The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has rescinded restrictions on investigating pay discrimination and has announced new guidance for employers and other interested stakeholders. According to OFCCP, they are taking this action to protect workers and strengthen OFCCP’s ability to identify and remedy different forms of pay discrimination. OFCCP has posted several resources on its website covering these changes.
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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission held a meeting March 20 to hear from its front line staff, managers, and stakeholders to develop the agency’s Quality Control Plan. The Quality Control Plan was called for in the EEOC’s 2012-2016 Strategic Plan. Details of the Commission’s meeting are available in the EEOC’s Press Release: “Improving and Measuring Quality of EEOC Investigations Focus of Commission Meeting“.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) has posted an announcement on its website regarding the extension of the VETS-100/100A reports filing deadline in the 2012 cycle to October 31, 2012.
VETS Website: Filing Information
On December 20, 2011, EEOIMPACT submitted a letter to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) requesting an extension of the comment period for the agency’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Affirmative Action and Nondiscrimination Obligations of Contractors and Subcontractors Regarding Individuals With Disabilities.
Debra Carr, Director of the Division of Policy with OFCCP, faxed a letter to EEOIMPACT this afternoon stating that “after considering your request, we determined that we cannot grant an extension of the comment period at this time.”
Comments on the proposed regulation must be received no later than February 7, 2012 to be assured of OFCCP’s consideration.
OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu is scheduled to speak at the ILG Southwest and Rocky Mountain (SWARM) Regional Conference April 10-13.
For more information: Program Agenda.
EEOIMPACT SEEKS EXTENSION OF COMMENT PERIOD FOR PROPOSED RULES GOVERNING FEDERAL CONTRACTOR HIRING OF INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES
EEOIMPACT sent a letter on December 20, 2011 to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) of the U.S. Department of Labor seeking an extension of 45 days beyond the current February 7 deadline to file comments on its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on affirmative action and nondiscrimination obligations of contractors and subcontractors regarding individuals with disabilities.
“OFCCP’s proposed rule to revise Section 503 regulations is very important, and it deserves an in-depth analysis and thoughtful response. It will be difficult, however, for federal contractors both large and small to analyze what the proposed rule would require, understand how the proposed rule would impact their policies, programs and procedures, and to provide meaningful comment of value to the OFCCP within the current timeframe. What makes it particularly difficult is that this regulatory initiative comes just as human resource staffs and other functional organizations are in the midst of taking scheduled year-end vacations, celebrating religious or secular holidays, or are otherwise engaged in department initiatives, including preparation of their 2012 affirmative action plans, an activity that will carry over well into January.”
Other requests for extensions of the comment period are anticipated.
The OFCCP has announced that it will hold two webinars to review its recently proposed Section 503 regulation.
The webinars are scheduled for December 20 and December 21 at 2:00pm Eastern.
The OFCCP has announced that during the presentation Policy Branch Chief Naomi Levin will review the highlights of the NPRM and tell how the public can provide comments on the proposed rule.
According to OFCCP, Ms. Levin joined the Department of Labor in May of 2008, after more than 20 years as a Senior Attorney at EEOC. Her accomplishments at EEOC include co-authoring the Commission’s original ADA regulations, conducting numerous ADA and Rehabilitation Act trainings around the country, and serving as a Special Assistant and advisor to two EEOC Commissioners.
The OFCCP has posted an FAQ on its recently proposed rule regarding Section 503.
Much of the recent discussion in the federal contractor community regarding the proposed rule has centered on the “utilization goal.” Here is what OFCCP says about the utilization goal in its FAQ:
“The NPRM proposes to establish a national utilization goal of 7 percent for the employment of individuals with disabilities in each job group of the contractor’s workforce. OFCCP invites public comment on this proposed goal, and on the potential use of a utilization range of between 4 percent and 10 percent in lieu of a single national utilization goal.
To annually evaluate their utilization of individuals with disabilities, the NPRM proposes that contractors use the job groups established for utilization analyses under Executive Order (E.O. 11246). The proposed goal is derived primarily from disability data collected as part of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). (Visit http://www.census.gov/acs/www/ for additional information about the ACS.)
The goal is neither a quota nor a hiring ceiling, and a failure to attain the goal does not constitute a violation of Section 503 or OFCCP’s regulations. Rather, the goal will provide both contractors and OFCCP with a quantifiable measure for assessing success in recruiting and employing individuals with disabilities. It is a tool to help identify any remaining barriers to equal employment.”
The complete FAQ is available here.
Also reference: “OFCCP Publishes Proposal to Improve Job Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities” OFCCP website.
The OFCCP’s proposed new rule to strengthen the affirmative action requirements established in Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is published in today’s edition of the Federal Register.
A link to the proposed rule is here.
Public comments on the proposed rule are due by February 7, 2012.
DOL SECRETARY HILDA SOLIS AND OFCCP DIRECTOR PAT SHIU APPLAUD OFCCP PROPOSED RULE ON SECTION 503; PROPOSAL WILL INCLUDE HIRING GOAL OF 7 PERCENT
The U.S. Department of Labor has announced that OFCCP’s proposed new rule to strengthen the affirmative action requirements established in Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 will be published in the December 9 edition of the Federal Register.
According to an OFCCP news release, the proposed rule would require federal contractors and subcontractors to set a hiring goal of having 7 percent of their workforces be people with disabilities, among other requirements. OFCCP says establishing a 7 percent hiring goal for the employment of individuals with disabilities would be a tool for contractors to measure the effectiveness of their affirmative action efforts and thereby inform their decision-making.
OFCCP also says the proposed regulatory changes detail specific actions contractors must take in the areas of recruitment, training, record keeping and policy dissemination – similar to those that have long been required to promote workplace quality for women and minorities.
This proposed rule represents one of the most significant advances in protecting the civil rights of workers with disabilities since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “President Obama has demonstrated a commitment to people with disabilities. This proposed rule would help federal contractors better fulfill their legal responsibility to hire qualified workers with disabilities.”
“For nearly 40 years, the rules have said that contractors simply need to make a ‘good faith’ effort to recruit and hire people with disabilities. Clearly, that’s not working,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “Our proposal would define specific goals, require real accountability and provide the clearest possible guidance for employers seeking to comply with the law. What gets measured gets done. And we’re in the business of getting things done.”
According to the OFCCP news release, the proposed rule also would enhance data collection and record-keeping requirements — including for documentation and processing of requests for reasonable accommodation — in order to improve accountability. Additionally, it would ensure annual self-reviews of employers’ recruitment and outreach efforts, and add a new requirement for contractors to list job openings to increase their pools of qualified applicants.
For more information: “US Labor Department Seeks To Improve Job Opportunities For Americans With Disabilities By Setting Historic Hiring Goal For Federal Contractors And Subcontractors,” OFCCP News Release.