On July 13, 2017, the House Committee on Appropriations voted to defund efforts to implement the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (“EEOC”) revised Form EEO-1. If the Appropriations Bill is ultimately passed, it will severely limit the EEOC’s ability to implement its revised EEO-1. Continue Reading
On July 14, 2017, an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) for the Department of Labor issued a Recommended Decision and Order (the “Opinion”) in the case brought by the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) against Google over Google’s refusal to turn over certain employee data as part of a compliance audit. The ALJ’s thorough opinion is informative, providing insights into OFCCP’s processes in compliance audits, basic canons of administrative and constitutional law, as well as the administrative proceedings that have garnered so much of the government contractor community’s attention. Continue Reading
Effective June 12, 2017, executive branch agency employees, contractors and subcontractors who have access to classified information or hold sensitive positions must report personal trips abroad as well as a wide range of foreign contacts. This new security directive, “Reporting Requirements for Personnel With Access to Classified Information or Who Hold a Sensitive Position,” was issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and establishes fundamental reporting requirements while still allowing agency heads to impose additional reporting requirements in accordance with their respective authorities. Continue Reading
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
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
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)).
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
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.
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.
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