Initial Impact of Section 503 Rules: Identifying Employer Practices and Trends in Disability Violations among Federal Contractors


In March 2014, regulations went into effect related to the implementation of Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 503). These regulations set new requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors related to nondiscrimination and affirmative action in the employment of qualified individuals with disabilities. For example, contractors now are required to offer applicants and employees the opportunity to self-identify as a person with a disability and to use the data collected to understand their progress toward a 7% utilization goal for employment of individuals with disabilities.

The overall goal of this project is to understand the initial impact of these regulations on employer practices and consequently on the employment environment for individuals with disabilities. The study uses both existing administrative and survey data to achieve three supporting objectives:

  1. Understand the characteristics of firms with and without evidence of a disability violation under EEO laws.
  2. Examine the initial impact of changes to Section 503 regulations on the observed patterns of employers with disability violations.
  3. Build an understanding of effective practice and policy as contractors have initially responded to Section 503 regulations.

Contact Information

Sarah von Schrader


Funding Agencies

The United States Department of Labor

Principal Investigator

Sarah von Schrader, Hassan Enayati

Collaborating Partners

NILG and DirectEmployers