The U.S. Department of Labor published new final regulations on September 24, 2013 requiring Federal government contractors to begin complying with new affirmative action and nondiscrimination obligations towards veterans and individuals with disabilities by March 24, 2014.
Generally, the rule requires contractors to adopt quantifiable hiring benchmarks for veterans and utilization goals for people with disabilities. The new rule also has a number of new employment data collection obligations, and requirements to invite job applicants to voluntarily self-identify themselves as protected veterans or individuals with disabilities both at the pre- and post-offer phases of the employment process.
There are some phase-in allowances. As with any program of this type, its effectiveness in achieving its intended goal will remain to be seen, as will any future adjustments as the rules take affect.