Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)
September 2010 Events and News
OFCCP 45th Anniversary Celebration
Statement by US Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis on the 45th anniversary of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
"Six months after brave men and women crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, and just six weeks after Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, the march to redeem America's promise took another important step forward. Asserting that civil rights laws alone were not enough to remedy discrimination, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 on Sept. 24, 1965.
"This landmark order, which created the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, requires those who do business with the U.S. government - both contractors and subcontractors-to ensure equal opportunity for all job seekers and wage earners.
"OFCCP's legal authority has since been expanded by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act
of 1974.As amended, these three laws hold federal contractors to the very reasonable standard that they must not discriminate in their employment practices on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran.
"Nearly one in four American workers is employed by a company that receives taxpayer dollars for contracted work. That's more than 200,000 companies with contracts totaling over $700 billion. And it is the duty of OFCCP to see that those tax dollars are not used to discriminate. That helps ensure a fundamental fairness and levels the playing field for America's workers.
"So, today, I congratulate the nearly 800 OFCCP staff in offices across the nation as they mark 45 years of protecting workers, promoting diversity and enforcing the law. Their work ensures good jobs are within the grasp of everyone, and it makes America a more just - and better - place to work and live."
DOL Complaint Alleges Tyson Fresh Meats Discriminated Against Women Who Applied for Jobs at Joslin, Ill. Plant
Following an investigation by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs finding hiring discrimination at Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Joslin, Ill., the U.S. Department of Labor filed an administrative complaint seeking back pay for more than 750 women whose applications for entry-level jobs were wrongfully rejected. The Department's administrative complaint also calls on Tyson to offer jobs to over 100 affected women.
Tyson Fresh Meats, a federal contractor, could lose current government contracts and risks debarment from future contracts.
OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu said, "The Labor Department is firmly committed to ensuring that federal contractors give all individuals a fair and equal chance at employment. Taxpayer dollars must never be used to discriminate."
Read the Labor Department's news release about this case.
Mixed News in August's Unemployment Rates for Women, Minorities and Workers with Disabilities
While the overall unemployment rate has fallen from a high of 10.1 percent in October 2009 to 9.6 percent this August, not all groups have benefited equally. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate has improved little for black workers during the economic recovery to date. In August, the jobless rate for blacks was 16.3 percent, little changed from its post-recession high of 16.5 percent. However, Latino workers have had greater recent improvements with a decrease in their unemployment rate from a high of 13.1 percent last December to 12.0 percent in August. Even with these improvements there remains large disparities between the employment situation of Latinos and non-Latinos..
The unemployment rate for disabled workers is 15.6 percent (not seasonally adjusted) and is similar to where it was a year ago. It also is important to remember that multiple employment barriers keep disabled workers from attempting to enter the labor market. Labor force participation among those with disabilities was only 22.0 percent in August, compared to 70.2 percent for those without a disability.
The recovery to date has been stronger for men. However, men suffered greater job losses during the recession as it disproportionately affected traditionally male-dominated industries. Male unemployment peaked at 11.4 percent, while the high for women was 8.8 percent. The male rate has fallen by 0.8 points to 10.6 percent, while the women's rate has edged down just 0.2 points to 8.6 percent.
BLS will publish September's employment and unemployment data at 8:30 a.m. on October 8, 2010. For more details, go to www.bls.gov/cps.
First-time Data on Employment of Persons with a Disability
The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics, 2009. This first-ever report, "will help better tailor policies and workforce development strategies, leveraging the talents and skills of this important segment of our population," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Just one in five people with disabilities were in the labor force, and the unemployment rate for those with disabilities remains much higher than the national average. We will use this new information to help increase service capacity and ensure that people with disabilities have access to support services."
OFCCP Shares Enforcement Role in New Rule on Employee Rights Poster
A new Employee Rights Poster regulation, implementing Executive Order 13496, is now in effect to better inform employees about their labor law rights. The rule requires covered federal contractors to provide notice to their employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), including their rights to organize and to bargain collectively with their employers, and to engage in other protected concerted activity with or without a union, or to refrain from all such activity. Contractors also must make the posting obligation applicable to their subcontractors through use of a mandatory contract clause.
The poster also provides examples of unlawful employer and union conduct that interferes with those rights and indicates how employees can contact the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency that enforces those rights, with questions or complaints.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs shares enforcement responsibilities for this new regulation with the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS). OFCCP is responsible for investigating complaints, compliance evaluations and conciliation, and will refer violations to OLMS for enforcement. The sanctions, penalties and remedies for noncompliance with the notice requirements include the suspension or cancellation of the contract and the debarring of federal contractors from future federal contracts.
Find out more about this poster (or download it in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Hmong, Laotian or Vietnamese) at www.dol.gov/olms/regs/compliance/EO13496.htm. If you have questions about the poster, such as where and when it should be posted, please contact your nearest OLMS office. A listing of these offices and their contact information can be found at: www.dol.gov/olms/contacts/lmskeyp.htm.