Quick Hit: OFCCP has entered into a memorandum of understanding (the “MOU ”) with the National Industry Liaison Group (the “NILG”), a non–profit employer association that focuses on affirmative action and equal employment opportunity. The MOU is aimed at facilitating communications between OFCCP and the NILG in an effort to improve contractor compliance with OFCCP requirements as well as providing a mechanism to share contractor concerns with the agency.
Key Takeaway: Since the beginning of the Trump Administration, OFCCP has repeatedly stated that it is interested in improving relations with the government contractor community, increasing transparency, and balancing its enforcement efforts with those aimed at assisting contractors achieve compliance with its regulations. The MOU appears to be another example of the agency formalizing this commitment. Although the MOU is a welcome development and one that could provide contractors with greater clarity about their OFCCP obligations while also leading to welcome changes to the manner in which OFCCP implements its regulations, time will tell whether this initiative results in real, tangible benefits for government contractors.
The OFCCP and NILG entered into the MOU on August 27, 2018. The stated purpose of the agreement is to provide “a vehicle for exchanging information, obtaining feedback, and receiving advice from contractors” in order to “support contractor education and training; enable voluntary compliance with OFCCP’s regulations; and minimize, to the extent feasible, the cost of compliance by contractors.”
Among the goals of the MOU are: (1) coordination by the two organizations at both the national and local levels; (2) examination of “compliance challenges experienced by contractors”; (3) exploring “options for minimizing and eliminating operational, organizational and attitudinal barriers” contractors believe are impeding affirmative action and equal employment opportunities in their workplaces; and (4) improving OFCCP’s contractor education compliance tools and resources.
In order to achieve these goals, the OFCCP has committed, among other things, to:
- Attend one annual meeting with the NILG Board;
- Provide input and participating in the NILG’s annual national conference;
- Make representatives available for at least one regional or local ILG meeting in each OFCCP region annually;
- Engage in “various outreach initiatives that encourage all contractors, including NILG and local ILG members, to provide constructive feedback on OFCCP’s compliance evaluation process, education, outreach, and compliance assistance activities. OFCCP may reflect a consideration of this feedback in the development of contractor–focused activities”;
The NILG’s commitments include:
- Using the annual meeting with OFCCP’s national office to discuss contractor concerns regarding OFCCP’s evaluation process and improving training and education;
- Working with OFCCP to work cooperatively with OFCCP regarding its annual NILG conference and local ILG meetings;
- Informing its Board members and local ILG members of OFCCP initiatives, opportunities to provide OFCCP feedback, and OFCCP-sponsored compliance assistance programs;