The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued new enforcement guidance clarifying how the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 apply to contingent workers - those workers placed in job assignments by staffing firms, such as temporary employment agencies or contract firms. The guidance explains that these workers frequently qualify as the employees of both the staffing firm and its client. Therefore, both entities have obligations to contingent workers under the provisions of the ADA.

"Given the growing reliance of the disability community on contingent work arrangements, the Commission believes appropriate guidance will increase access for people with disabilities to employment opportunities in all sectors of the work force," said EEOC Chairwoman Ida L. Castro. "Because staffing firms often serve as the first step for individuals with disabilities to enter the work force, a greater understanding of their responsibilities under the ADA will help to promote compliance."

The Commission previously issued enforcement guidance that explains the general application of the federal employment discrimination laws to contingent work arrangements. The ADA, however, contains some unique provisions that raise additional questions not answered in the previous guidance. This latest guidance was prepared to address those questions specific to the ADA. Written in a user-friendly question-and-answer format, the guidance includes the following points of clarification with regard to contingent workers and the ADA:

In addition, the guidance includes a detailed discussion of how cost-related undue hardship is determined when both a staffing firm and its client are required to provide reasonable accommodations. The guidance also explains how the ADA's rules concerning job qualification standards and pre-employment tests apply to staffing firms and their clients.

The new guidance, along with other ADA enforcement guidance documents and the 1997 enforcement guidance entitled Application of EEO Laws to Contingent Workers Placed by Temporary Employment Agencies and Other Staffing Firms, will be available on the Commission's web site at

EEOC has enforcement authority for the employment provisions of the ADA (Title I), which prohibit private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, discharge, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms and conditions of employment.

In addition to enforcing Title I of the ADA, EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination against individuals 40 years of age or older; sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991; the Equal Pay Act; and the Rehabilitation Act's prohibitions against disability discrimination in the federal government.

This page was last modified on December 27, 2000.

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