As we previously reported, the OFCCP announced in August that it would hold three “compliance assistance” town hall meetings. The first was held on September 19, 2017, at the Department of Labor’s Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Proskauer was at the meeting, which was attended by government contractor representatives from many different sectors of the economy, as well as a number of OFCCP National Office Representatives, Regional Directors, District Directors and Compliance Officers.
Acting OFCCP Director Tom Dowd opened the town hall by welcoming the attendees. He explained that OFCCP is interested in “enhancing compliance assistance,” noting that the OFCCP’s compliance assistance mission is “equally important” to its compliance evaluation program. He lamented the fact that government contractors appear reluctant to seek compliance assistance advice from OFCCP, fearing doing so would make it more likely they would be selected for a compliance evaluation. He assured the attendees that this was not the case. He explained that the purpose behind the compliance assistance town hall meetings is to “gather input” from government contractors and give “serious consideration to their ideas” about how to improve OFCCP’s compliance assistance efforts.
Over the next three-and-a-half hours, the participants at the town hall worked in small groups to develop ideas for what OFCCP could do to improve compliance assistance efforts and collaboration with federal government contractors. These ideas were then shared and discussed among the participants. Suggestions made over the course of the meeting included improvements to OFCCP’s website, creation of infographics providing easy-to-understand explanations of compliance requirements, creation of an on-line video learning library, and publication by OFCCP of common compliance issues uncovered in contractor audits.
OFCCP officials did not comment on the ideas, but were in attendance to listen to contractors’ concerns and suggestions. Acting Director Dowd did, however, respond to one comment about compliance officer “bullying.” He told the attendees that if anyone experiences bullying, they should report it to the compliance officer’s superior as such behavior is not tolerated by the OFCCP.
Key Take Away. The town hall meeting and Acting Director Dowd’s comments reflect the OFCCP’s efforts to improve the dynamic between the agency and the government contractor community. It is clear that after years of cold relations between the OFCCP and government contractors, OFCCP is interested in improving relations. The participants at the Washington, D.C. town hall generated innovative and interesting ideas that would help OFCCP achieve this goal. It remains to be seen if these ideas will be implemented by the OFCCP.
The OFCCP will hold two more town hall meetings: one in San Francisco on September 26, 2017, and one in Chicago on September 28, 2017.