Righting a Wrong; Our View; Leveling the Playing Field for Veterans and Disabled Workers

By Board, the | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), March 25, 2014 | Go to article overview

Righting a Wrong; Our View; Leveling the Playing Field for Veterans and Disabled Workers


Board, the, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


As of Monday, companies that have at least 50 employees and do at least $50,000 a year in business with the federal government have new benchmarks for hiring military veterans and people with disabilities.

Depending on your point of view, this is either more burdensome federal regulation or a long-needed reform.

We take the latter view. It is now the stated policy of the United States that if you take federal money, you have to do more for veterans than slap a bumper sticker on your car. And you have to value the contributions that people with disabilities can make, regardless of how uncomfortable they might make you feel or what accommodations you might have to make.

If you don't want to comply, don't take the government's money. But more than 171,000 companies in the United States sell goods or services to the government, which is a pretty good customer. Federal contractors or subcontractors employ about 16 million workers, about 20 percent of the nation's workforce.

Besides, it's the right thing to do.

The Labor Department published its new rules last fall, setting "benchmarks" of 7 percent for people with disabilities and 8 percent for veterans, a number that could be adjusted depending on the number of veterans in the workforce. The benchmarks are goals, not mandates, but companies that consistently fail to meet the goals could face penalties.

Compliance could be a little tricky, but nothing that a competent human resources office can't handle. …

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