U.S. Department of Labor Revises Memorandum of Understanding On Coordination of Civil Rights Enforcement
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) revised the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) it has with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on the coordination functions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Executive Order 11246.
“The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is pleased to renew and update its Memorandum of Understanding with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and to add the Department of Justice to this agreement for the first time. The updated and broadened memorandum will help OFCCP, EEOC and the Department of Justice to coordinate in the effective and efficient enforcement of civil rights laws for the benefit of America’s workforce,” said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Craig E. Leen.
OFCCP and EEOC first entered into this MOU in 1970 to further the objectives of Congress under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (Title VII), in coordination with Executive Order 11246, 30 FR 12319, as amended, and Executive Order 12067, 43 FR 28967 – EEOC’s government-wide coordination authority. This MOU has broadly promoted interagency coordination in the enforcement of equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws and has also served to maximize effort, promote efficiency and eliminate conflict, competition, duplication; and inconsistency among the operations, functions and jurisdictions of the parties to the MOU.
The revised MOU strengthens and streamlines interagency coordination in the enforcement of EEO laws. Major revisions include:
- Provisions allowing OFCCP greater latitude to retain individual complaints of discrimination against government contractors while continuing to provide for referral to the EEOC as a matter of discretion. The change ensures a role for OFCCP in addressing invidious discrimination against individual employees, changing a previous policy under which OFCCP was required to refer most such dual-filed complaints to EEOC;
- The inclusion of the Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division (DOJ) to the MOU as a signatory. The DOJ’s involvement will help ensure that the agencies take a consistent approach to the complex enforcement and legal issues that arise under EEO laws. The MOU now requires OFCCP and EEOC to consult with the DOJ regarding cases that raise issues of law that are novel, unsettled or may have significant precedential value;
- The adoption of several measures to ensure that senior officials at all three agencies are directly involved in the ongoing coordination efforts pursuant to the MOU;
- The inclusion of federal protections for religious liberty and conscience protections as an area of focus for coordination efforts; and
- Using the MOU as their charter, OFCCP, EEOC and the DOJ will collaborate further on civil rights enforcement to remedy discrimination successfully.
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.