department of Labor’s new WIOA Advisory Committee, an American Institutes for Research congressional briefing, the introduction of the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act (H.R.188), a proposed Virginia Medicaid budget that would cap hours of home care workers and much more.

EARN Newsletter Released

The latest issue of the Employer Assistance and Resource Network’s (EARN) newsletter features information about two recent disability employment-focused events, the National Organization on Disability’s Disability Employment Tracker initiative, and several upcoming webinars that may be of interest to employers. This week’s Employer Spotlight is Ernst & Young. EARN is a service of the National Employer Policy, Research and Technical Assistance Center for Employers on the Employment of People with Disabilities (Employer TA Center), which is funded by ODEP under a cooperative agreement with The Viscardi Center.

Justice Department Warns Employers Not to Discriminate Against Salvadoran Workers with Temporary Protected Status in Newly-Released Video (February 2, 2015)

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

The Justice Department announced today the launch of an educational video reminding employers that Salvadorans with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) may continue working beyond the March 9, 2015, expiration date of their employment authorization documents. The Justice Department also cautions employers that requesting additional work-authorization documents from these workers may violate anti-discrimination law.

Released by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), the video explains that the Department of Homeland Security automatically extended the validity of employment authorization documents for Salvadorans with TPS for an additional six months. Requesting additional work-authorization documents from these employees may violate the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This provision prohibits employers from making additional and unauthorized documentary demands because of an employee’s citizenship status, immigration status or national origin when verifying or re-verifying an employee’s employment eligibility.

The newly released video may be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B3RKCX6dkM [external link].

“We hope this video will prevent discrimination against work-authorized immigrants and help employers across the country understand employment eligibility verification rules,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division. “Federal law prohibits discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process, and the Justice Department is committed to enforcing the law.”

TPS is a temporary immigration benefit that allows qualified individuals from designated countries who are in the United States to stay and work for a limited period of time. A foreign country is designated for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, such as on-going armed conflict, environmental disasters or other extraordinary and temporary conditions in the designated country. Individuals with TPS can obtain employment authorization documents to work legally in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security has automatically extended employment authorization documents for individuals with TPS from El Salvador until Sept. 9, 2015.

The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) within the Justice Department is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Among other things, the statute prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, and recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation; and intimidation.

For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, call OSC’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired), call OSC’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired), sign up for a free webinar at www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc/webinars.php, email osccrt@usdoj.govEmail links icon or visit OSC’s website at www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc.