DOL updates equal employment opportunity requirements

The Department of Labor (DOL) issued a final rule Dec. 16, 2016, that updates equal employment opportunity (EEO) requirements to broaden career opportunities in registered apprenticeships for traditionally underrepresented groups.

The final rule amends existing requirements that were last updated in 1978 and extends current protections against discrimination to include disability, age (40 years and older), genetic information and sexual orientation. The rule's provisions simplify the steps employers and sponsors must take to make compliance easier, ensure equal opportunities in apprenticeships and help businesses leverage the program's benefits.

"The final rule adjusts existing regulations to streamline and clarify requirements for employers whereever possible," says Portia Wu, DOL's assistant secretary of labor for employment and training. "It extends protections against discrimination in apprentice hiring, better defines steps needed to ensure equal opportunity and provides apprenticeship programs with additional time to develop initial affirmative action programs. The department continues to look for ways to help states strengthen their workforce. This rule provides a more flexible framework for them and creates more opportunities for workers and employers to take advantage of modern apprenticeships."