Federal contractors are individuals or employers who enter into a contract with any U.S. government department or agency to perform a specific job, supply labor and materials, or sell products and services. A federal subcontractor is a company that does business with another company that holds direct contracts with the Federal Government.
As a part of doing business with the federal government, federal contractors and subcontractors are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, religion, disability, or status as a protected veteran. They are also required to take affirmative action – proactive steps – to hire individuals from certain groups that have traditionally been discriminated against.
- Effective March 2014, federal regulations concerning the affirmative action requirements for federal contractors established a 7 percent representation goal for individuals with disabilities.
- They also require that covered employers invite applicants and employees to self-identify as people with disabilities – applicants at both the pre- and post-offer stages, and employees every five years.
- Other federal laws require federal contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative action to employ and promote specified categories of veterans, including disabled veterans, and prohibit discrimination against such veterans. Effective March 2014, affirmative action obligations required that employers establish annual hiring benchmarks for protected veterans.