At the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), we protect workers, promote diversity through equal opportunity and enforce the law. We hold those who do business with the federal government – contractors and subcontractors – to the fair and reasonable standard that they take affirmative action and not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. Additionally, we ensure that contractors and subcontractors do not discriminate against applicants or employees for inquiring about, discussing or disclosing their compensation or, in certain circumstances, the compensation of others.
Among the ways OFCCP protects employees of companies doing business with the federal government, and educates these companies about their rights and obligations, is conducting quality compliance evaluations and complaint investigations.
The Federal Contract Compliance Manual (hereafter referred to as the “FCCM” or the “Manual”) does not establish substantive agency policy. Therefore, if there is an inconsistency between material in the Manual and OFCCP’s policies and its implementing regulations, the latter two are controlling. OFCCP continues to use directives and other issuances to communicate substantive policy guidance, procedures and agency enforcement priorities to its compliance officers (COs) and covered contractors and subcontractors. This Manual is subject to change without public notice. The FCCM does not create new legal rights or requirements, or change current legal rights or requirements for federal contractors. The official sources for contractors’ compliance obligations remain Executive Order 11246, as amended; Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 503), as amended; the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) of 1974, as amended; OFCCP’s regulations at 41 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Chapter 60; and applicable case law.
This revised FCCM provides new and experienced COs with the procedural framework for executing quality and timely compliance evaluations and complaint investigations. It provides procedural and technical guidance on compliance issues based on current agency procedures and processes, and improves efficiency and consistency across the agency’s regional and field offices. It may also provide covered contractors and subcontractors more transparency, certainty, and clarity about basic OFCCP procedures and processes. That said, there might be slight differences between regions and offices because some discretion remains with COs and their supervisors as to the best way to manage individual compliance evaluations and investigations within the framework created by the Manual. Remember, these differences should be minor and should occur infrequently because one of the goals of the Manual is standardization. All references to the terms “compliance officer” and CO in this Chapter and throughout the Manual include any OFCCP employee that is responsible for the tasks or activities described.
The Manual has eight chapters, a list of key words and phrases, a glossary and several attachments, including sample forms and letters. The chapters cover how OFCCP’s COs, and others responsible for conducting the activities covered in the Manual, conduct a desk audit, an on-site review, a construction industry compliance evaluation, a corporate management compliance evaluation and a complaint investigation. It also covers the agency’s functional affirmative action program (FAAP), the various types of discrimination remedies and ways to resolve noncompliance issues.
The national office wishes to acknowledge the contributions of our regional and field staff during the development of this revised Manual. Their insight and experience greatly enriched this Manual. The agency is dedicated to providing its COs with ongoing support and training because we believe that a well-trained workforce is an effective workforce. We will continue supplementing the processes and procedures in this Manual with uniform staff training and by providing other appropriate resources.