U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Announces New Policies
WASHINGTON, DC– The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) today announced three directives aimed at establishing an opinion letter process and enhancing OFCCP’s Help Desk, establishing a process to resolve compliance evaluations at the earliest stage possible with corporate-wide compliance, and clarifying the Agency’s compliance review procedures.
These three directives reinforce OFCCP’s commitment to fulfilling its enforcement mission with more accountability and efficiency, as well as the Department’s efforts to maximize the effectiveness of compliance assistance outreach to assist contractors in meeting their responsibilities.
- Opinion Letters and Help Desk:This directive outlines steps OFCCP will take to enhance its existing Help Desk, which allows contractors to make inquiries by phone or email regarding a variety of topics. OFCCP plans to enhance its Help Desk by making certain Help Desk inquiries and responses dynamically available and searchable as a self-service option on OFCCP’s website. This self-service option would allow stakeholders to benefit from prior inquiries and lead to greater efficiencies in OFCCP Help Desk operations. Joining other agencies, OFCCP also plans to incorporate the use of opinion letters as part of guidance to employers, employees, and the public. Fact-specific guidance in opinion letters about OFCCP’s jurisdictional coverage or application of regulations or guidance will provide more certainty about how OFCCP exercises its authority.
- Early Resolution Procedures (ERP): In an effort to resolve supply and service compliance evaluations at the earliest stage possible with corporate-wide compliance, this directive establishes OFCCP’s new Early Resolution Procedures (ERP) and outlines general guidelines for implementation. These procedures will help contractors and OFCCP achieve their mutual goal of equal employment opportunity in federal contracting and reduce the length of compliance evaluations by resolving problems expeditiously. ERP also allows OFCCP and contractors with multiple establishments to more efficiently promote corporate-wide compliance with OFCCP’s requirements.
- Compliance Review Procedures: This directive emphasizes that compliance reviews will be governed by OFCCP’s Federal Contract Compliance Manual (FCCM) and other recent directives that shorten full desk audits and conciliate violations more efficiently. The directive rescinds Directive 2011-01, Active Case Enforcement (ACE) Procedures, which established procedures to replace abbreviated desk audits with full desk audits. The ACE procedures replaced the former Active Case Management (ACM) procedures, which focused enforcement efforts on cases with indicators of systemic discrimination under the Executive Order, through abbreviated and generally shorter desk audits. Since OFCCP issued DIR 2011-01, the Agency has embedded the most effective parts of ACE and ACM into its standard operating policies and procedures, so the ACE directive no longer needs to be a freestanding guidance document.
“When we find violations, we want to remedy matters expeditiously to benefit Americans. At OFCCP, today’s directives show our commitment to preventing violations from occurring by working with federal contractors to ensure they understand the compliance evaluation process, receive clear answers to their inquiries, and have the necessary tools and resources to comply with their obligations,” said OFCCP Acting Director Craig E. Leen.
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.