On July 7, 2011, the Department of Labor released its regulatory agenda for the next 6-12 months. The agenda for the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) contains five items: compensation, construction, veterans, disabilities, and sex discrimination. OFCCP hosted a live Q&A session on its regulatory agenda on July 12, confirming its new aggressive approach.
OFCCP’s regulatory plans for the next 6-12 months are as follows:
- Compensation. OFCCP has been increasing its enforcement efforts in the compensation arena. Part of its toolbox to combat compensation discrimination may be a new “compensation data collection tool.” OFCCP intends to propose a new way for it to identify contractors that are “likely” violating the law and to conduct establishment-specific, contractor-wide, and industry-wide analyses. OFCCP’s initial target for issuing these new compensation regulations was June 2011—a target OFCCP has already missed. However, be on the look-out for these proposed regulations to be published soon.
- Construction. OFCCP intends to issue a proposed rule to “strengthen and enhance” the affirmative action program requirements for federal and federally assisted construction contractors, particularly concerning recruitment and job training. OFCCP’s target deadline to issue its proposed construction regulations is November 2011.
- Veterans. OFCCP previously released a proposed rule which sought to expand the information OFCCP collects on veterans as well as to expand the requirements in affirmative action plans that concern veterans. The comment period has now closed, and OFCCP is determining what the final veterans regulations will contain. In the Q&A session, OFCCP noted that it would not withdraw its proposed regulations, which is what several commenters had requested. OFCCP further stated that it anticipated a final rule by Spring 2012.
- Disabilities. OFCCP intends to issue a proposed rule “to increase linkages and conduct more substantive analyses of recruitment and placement actions” for individuals with disabilities. OFCCP’s target deadline to issue its proposed disabilities regulations is August 2011.
- Sex discrimination. Existing OFCCP regulations concerning discrimination based on sex are more than 30-years old. OFCCP intends to issue a proposed rule to update these regulations. OFCCP’s target deadline to issue its proposed sex discrimination regulations is February 2012.
OFCCP’s regulatory agenda demonstrates that it intends to aggressively enforce the laws under its jurisdiction and, where appropriate, strengthen the regulations that implement those laws. Federal contractors should take the time to review and update their affirmative action plans as well as their practices and procedures, to ensure compliance with OFCCP’s laws.