Wednesday, March 1, 2017

OFCCP Issues Corporate Scheduling Announcement Letters

Earlier this month, the OFCCP began issuing CSAL letters directly to contractor establishments. They are providing this courtesy letter alerting contractors of upcoming OFCCP audit Scheduling Letters (which actually begin an audit) that they "may" be selected for an audit. In our experience, at least 90% of the time, organizations that receive this "heads up" letter will typically be scheduled for an audit within the following few weeks to up to six months or more.

With this round of CSALs, the OFCCP has further reduced the number of audits it seeks to annually undertake to perhaps only 1300 per year, down from the usual 4,300+. The OFCCP has undertaken approximately 500 already started in the first 5 months of this Fiscal Year 2017 and 800 anticipated in the last 7 months of this Fiscal Year.

To spread work more evenly across different OFCCP District Offices, OFCCP had recently begun to have its District Offices audit not only beyond their normal geographical District boundaries, but also across Regional Office lines (i.e. the Portland OFCCP Office may audit in Florida or the Jackson, Mississippi OFCCP District Office may audit in the Mid-west). This round of CSALs continues and expands that "out-of-District" audit approach.

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.