D.C. Circuit Rejects Challenge To Section 503 Regulations Administered by OFCCP
On Friday, December 12, 2014, the D.C. Circuit rejected a challenge by Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (“ABC”) to the recent rules promulgated by OFCCP under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act protecting individuals with disabilities. Those rules, among other things, established an aspirational seven percent utilization goal and required contractors to invite applicants to self-identify as an individual with a disability at the application stage (in addition to soliciting disclosures after extending an offer of employment).
ABC argued that the rules are invalid because they were contrary to Section 503 and OFCCP had not offered sufficient justification for them. The D.C. Circuit, in a unanimous decision issued by Judge David Tatel, rejected ABC’s arguments. The Court determined that nothing in the OFCCP’s regulations contradicted the terms of Section 503. Furthermore, the Court concluded that OFCCP’s adoption of a utilization goal represented a decision among a range of choices within OFCCP’s discretion. OFCCP also adequately explained its reasoning for adopting a utilization goal.