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U.S. Department of Labor Announces Best Year for Compliance Assistance By Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) had the best year for compliance assistance and the second highest year for monetary settlements for fiscal year (FY) 2020.
OFCCP is dedicated to its important mission of ensuring equal employment opportunity and nondiscrimination in employment for the approximately 25 percent of the American workforce employed by federal contractors. The agency had its most productive period in history during the Trump Administration. In FY 2019, OFCCP set the record for recoveries at $40.6 million, almost double any other year since the agency’s inception in 1965. OFCCP continued this level of productivity in FY 2020 during the pandemic, with recoveries of $35.6 million, the second highest year in history. From FY 2017 through FY 2020, the agency recovered approximately $117 million in remedies for protected class members. As a point of comparison, the recoveries in this four-year period exceed the recoveries in the previous nine-year period of FY 2008-2016 combined. These monetary amounts are primarily remedies for race and sex discrimination in employment, predominantly in hiring and compensation.
“These results reflect our policy of strong compliance assistance efforts alongside vigorous enforcement of the law,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia.
“I am very pleased that the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs continues to achieve extraordinary success in accomplishing its critical mission of enforcing affirmative action and nondiscrimination obligations in employment,” said OFCCP Director Craig E. Leen.
In FY 2020, OFCCP expanded its focused review initiative to include the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act, Promotions and Accommodations – in addition to the Section 503-focused reviews that the agency began conducting in FY 2019. A focused review is restricted to one or more components of the federal contractor’s organization or one or more aspects of the contractor’s employment practices. The agency publishes compliance assistance and best practices in conjunction with these reviews.
Additionally, OFCCP established the Early Resolution Procedures Program in fiscal year 2019 to facilitate earlier resolution of cases on an enterprise-wide or multi-establishment basis. Since then, this program has led to 29 Early Resolution Conciliation Agreements comprising $47.4 million in back pay, $4.5 million in salary adjustments, 2,071 job offers and ongoing monitoring of approximately 525,000 employees to ensure equal employment opportunity.
OFCCP is diligently working with minority-serving institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and the Asian Pacific Islander American Association of Colleges and Universities. The agency seeks to link these institutions with federal contractors to expand the talent pool and assist contractors in achieving their EEO goals.
The agency responded effectively to the operational challenges of working remotely and set records for compliance assistance as measured by its Help Desk inquiries and responses. In fiscal year 2020, OFCCP responded to 4,765 total inquiries, comprised of 3,477 calls and 1,288 written questions, which is a record for total responses. These results reflect a 44 percent increase over the responses that OFCCP provided to written questions in fiscal year 2019. OFCCP also published on its website opinion letters to provide guidance on the application of OFCCP regulations to fact‐specific situations and answers to frequently asked questions; and launched landing webpages dedicated to specific issues, such as the misuse of prescription drugs, employment of Native and Indian American workers, and focused reviews initiative.
OFCCP enforces Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These laws, as amended, make it illegal for contractors and subcontractors doing business with the federal government to discriminate in employment because 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 have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their compensation or the compensation of others subject to certain limitations, and may not retaliate against applicants or employees for engaging in protected activities. These laws also require that federal contractors provide equal employment opportunity through affirmative action. For more information, please call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit https://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.