On November 19, 2013, a trade association representing construction-related firms, Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking to block a final rule from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) that would require federal contractors to establish a seven-percent goal for the employment of workers with disabilities. 

While the complaint focuses on the impact of the final rule on construction-related contractors (who for the first time would be subject to many of the more burdensome data collecting requirements) it is of interest to all contractors because it alleges that the OFCCP exceeded its authority under the Rehabilitation Act, in implementing a “utilization goal” of seven percent for the employment of individuals with disabilities.  Seeing that the final rule does not go into effect until March 24, 2014 (and really, the seven-percent requirement can be delayed until the contractor’s development of its first affirmative action plan after March 24, 2014), there may be standing challenges as the lawsuit could be deemed premature.  As if often the case, it is possible that this first strike against the OFCCP will spur other lawsuits challenging the OFCCP’s authority in implementing the final rule.  Stay tuned!

Ashley Z. Hager,  James M. McCabe and Richard Gerakitis