Affirmative Action: OFCCP energized and ready to make changes
Patricia Shiu, the Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), recently spoke at the National Industry Liaison Group conference in New Orleans, where she laid out the agency’s commitment to fighting discrimination. The agency is in the midst of writing new rules on multiple fronts, all with an eye toward increasing enforcement. Areas of focus include:
- More staff and better training: The OFCCP’s staff has increased by 35 percent in the past two years. The agency also held a national training camp for the nearly 200 new compliance officers that they hired in the last two years.
- Coordinating with other agencies: OFCCP is collaborating with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice to share information and assist each other in enforcement.
- Strengthening veterans regulations: Agency staff are reviewing public comments on the recent proposals to significantly expand federal contractors’ affirmative action obligation to military veterans. Vigilant commented on behalf of our members.
- Strengthening disabilities regulations: Within the next few weeks, the agency expects to release proposed regulations that would completely revamp the affirmative action rules for employment of people with disabilities. Vigilant commented in response to the agency’s preliminary request for input.
- New compensation survey: The much-maligned EO Survey that was discontinued in 2006 is expected to resurface in a new form. The agency is committed to developing a mandatory compensation survey that will help them look for patterns of pay discrimination on the basis of race/ethnicity or gender.
- Updating construction industry regulations: These regulations haven’t changed since 1980. The OFCCP plans to propose new methods of establishing affirmative action goals and bring the rules up to date with current practices in the construction industry.
- Eliminating sex discrimination: These regulations are even dustier, as they have been unchanged since 1978. The agency plans to update its sex discrimination guidelines to reflect modern workplace opportunities for women.
Tips: If you are an employer with covered federal contracts, make sure your affirmative action plan (AAP) isn’t just sitting on a shelf, ignored. The OFCCP is ramping up its expectations of employers, so you need to step up your compliance efforts accordingly. Contact your Vigilant affirmative action representative if you have questions or need our assistance in preparing your written affirmative action plans.