U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Announces New Policies to Increase Transparency
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced two directives focused on providing more transparency in OFCCP activities as an essential tool for promoting compliance. These directives, which continue the goals of the Department's recently announced Office of Compliance Initiatives (OCI), encourage and facilitate fair and transparent OFCCP compliance evaluations, and OFCCP efficiency and consistency:
- Transparency in OFCCP Compliance Activities: Over the last several months, OFCCP has taken several steps to improve transparency, cooperation, and communication with federal contractors. This directive further extends OFCCP's transparency initiative to every stage of a compliance evaluation to facilitate consistency, improve efficiency and collaborative resolution, and also supports contractors' ability to conduct meaningful self-audits to proactively identify and address issues with their employment practices.
- OFCCP Ombuds Service: The Government Accountability Office found in a 2016 report that "[s]takeholders and contractors identified various reasons for not using OFCCP compliance assistance, including: fear that asking OFCCP for assistance would call attention to them and possibly make them a target for future OFCCP enforcement actions, such as compliance evaluations…." OFCCP received similar comments and concerns during subsequent Compliance Assistance Town Halls and stakeholder meetings. This external stakeholder perception and experience, even if not routine, can erode confidence and trust in OFCCP to effectively carry out its mission. The new OFCCP initiative establishes a mechanism through which external stakeholders can share their concerns about a particular open matter or provide general feedback or recommendations to improve the administration of the agency.
"We believe transparency makes us a more engaged and effective organization and these initiatives demonstrate OFCCP's commitment to improve results for American workers through participating in the Department-wide compliance assistance program," said Acting Director Craig E. Leen.
"These directives will promote greater compliance with and understanding of equal employment opportunity for government contractors," said Acting Assistant Secretary for Policy Jonathan Berry.
OFCCP enforces federal laws that prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. In addition, contractors and subcontractors are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees because they inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or that of others, subject to certain limitations.
OCI – housed within the Department of Labor's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy – fosters a compliance assistance culture within the Department designed to complement its ongoing enforcement efforts. This Office focuses on helping enforcement agencies more effectively use online resources to deliver information and compliance assistance to help the American people. In August 2018, OCI launched Worker.gov and Employer.gov to provide information about workers' rights and the responsibilities of job creators toward their workers.