Government Contractor Compliance & Regulatory Update

Labor Secretary Defends OFCCP-EEOC Merger

As previously reported, the Trump Administration’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 includes a plan to merge the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) into the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). Pragmatically, this would add the OFCCP’s broad responsibilities to an already overburdened EEOC, without providing the EEOC any additional funding to accomplish its newly added workload.

On June 7, 2017, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta testified at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing in support of the proposal. The Labor Secretary touted the merger as a “commonsense change” that “combines two civil rights agencies that already work together closely.”  The merger, according to Secretary Acosta would achieve a cost saving without reducing enforcement. Continue Reading

Trump Administration’s Budget Proposes Major Changes For OFCCP

On May 23, 2017, the Trump Administration released its proposed fiscal year 2018 budget. Not surprisingly, the budget proposes significant changes for the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”).  In the Department of Labor’s budget proposal, the Administration has laid the groundwork to merge the OFCCP into the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) by the end of fiscal year 2018.  The merger is touted as intended to promote “greater policy coordination, management efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.”  According to the Administration, maintaining OFCCP as a separate agency “does not take full advantage of the opportunities to improve employment civil rights protection.”  It is worth noting that although the merger is the focal point of the OFCCP budget proposal, it appears to have little support outside of the Administration. Indeed, opposition to the proposal is shared by both business groups and workers’ rights advocates. Continue Reading

OFCCP Announces New Veteran Hiring Benchmark

The OFCCP has announced its 2017 Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) Benchmark. The new benchmark is 6.7%, slightly lower than the previous year’s 6.9% benchmark.

The VEVRAA Benchmark is the figure which federal contractors must use to assess the effectiveness of their outreach programs for the hiring of veterans. Contractors may either use the OFCCP’s national benchmark, or establish their own benchmark using applicable statistics and other metrics set forth in OFCCP’s regulations (41 CFR §60-300.45(b)(2)).

BREAKING: Blacklisting Rule Is Officially and Completely Dead

Yesterday (March 27, 2017), President Trump signed into law a Congressional Joint Resolution of Disapproval (the “Resolution”), revoking the rules implementing the controversial Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, better known as the Blacklisting Rule.  The same day, President Trump issued a new Executive Order – The “Presidential Executive Order on the Revocation of Federal Contracting Executive Orders” – officially revoking the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order. Continue Reading

Renewed OFCCP Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability Form Now Available

Earlier today, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced that the Office of Management and Budget renewed the voluntary self-identification form for individuals with disabilities for an additional three years. This renewed Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability form is exactly the same as the prior form, except that it has a new expiration date of January 31, 2020.  Even so, federal contractors should start using this renewed form immediately.

The Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability form invites job applicants and employees voluntarily to self-identify as being an individual with a disability. The information collected on the self-identification form should be used by covered federal government contractors in determining that they have satisfied the utilization goal established by OFCCP and in conducting data analytics in connection with their affirmative action plans.

Trump Administration Will Retain LGBT Protections for Government Contractor Employees

Although the first eleven days of the Trump Administration have been full of activity and controversy, federal government contractors have been waiting to see if President Trump will undo or modify the compliance obligations imposed on them through the numerous Executive Orders issued by President Obama.

This morning (January 31, 2017) the White House announced plans with respect to one of those Executive Orders: Executive Order 11478 (the “Order”), which added sexual orientation and gender identity to the classes protected by Executive Order 11246.  According to the statement, the Order “will remain intact at the direction of President Trump.”  The announcement came the day after the press reported that the Trump Administration was contemplating overturning the Order or adding religious-freedom provisions.  The statement made today is silent on the latter point.

You can find our prior blog posts about the Order and its implementing regulations here and here .

The Department Of Homeland Security Proposes New Rules Affecting Federal Government Contractors

This week, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) issued three proposed rules expanding data security and privacy requirements for contractors and subcontractors. The proposed rules build upon other recent efforts by various federal agencies to strengthen safeguarding requirements for sensitive government information.  Given the increasing emphasis on data security and privacy, contractors and subcontractors are well advised to familiarize themselves with these new requirements and undertake a careful review of their current data security and privacy procedures to ensure they comply. Continue Reading

EFFECTIVE TODAY: FAR Barring Certain Contractor Confidentiality Agreements

Today (January 19, 2017), the Employee Internal Confidentiality Agreements or Statements Federal Acquisition Regulation (the “Rule”) goes into effect.  The Rule prohibits the government from contracting with companies that require employees or subcontractors to sign “internal confidentiality agreements or statements prohibiting or otherwise restricting such employees or subcontractors from lawfully reporting such waste, fraud, or abuse to a designated investigative or law enforcement representative of a Federal department or agency authorized to receive such information.”  The commentary to the Rule explains that “designated” representatives are employees of the applicable agency’s Office of Inspector General.  The Rule applies to all solicitations and contracts (including contracts for Commercial Off-the-Shelf items (“COTS”)) using fiscal year 2015 funds or funds from any subsequent fiscal year. Continue Reading

Governor Cuomo Signs Executive Order Requiring State Contractors To Report Job Title And Pay Data

On January 9, 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an Executive Order that requires state contractors to disclose, in addition to data on gender, race, and ethnicity that is already required, job title and salary data for all of their employees working on state contracts (or their entire workforce if those working on state contracts cannot be identified). The Order, “Ensuring Pay Equity By State Contractors,” compels state contractors to disclose this data for all state contracts, agreements, and procurements issued and executed on or after June 1, 2017. Continue Reading

OFCCP Sues Google, Seeking Pay Data

On January 4, 2017, the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP) sued Google, claiming that the tech giant is illegally withholding information about the compensation it provides its employees.  OFCCP seeks the information as part of an ongoing review of Google’s compliance with the various equal protection laws enforced by the OFCCP.

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