COs must be concerned with gaining information that makes the on-site review useful to answering the question of whether the contractor complied with its obligations. If employees are afraid of cooperating for fear of retaliation, the on-site review could be compromised. COs should, therefore, take specific actions to notify and protect employees.
COs, when on-site, must inform the contractor’s managers, employees and applicants that individuals exercising their rights under OFCCP’s laws have protections from retaliation. Specifically, the regulations implementing Executive Order 11246, Section 503 and VEVRAA prohibit interference and intimidation of any individual exercising his or her rights under OFCCP’s laws. The CO must give this notice to the contractor at the entrance and exit conferences, and include it as a part of any interview conducted during the on-site review.
The prohibition against interference and intimidation includes threats, coercion, harassment and discrimination. Retaliation may take the form of adverse employment actions such as termination, demotion, failure to hire and harassment. As with interference and intimidation, contractors may not retaliate against an individual for exercising his or her rights under the laws enforced by OFCCP. Specific activities protected from contractor interference, intimidation and retaliation include:
- Filing a complaint;
- Assisting or participating in an investigation, compliance evaluation, hearing, or any other activity related to the administration of the Executive Order 11246, Section 503 and VEVRAA or other EEO laws;
- Opposing any act or practice that violates any of these EEO laws; and
- Exercising any other right afforded them by these laws.