Developments at the EEOC: On May 15, 2014, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register (79 Fed.Reg. 27,824-27,826). The Notice, entitled “The Federal Sector’s Obligation To Be a Model Employer of Individuals With Disabilities” seeks comments from the public on how to implement the federal government’s statutory obligation to be a model employer of the disabled. Comments are due by July 14, 2014.
Under 29 C.F.R. § 1614.203(a), “The Federal Government shall be a model employer of individuals with disabilities.” However, as the EEOC’s Notice explains, present regulations do not define being a “model employer,” nor for the most part set standards for federal agencies different from those applying to non-federal sector employees. As the Notice explains, “The Commission proposes to revise its regulations in 29 CFR part 1614 to include a more detailed explanation of the model employer obligation. Before it publishes a proposed regulation, the Commission seeks comments from members of the public on how further regulation by the Commission may assist the federal government in meeting this obligation.” The Notice then identifies seven specific issues about which the EEOC is seeking comment, ranging from how to define and measure being a “model employer” to how to strengthen enforcement mechanisms.