WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) today applauded the Obama Administration for issuing final regulations and guidance implementing the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, originally signed by the President in July of 2014. The executive order and regulations are of particular importance to veterans and people with disabilities because they provide greater oversight of federal contractors, and hold them accountable for discrimination and civil rights violations.
"Every American should be protected against discrimination of any kind in the workplace, and Paralyzed Veterans of America commends President Obama for taking this action," said Executive Director Sherman Gillums, Jr. "The American workforce is increasingly diverse. As a result, upholding an equal opportunity to work is vital. The executive order will help prevent discrimination against veterans and people with disabilities by requiring that violations of labor and employment rights laws—such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act—be among the considerations taken into account by the federal government in its contracting process."
Overall, the action will help protect taxpayers, law-abiding businesses, and the more than one-in-five Americans employed by companies that do business with the federal government. These final regulations will allow contracting agencies to begin implementing the order and identify companies with egregious violations. They can then be held accountable for amending their procedures before they receive any future contracts.
Gillums noted that veterans and people with disabilities within the workplace and looking for employment will be greatly impacted by the order. Today, the labor force participation rate of working age people with disabilities is slightly over 20 percent compared to 69 percent for working age people without disabilities. The unemployment rate for people with disabilities actively seeking work is more than double (11.1%) that of people without disabilities (4.9%). And although overall veteran unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in seven years, broad statistics fail to reflect the ongoing employment challenges facing veterans with significant disabilities. According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterans with the most severe service-connected disabilities had an unemployment rate of 9.6 percent; almost double that of veterans without disabilities.
In supporting this action by the President, Gillums also noted that there have been recent Congressional efforts to undermine the order with the inclusion of provisions in the House and Senate National Defense Authorization bills to exclude Department of Defense contracts—which account for approximately two thirds of government contracts—from coverage under the order. Lawmakers in both houses and the Obama Administration are now working to ensure that this language is removed from the final version of the legislation during conference committee. "For the sake of Paralyzed Veterans members who are seeking employment with federal contractors, I sincerely hope that this language will be struck from the defense bill," Gillums concluded.
About Paralyzed Veterans of America: Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For 70 years, we have ensured that veterans have received the benefits earned through their service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.
As a partner for life, Paralyzed Veterans also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation and advocates for veterans and all people with disabilities. With more than 70 offices and 34 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans serves veterans, their families and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. (pva.org)
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SOURCE Paralyzed Veterans of America