Monday, February 13, 2017

Congress Moves to Rescind ‘Blacklisting’ Regulations for Federal Contractors

The U.S. House of Representatives passed on a bipartisan basis H.J. Res. 37, a resolution to block the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order, by a vote of 236-187.

The order is often referred to as the "blacklisting" regulations because of concerns that the government will use these regulations to prohibit employers from doing business with the U.S. government due to actual or alleged labor law violations. The main provisions of the regulation requires certain federal contractors to report violations of 14 different federal labor and employment laws, and the equivalent state laws, in order to compete for federal contracts.

H.J. Res. 37 would nullify the rule Federal Acquisition Regulation; Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces, 81 Fed. Reg. 58562 (August 25, 2016). The bill disapproves a rule that would require federal contractors to disclose findings of non-compliance with labor laws. The rule would bog down Federal procurement with unnecessary and burdensome processes that would result in delays, and decreased competition for Federal government contracts. Rolling back this rule will also help to reduce costs in Federal procurement. The Administration is committed to reducing onerous regulatory burdens on America's businesses and using existing authorities to continue enforcing the Nation's workplace laws.

The Senate is expected to consider a resolution similar to H.J. Res. 37 soon. Senate passage is expected because this is considered a "privileged resolution," which requires only a simple majority (51 votes) for passage. President Donald J. Trump is expected to sign this resolution into law.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

EEOC Releases Fiscal Year 2016 Enforcement and Litigation Data

Agency Adds Statistics Detailing LGBT Charges

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released detailed breakdowns for the 91,503 charges of workplace discrimination the agency received in fiscal year 2016. This is the second year in a row that the number of charges filed with EEOC has increased.

Overall, EEOC resolved 97,443 charges in fiscal year 2016 and secured more than $482 million for victims of discrimination in private sector and state and local government workplaces through voluntary resolutions and litigation. The agency reduced the workload of pending charges by 3.8 percent to 73,508 -- the lowest pending charge workload in three years. The agency responded to over 585,000 calls to its toll-free number and more than 160,000 inquiries in field offices, reflecting the significant public demand for EEOC's services. EEOC has previously released fiscal year 2016 highlights.

This is the first year that EEOC has included detailed information about LGBT charges in its year-end summary.  EEOC resolved 1,650 charges and recovered $4.4 million for LGBT individuals who filed sex discrimination charges with EEOC in fiscal year 2016. Additionally, the data show a steady increase in the four years the agency has been collecting LGBT charge data. From fiscal year 2013 through fiscal year 2016, nearly 4,000 charges were filed with EEOC by LGBT individuals alleging sex discrimination, and EEOC recovered $10.8 million for these individuals.

“EEOC advances opportunity for all of America’s workers and plays a critical role in helping employers build stronger workplaces,” said EEOC Chair Jenny Yang. “Despite the progress that has been made, we continue to see discrimination in both overt and subtle forms. The ongoing challenge of combating employment discrimination is what makes EEOC’s work as important as ever.”

Specifically, the charge numbers show the following breakdowns by bases alleged, in descending order:
  • Retaliation: 42,018 (45.9 percent of all charges filed)
  • Race: 32,309 (35.3 percent)
  • Disability: 28,073 (30.7 percent)
  • Sex: 26,934 (29.4 percent)
  • Age: 20,857 (22.8 percent)
  • National Origin: 9,840 (10.8 percent)
  • Religion: 3,825 (4.2 percent)
  • Color: 3,102 (3.4 percent)
  • Equal Pay Act: 1,075 (1.2 percent)
  • Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act: 238 (.3 percent)
These percentages add up to more than 100 because some charges allege multiple bases.

EEOC legal staff resolved 139 lawsuits and filed 86 lawsuits alleging discrimination in fiscal year 2016. The lawsuits filed by EEOC included 55 individual suits and 31 suits involving multiple victims or discriminatory policies. At the end of the fiscal year, EEOC had 168 cases on its active docket, of which 48 (28.6 percent) involve challenges to systemic discrimination and an additional 32 (19 percent) are multiple-victim cases. EEOC achieved a successful outcome in 90.6 percent of all suit resolutions.

EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

EEOC Issues Quality Practices Plan on Federal Sector Hearings, Appeals, Oversight Functions

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published the Federal Sector Quality Practices (FSQP) to address the quality of the agency’s hearings and appeals in federal employee employment discrimination complaints. The FSQP also devotes attention to the Commission’s role in providing oversight of federal agencies when reviewing affirmative employment and barrier analysis plans, evaluating federal agency complaint processes, and offering technical assistance to federal agencies. It is modeled on the private sector’s Quality Practices for Effective Investigations and Conciliation's (QEP), created pursuant to EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan.

The FSQP was developed by an internal work group, appointed by Chair Jenny R. Yang, that surveyed the workforce to gather information on the hallmarks of quality work and studied commentary on the federal sector, including reviewing General Accountability Office reports; testimony from past Commission meetings; public comments and letters from stakeholders suggesting improvements for federal sector processing. The work group’s efforts were refined, and ultimately unanimously approved, by EEOC’s Commissioners.

“These Federal Sector Quality Practices provide guidelines to help our staff strengthen our federal employee hearings and appeals process, timely resolve complaints, and provide valuable oversight to agencies in their EEO programs,” said Chair Jenny R. Yang.  “This document is a tool to ensure EEOC provides a high-quality work product to its federal sector stakeholders.” 

EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employ¬ment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.