Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 503
Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination and requires employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that exceed $10,000 to take affirmative action to hire, retain, and promote qualified individuals with disabilities. All covered contractors and subcontractors must also include a specific equal opportunity clause in each of their nonexempt contracts and subcontracts.
This law is enforced by the Employment Standards Administration's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) within the U.S. Department of Labor.
- Employment Law Guide - Equal Opportunity for Individuals with Disabilities - Provides a summary of the laws and regulations prohibiting employment discrimination against individuals with disabilities.
- Major Differences Between Current Section 503 Regulations and Section 503 Final Rule
- Filing a Complaint - Individuals may file a complaint if they believe they have been discriminated against by federal contractors or subcontractors. A complaint may also be filed by organizations or other individuals on behalf of the person or persons affected.
- The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and Section 503 Fact Sheet - Both the ADA and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 cover persons with a wide range of mental and physical impairments that substantially limit or restrict a major life activity such as hearing, seeing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for one's self, learning, or working.
- elaws Federal Contractor Compliance Programs Advisor - Helps federal contractors and subcontractors answer basic questions about coverage and compliance issues related to the equal employment opportunity laws administered by the Employment Standards Administration's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
- "Equal Opportunity is the Law" - Poster for federal contractors and subcontractors. (Español)
- Notice to Workers with Disabilities (Fair Labor Standards Act (FMLA), McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act (SCA) and Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act) - Poster for employers who employ workers with disabilities under special minimum wage certificates issued by the DOL Employment Standards Administration's Wage and Hour Division. (Español)
Federal contractors are required to maintain any personnel or employment records made or kept by the contractor for two years from the date of the making of the personnel record or the personnel action, whichever occurs later. Examples of records that must be maintained include: job descriptions; job postings and advertisements; records of job offers; applications and resumes; interview notes; tests and test results; written employment policies and procedures; and personnel files. Contractors with fewer than 150 employees or who do not have a government contract of at least $150,000 only need to keep records for one year.
- The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 503 - Prohibits discrimination and requires employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that exceed $10,000 to take affirmative action to hire, retain, and promote qualified individuals with disabilities. All covered contractors and subcontractors must also include a specific equal opportunity clause in each of their nonexempt contracts and subcontracts.
- 41 CFR Part 60-741 - Regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which requires government contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities.
- 41 CFR Part 60-742 - Regulations describing the procedures for complaints/charges of employment discrimination based on disability filed against employers holding government contracts or subcontracts.
- Employment Law Guide - Employment Discrimination and Equal Opportunity for Certain Veterans Who Served on Active Duty and Special Disabled Veterans - Provides a summary of the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA). See also Compliance Assistance By Law - The VEVRAA.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - Primarily enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Justice, this Act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities.
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act - Prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. (Enforced by the EEOC.)
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) - EEOC promotes equal opportunity in employment through administrative and judicial enforcement of the federal civil rights laws and through education and technical assistance.
- Facts About the Americans with Disabilities Act - Public Law 101-336 - The ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and activities of state and local government.
- Job Applicants and the Americans with Disabilities Act - Guidance from the EEOC.
- Employment Rights, Who Has Them and Who Enforces Them - Describes the federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination against individuals with disabilities.
- What You Should Know About Workplace Laws - Explains four workplace laws (ADA, Family and Medical Leave Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, and Workers Compensation laws) that impact workers with disabilities.
- Federal Contract Compliance Manual - This reference tool for federal contractors, EEO, and human resources managers describes DOL's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' (OFCCP) standard operating procedures for OFCCP compliance officers.
- Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) Fact Sheets - A collection of fact sheets on compliance issues, accommodation, hiring people with disabilities, etc., provided by DOL's ODEP.
- Disability.Gov - Provides one-stop online access to disability-related resources, services, and information available throughout the federal government.
- Recruiting and Hiring Practices - Provides links to information on how to find qualified applicants with disabilities and how to comply with laws prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in the workplace.
- DisAbility Online - The home page for the Disability and Workforce Programs (DDWP) of the Employment and Training Administration (ETA). Provides a one-stop center for information relating to issues and training for people with disabilities in the workforce.
- Job Accommodation Network (JAN) - JAN is a free consulting service that provides information about job accommodations, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and employing people with disabilities.
- Job Accommodation Network's (JAN) Web Portal for Employers - Information for employers about accommodation, legal issues, and human resources issues.
- Ready, Willing, and Available: A Business Guide to Improving Your Workforce by Hiring People with Disabilities - Provides guidance on the various issues and laws relating to hiring people with disabilities.
- Disability Friendly Strategies for the Workplace - Provides strategies to successfully incorporate persons with disabilities into the workplace.
- Affirmative Action and People with Disabilities - Describes affirmative action steps that employers can take to promote equal employment opportunity and to eliminate discrimination.
- Employment Checklist for Hiring Persons with Disabilities - The do's and don'ts of hiring persons with disabilities. Also includes information on how to determine if your worksite is accessible.
- Accommodating Employees with Hidden Disabilities - The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines "disability" as an impairment that "substantially limits one or more of the major life activities." Some examples of "hidden" disabilities may include learning disabilities, mental illness, epilepsy, cancer, arthritis, mental retardation, traumatic brain injury, AIDS, and asthma if such impairments substantially limit one or more of the major life activities.
- See also Compliance Assistance By Topic -
Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210
Tel: 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365) (1-866-487-2365), or 1-800-397-6251
For questions on other DOL laws,
please call DOL's Toll-Free Help Line at 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365). Live assistance is available in English and Spanish, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Additional service is available in more than 140 languages through a translation service.
Tel: 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365)
*Pursuant to the U.S. Department of Labor's Confidentiality Protocol for Compliance Assistance Inquiries, information provided by a telephone caller will be kept confidential within the bounds of the law. Compliance assistance inquiries will not trigger an inspection, audit, investigation, etc.