OFCCP recently announced that it will begin conducting promotions focused reviews. Over the past few decades, many studies have examined the existence of a “glass ceiling” that keeps qualified individuals, such as women of color or people with disabilities, from rising to higher positions in their workplaces. To the extent these difference are grounded in unlawful discrimination on any basis protected under Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 503), or the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), OFCCP plays a vital role in finding, addressing, and remedying these violations of the law. OFCCP will review contractor data, policies, and procedures related to promotions to ensure that federal contractors are meeting their equal employment opportunity obligations. Another goal of these focused reviews is to provide compliance assistance and other guidance to contractors to help them meet their equal employment opportunity obligations.
In 2018, OFCCP issued Focused Review Directive (DIR) 2018-04 to introduce a comprehensive initiative aimed at examining compliance with specific portions of contractors’ equal employment opportunity obligations. The agency started with focused reviews examining contractor compliance with Section 503. Based on the success of the Section 503 focused reviews, OFCCP has expanded the program to include VEVRAA focused reviews. Now, OFCCP is further expanding the focused review program to examine whether contractors’ promotions practices and procedures comply with their obligations under OFCCP’s laws. One aspect of these reviews will be to examine whether discrimination occurs at the intersection of race and gender.
The scheduling letter specifies the documents and data that a contractor must provide to OFCCP when selected for a promotions focused review. The letter and itemized listing are tailored to obtain basic affirmative action programs, support data, and information applicable specifically to promotion opportunities, policies and practices. Compliance Officers will review, among other things, contractor policies and procedures, employee personnel files, and personnel data tracking contractors’ promotion decisions. Compliance Officers will also conduct interviews with managers responsible for promotion decisions and, if applicable, with affected employees. OFCCP may also evaluate hiring and compensation policies, procedures, and data, as appropriate, to determine if qualified applicants are being steered into lower paying positions with limited upward mobility or otherwise prevented from advancing professionally.