President Obama’s victory all but guarantees the employment practices of federal contractors will continue to be subject to aggressive scrutiny by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”). Patricia Shiu, OFCCP Director, recently provided the following observations regarding enforcement:
- “Our job, at OFCCP, is to see to it that the doors of opportunity are open – and remain open – for all workers, even if we have to pry those doors open from time to time.”
- “Now, it’s not that companies are violating the law more today than they were four years ago. It’s that my compliance officers are doing their jobs and really looking at every aspect of compliance.”
In addition to confirming the OFCCP’s continued committment to agressive enforcement, Ms. Shiu recently announced the target dates for releasing the long-anticipated (and hotly-debated) revised federal contractor affirmative action regulations:
- APRIL 2013 – OFCCP to Release (1) Revised “VEVRAA” Rules; and (2) Revised Rules Interpreting Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act
- “VEVRAA” is the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act. It is anticipated the revised rules will eliminate the “good faith effort” standard and require contractors to establish specific numerical recruitment and placement goals for qualified veteran applicants and employees.
- Section 503 requires federal contractors to make good faith efforts to employ individuals with disabilities. Under the revised rules, it is anticipated contractors will be required to set specific numerical utilization goals for disabled employees and improve their record-keeping methods regarding the employment levels of disabled individuals.
- OCTOBER 2013 – OFCCP to Release Revised Regulations for Federal Contractors in the Construction Industry
- The stated goal of the revised regulations is to modernize affirmative action compliance in the construction industry. Construction federal contractors are anxiously awaiting these revised rules since the regulations have not been updated since 1980.
Although it is not uncommon for the Government to miss its stated target dates, all indications are that there will be regulations released in 2013 which will significantly impact and heighten the affirmative action obligations of federal contractors. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and provide you with on-going updates