On June 29, 2023, in a 6-3 decision authored by Chief Justice Roberts, Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, the U.S. Supreme Court held that college and university race-conscious admission decisions at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14
Tracey focuses on assisting federal contractors, including healthcare, life sciences and education clients, in compliance with employment laws and regulations.
She co-leads the firm's OFCCP and affirmative action compliance team, which uses data analytics to assess federal contractors’ employment and personnel processes and compensation systems for compliance with OFCCP regulations. She strategically designs and prepares written affirmative action plans using a bifurcated approach that provides clients with additional confidential analyses and narratives protected by the attorney-client privilege. She further assists clients with other OFCCP obligations, including implementation of outreach and recruitment efforts in conjunction with placement goals, applicant tracking issues, review of job descriptions, and other support and guidance to ensure compliance and minimize the risk of the liability in the event of an audit.
Husch Blackwell attorney Tracey O’Brien has posted about the new guidelines OFCCP released on veteran hiring benchmarks, reducing the national annual benchmark to 5.4%. Continue Reading OFCCP Publishes Annual Veteran Hiring Benchmark and New Self-Identification of Disability Form
Effective March 31, 2023, OFCCP rescinded the Trump administration’s Final Rule, Implementing Legal Requirements Regarding the Equal Opportunity Clause’s Religious Exemption (Final Rule). The Final Rule was issued in December 2020, during the waning days of the Trump administration. While the text of OFCCP regulation, 41 C.F. R. 60-1.5(a)(5) (OFCCP religious exemption), was not changed by the Final Rule, the Final Rule did add 1) a new paragraph with definitions to terms used in the religious exemption under Executive Order 11246 (E.O. 11246), and 2) a new rule of construction applicable to the religious exemption. The recission of the Final Rule follows OFCCP’s March 1, 2023 recission of Directive 2018-03, which contained the legal interpretations and policies reflected in the Final Rule.Continue Reading OFCCP Rescinds 2020 Final Rule Regarding Religious Exemption
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has made several announcements, including Directives, Notices, and Proposals in their quest to embark on initiatives that significantly impact federal contractors’ affirmative action obligations. Continue Reading Changes and Challenges Relating to Affirmative Action Obligations Federal Contractors Face in 2023
The Department of Energy through the Office of Science has announced that beginning in FY 2023, all DOE funding solicitations, including the Office of Science Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) and DOE National Lab Announcements, will require applicants to submit as an appendix to proposal narratives, a “Promoting Inclusive and Equitable Research (PIER) Plan.” The purpose of the PIER Plan is to “describe the activities and strategies applicants will incorporate to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in their research projects.” According to the Office of Science’s announcement, the Office of Science will evaluate PIER Plans as “part of the merit review process,” and they “will be used to inform funding decisions.” Applications without PIER Plans will be considered “incomplete” and “will not be evaluated.”Continue Reading DOE Office of Science Adds Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Requirement to Solicitation Process
- Federal contractors and subcontractors who filed Type 2 EEO-1 Reports for the years 2016-2020 are advised that the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) intends to release the data from such filed EEO-1 Reports unless they file written objections asserting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) objections by no later than September 19, 2022.
When Congress enacted the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 in December 2019, Congress included the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2019 (the Act). The Act, in relevant part, restricts federal contractors from requesting criminal history information from certain job applicants until after the applicant has received a conditional offer…