Department of Labor
Former OFCCP Acting Director Moving to Training Agency
April 17, 2018
Thomas Dowd, the acting director of the OFCCP during the 2017 presidential transition, is leaving OFCCP for a position with the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration division. Under his direction in fiscal year 2017, OFCCP collected a record $23 million in workplace discrimination settlements. Dowd was praised for his professional development work and investment in leadership, particularly while heading the OFCCP during the transition. Dowd joined OFCCP in 2011 as the deputy director under Patricia Shiu.
DOL Issues New FLSA Fact Sheet for Higher Education Institutions
April 16, 2018
The DOL's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has issued a new fact sheet describing how "white collar" exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are applicable for jobs often held in higher education institutions. Fact Sheet #17S offers insight specifically into minimum wage and overtime exemptions for these higher education positions, such as teachers, coaches, research assistants, and more.
Wage and Hour Division Releases New Opinion Letters
April 12, 2018
Three new opinion letters have been issued by the DOL's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) to address the following topics: 1) work time under FLSA when employees travel (FLSA2018-18); 2) potential compensation for 15-minute breaks required by an employee's serious health condition (FLSA1018-19); and 3) whether lump-sum payments to employees are "earnings" for garnishment consideration under the Consumer Protection Act (CCPA22018-1NA). Opinion letters represent the agency's policy on how certain laws apply to particular circumstances.
New OFCCP Directive Requires PDNs in All Cases
March 14, 2018
The OFCCP issued a directive requiring all offices to use Predetermination Notices (PDNs) to inform federal contractors that OFCCP found preliminary individual or systemic employment discrimination. Regional discretion, which was previously allowed, is no longer permitted under Directive 2018-01. Contractors will be given 15 calendar days to refute the findings prior to an official Notice of Violation (NOV) being issued.
U.S. Court of Appeals Rules Title VII Covers Transgender Discrimination
March 7, 2018
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit determined that an employee transitioning from one gender to another is covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Federal Court ruled that a funeral home discriminated against its employee by firing the individual when she decided to change her presentation from male to female. The decision by the three-judge panel argued the termination was unlawful as it was related to her transition to a different gender, thus agreeing that transgender status is protected under Title VII on the basis of sex. This victory, which was a reversal of a lower court’s ruling, is the first of its kind for a transgender worker.
Federal Court Says Sexual Orientation Discrimination Prohibited Under Title VII
February 27, 2018
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that discrimination based on sexual orientation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The court in New York overturned a 2017 ruling that did not recognize an individual's sexual orientation as being protected under Title VII when a man claimed he was fired from his job for telling a female customer he was gay. In the Second Circuit's reversal, it argued that "because sexual orientation is a function of sex and sex is a protected characteristic under Title VII, it follows that sexual orientation is also protected." This 10-3 decision means the Second and Seventh Circuits agree sexual orientation falls under Title VII, which is the position that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) supports. However, the Eleventh Circuit does not agree with this assertion, meaning it is likely the U.S. Supreme Court will need to review this issue.
NLRB Brings Back Browning-Ferris Test for Joint Employment
February 26, 2018
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued an order reinstating the Browning-Ferris test as the standard for establishing joint-employer status. Under Browning-Ferris, a company is considered a joint employer if it exercises indirect control over employees.
HIRE Vets Medallion Program Demonstration Accepting Applications
February 2, 2018
The Department of Labor announced the launch of a HIRE Vets Medallion Program Demonstration. This program is designed to recognize employers who make an investment in recruiting, employing, and retaining veterans. The program demonstration is meant to conduct a test of the application, review, and award processes for the HIRE Vets Medallion Program under the HIRE Vets Act, which will launch in 2019. The application period will close on April 30, 2018, or after the DOL receives 300 successfully completed applications. More information is available on the Veterans' Employment and Training Service FAQ.
OFCCP Sends Out 1,000 CSALs
February 1, 2018
The Department of Labor (DOL) confirmed that OFCCP mailed 1,000 Corporate Scheduling Announcement Letters (CSALs) to contractor establishments on February 1, 2018. The CSAL is a courtesy notification informing these establishments that they have been selected to undergo a compliance audit. OFCCP will begin sending out formal Scheduling letters on March 19. Companies receiving CSALs should make use of the additional notice period to start putting together the information that may be requested by OFCCP.
The 2017 EEO-1 Survey Now Available to Employers
January 26, 2018
The annual EEO-1 survey is currently open for employers to submit their 2017 employment data to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Completion of the EEO-1 report is required by federal law for private employers meeting specific criteria listed here. The EEO-1 report presents information about employees' race/ethnicity, gender, and job categories for the previous year. Employers must file their report by March 31, 2018. For additional information, including sample forms, instructions, and an FAQ section, you can visit the EEOC's EEO-1 Survey website.
DOL to Use New Standards for Internships Under FLSA
January 8, 2018
In a recent statement, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) endorsed a new "primary beneficiary" test to determine if interns qualify as employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The primary beneficiary test was introduced by the Second Circuit in Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc. and replaces the "six-factor" test that had been used since 2010. These new standards are designed to offer flexibility on an individual basis to conclude if an intern or student is entitled to minimum wages and overtime pay under the FLSA.
Ondray Harris Named New OFCCP Director
December 12, 2017
The U.S. The Department of Labor (DOL) announced the appointment of Ondray T. Harris as the new Director of OFCCP as of December 10, 2017. Harris is a former deputy chief of employment litigation for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and joined the Labor Department early in 2017 as a senior advisor in the Employment and Training Administration. Harris has practiced law on management-side labor, as well as serving in cases on behalf of military and federal government officials.
EEOC Seeks Public Comments on Strategic Plan for 2018-2022
December 11, 2017
The EEOC is looking for public input on its draft of the Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2018-2022. The plan acts as an outline to help EEOC accomplish its goals of preventing discrimination and promoting workplace inclusivity through education and enforcement. Executive departments, government corporations, and other agencies are required to submit their development strategies every four fiscal years, which helps to set their budgets and performance objectives. The deadline to submit comments is 5:00 p.m. ET on January 8, 2018.
EEOC Wins First Sexual Orientation Discrimination Case
November 28, 2017
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prevailed in its first sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit, resulting in a judgement against Scott Medical for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. On November 16, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania awarded Dale Massaro $55,500 for being subjected to sex discrimination through persistent and egregious harassment because of his sexual orientation. This is a big milestone in the EEOC’s focus on emerging and developing issues under Title VII’s sex discrimination provisions laid out in the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
Craig Leen Expected to be Named New OFCCP Director
November 14, 2017
The Department of Labor (DOL) has not made a formal announcement, but sources have indicated attorney Craig Leen will soon become the new Director of the OFCCP, taking over for interim Director Tom Dowd. Leen’s appointment would fill the void left by Patricia Shiu, who stepped down in November 2016 after seven years in the position. Leen is currently the City Attorney for Coral Gables, Florida and has been an adjunct professor at Florida International University (FIU) College of Law. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, who Leen would report to, was the Dean at FIU’s College of Law.
HIRE Vets Medallion Program to Recognize Commitment to Veteran Hiring
November 11, 2017
Starting in 2018, the Department of Labor (DOL) will implement the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act, known as the HIRE Vets Act. This Final Rule was signed by President Trump in May, establishing a HIRE Vets Medallion Program to acknowledge companies dedicated to recruiting and employing veterans. Organizations of all sizes can demonstrate their commitment to veterans during the upcoming year to qualify for a 2019 HIRE Vets Medallion Award. Companies can sign up here to get updated information.
EEOC Conducting New Training on Harassment Prevention
October 14, 2017
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has created a new program to provide unique training for harassment prevention in the workplace. This program includes two types of training conducted by the EEOC Training Institute: one designed for supervisors (Leading for Respect) and another geared toward all employees (Respect in the Workplace). This program emphasizes acceptable workplace conduct and behaviors which create a respectful and inclusive environment. The program is customizable for various types of workplaces and is an extension of the Report of the Co-Chairs of the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace.
OFCCP Grants Exemptions to Hurricane Relief Contracts
September 12, 2017
Tom Dowd, Deputy Director of OFCCP, announced that OFCCP is offering a “limited exemption and waiver” on certain requirements for supply, service, and construction contracts created for recovery related to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. The exemption and waiver covers work from September 8, 2017 to December 8, 2017. This timeframe could be extended due to special circumstances and national interest. For more details on each exemption, the DOL has a dedicated FAQ for Hurricane Harvey and an FAQ for Hurricane Irma, respectively.
U.S. Senate Rejects Proposed Merger of OFCCP and EEOC
September 7, 2017
The White House’s proposal to merge OFCCP into the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was rebuffed by the Senate Appropriations Committee. While the Appropriations Bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and related agencies for Fiscal Year 2018 was approved, page 30 of its report on the bill states that “The Committee rejects the budget’s proposal to begin plans to merge the OFCCP with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.” Instead, it advised OFCCP to look for ways to be efficient by consolidating resources and reviewing the organization’s structure throughout the U.S. The committee also instructed OFCCP to report its plans to “right-size the agency 180 days after enactment of the Act.”
DOL’s New Overtime Rules Pronounced Invalid by Federal Court
August 31, 2017
A Texas federal District Court formally invalidated the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed overtime rules, declaring the DOL has “exceeded its authority and gone too far with the Final Rule.” The Federal Court argued the new salary threshold would be too high (nearly doubled under the Final Rule) and it “would essentially make an employee’s duties functions, or tasks irrelevant” in determining overtime eligibility, particularly for executives and administrative staff. Approximately 4 million workers would have been granted overtime pay under the proposed changes. Instead, the permanent injunction against the Final Rule means employers should continue to operate under the current Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations until further action is taken.
EEO-1 Pay Data Collection Put on Hold
August 29, 2017
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently notified the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of its plan to postpone the anticipated pay data collection component within the EEO-1 report. This will allow OMB to review and assess this specific portion of the form. Employers still need to complete the approved EEO-1 form to gather data on race, ethnicity, and gender within occupational categories. The filing deadline is March 2018.
OFCCP Hosting Town Hall Meetings for Public Feedback
August 25, 2017
In an effort to improve the scope and quality of the compliance assistance it provides to federal contractors, OFCCP is holding three Town Hall meetings to get insight from employers and personnel involved with compliance requirements for their organizations. The meetings are open to the public and designed to get viewpoints from individuals with experience in “nondiscrimination and equal employment opportunity requirements.” OFCCP is looking to use the feedback to redesign its fact sheets, webinars, FAQs, Help Desk, and other resources to help contractors understand and comply with the regulations.
2017 VETS-4212 Reporting is Open
August 1, 2017
The filing season for the VETS-4212 2017 reporting cycle is now open, with a deadline for submission dated September 30, 2017. You can find detailed rules and regulations on the Department of Labor website.
Proposed Bill Narrows the Definition of Joint Employment
July 27, 2017
A bill known as the “Save Local Business Act” (H.R. 3441) has been introduced to the House of Representatives, which seeks to clarify the treatment of two or more employers as joint employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). If passed, the bill will impose stricter guidelines on what constitutes “joint employment” and require that there is direct, actual, or immediate control over the terms and conditions of employment, for joint employment to exist.
DOL Submits a Request for Information on the Overtime Rule
July 26, 2017
On Wednesday, July 26, the U.S Department of Labor (DOL) published a formal Request for Information (RFI) regarding the overtime rule, giving the public an opportunity to offer comments and suggestions on a number of details. This RFI seeks feedback on the duties test, various salary test and salary level items, bonus and incentive inclusions, and cost-of-living matters. Responses to the RFI will help the DOL create a new proposal for revising the regulations. Individuals have until September 25, 2017 to comment and can submit their feedback electronically at www.regulations.gov.
USCIS Issues Revised I-9 Form
July 17, 2017
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an updated version of the Form I-9 used to verify an individual’s identity and eligibility to work in the U.S. The form applies to citizens and noncitizens alike. The modifications to the existing form are minor, including areas for additional information and slight changes in language. Employers need to use the latest form by September 17, 2017 or risk paying increased penalties for noncompliance.
DOL Plans on Revising the Proposed Overtime Rule
June 30, 2017
Attorneys for the Department of Labor (DOL) informed the federal appeals court that it has decided not to advocate for the $913 per week salary threshold that was set in the 2016 Final Rule. Instead, it plans on undertaking new rulemaking to determine the appropriate salary level, and has requested the court to confirm the DOL’s statutory authority to set the salary threshold that would make workers eligible for overtime pay.
Janet Dhillon Nominated as EEOC Chair
June 29, 2017
President Trump has chosen Janet Dhillon to fill a vacant seat on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and ultimately lead the EEOC as its Chair. If Dhillon is confirmed, she would take over from Victoria Lipnic, who has presided over the commission as acting Chair. Dhillon currently serves as corporate secretary and general counsel for Burlington Stores, Inc. and has more than 20 years of experience as a lawyer in the private sector.
NILG Opposes Potential OFCCP/EEOC Merger
June 16, 2017
The National Industry Liaison Group (NILG) recently submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor and the Office of Management and Budget to express its opposition to the consolidation of the OFCCP and EEOC noted in President Trump’s 2018 budget. In the letter, NILG argues that a possible merger “will negatively impact federal contractors, and ultimately the American worker.” The main issues cited by NILG include the different missions of the two groups, the chance that audits can become EEOC lawsuits, and the harmful impact on staffing and available resources.
2018 Budget Proposal Provides for OFCCP and EEOC Consolidation
May 23, 2017
President Trump’s recently released 2018 budget proposal calls for OFCCP to be consolidated with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by the end of Fiscal Year 2018. This move would place OFCCP and its responsibilities under the EEOC’s guidance. Fiscal Year 2018 would also be considered a “transition year for OFCCP.” If the budget is approved, OFCCP would incur a loss of 131 full-time employees and reduce its budget by $17.2 million. The stated objective of this transfer is to create consistency with enforcement, increase efficiency, and decrease spending.
DOL Releases Updated Inclusive Workforce Reference Guide
May 9, 2017
The Department of Labor has released an updated version of its step-by-step reference guide to help employers formulate strategies and programs for including people with disabilities in their workforce. This guide provides assistance in areas such as recruiting, hiring, and creating an inclusive culture. Building an Inclusive Workforce was developed by the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and is available to download for free.
Alexander Acosta Sworn in as New Secretary of Labor
April 28, 2017
Alexander Acosta, President Donald Trump’s nominee for United States Secretary of Labor, was officially named to the position on April 28, 2017. Acosta served as the Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and was a member of the National Labor Relations Board.
Appellate Court Rules Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation is Illegal Under Title VII
April 4, 2017
On April 4, 2017, the Seventh Circuit Court found that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This is the first court to rule that discrimination related to sexual orientation falls under “sex discrimination,” which is forbidden under Title VII. This ruling now makes sexual orientation discrimination illegal in the Seventh Circuit Court districts. While the matter remains uncertain in other circuit courts, it strengthens the position taken by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that sexual orientation discrimination is prohibited under Title VII.
Annual VEVRAA Hiring Benchmark Drops to 6.7 Percent
March 31, 2017
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced that the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) hiring benchmark has been adjusted to 6.7 percent. The benchmark reflects the national percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force and is effective as of March 31, 2017. Federal contractors who are required to have a written Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) must establish a hiring benchmark for protected veterans each year or adopt this national benchmark provided by OFCCP. Contractors must compare the percentage of employees who are protected veterans to the hiring benchmark when assessing the effectiveness of their veteran outreach efforts. You can find prior year hiring benchmark data on the DOL website.
Executive Order Plans to Reorganize the Executive Branch and Federal Agencies
March 13, 2017
President Donald Trump issued a new Executive Order to reorganize the executive branch in an effort to improve accountability and efficiency. The order directs the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to come up with a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies. The plan shall include an invitation to the public to suggest improvements for the OMB to consider.
Senate Votes to Rescind the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Regulation
March 6, 2017
In a close vote, the U.S. Senate approved to repeal Executive Order 13673: Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces. The order, best known as the “Blacklisting” Rule, would require all federal contractors to publicly report labor violations. Last October, a Texas judge temporarily stopped the implementation of EO 13673, but the “paycheck transparency” provisions of the regulation still went into effect on January 1, 2017. Now the matter goes to President Trump, who is expected to sign the bill to formally stop the order. This would make Executive Order 13673 invalid and prevent its regulations and requirements from being implemented.
Non-Substantive Change to OFCCP Pay Transparency Provision
February 22, 2017
OFCCP recently added the Regulatory Citation (41 CFR 60-1.35c) to the Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision. Each employer covered by Executive Order 11246 must post this provision and incorporate it in their employee handbooks or manuals. While this change to the provision is non-substantive, the National Industry Liaison Group (NILG) and OFCCP acknowledged that contractors should take action to apply the revised provision as soon as their business practices would allow.
OFCCP Distributes Corporate Scheduling Announcement Letters to 800 Establishments
February 17, 2017
On February 17th, OFCCP sent out 800 Corporate Scheduling Announcement Letters (CSAL) to 375 “distinct companies” across 29 industries. The CSAL gives these establishments advance notice of upcoming audits based on the list generated by the Federal Contractor Selection System (FCSS). The DOL website has an FAQ on items related to this particular round of CSALs. This was categorized as the “first release” of CSALs in 2017; however, there was no indication if or when another round of CSALs will be distributed. This is the first time since July 2014 that the OFCCP has issued CSALs.
EEOC Extends Public Input Period on Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Harassment
February 8, 2017
The EEOC has provided a 40-day extension for the public to provide comments on its proposed enforcement guidance on workplace harassment. This enforcement guidance describes the legal standards and employer liability as it relates to harassment claims. Interested parties are encouraged to comment. The new deadline for public input is March 21, 2017.
OMB Approves the Disability Self-Identification Form for Three Years
January 31, 2017
Effective immediately, federal contractors must use the updated Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability when asking applicants and employees to voluntarily identify if they have a disability. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) renewed the form with a new expiration date of January 31, 2020. No other changes were made to the content of the form. Federal contractors must either download the new form or update their electronic versions to reflect the new date. This is an OMB–approved form and, as such, its content cannot be altered or changed. Use of the self-ID form is valuable for ensuring everyone has an equal employment opportunity and that federal contractors can measure their progress toward hiring individuals with disabilities.
EEOC Seeks Public Input on Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Harassment
January 10, 2017
The EEOC is asking for public input on a proposed enforcement guidance that addresses unlawful harassment. This guidance explains the legal standards and employer liability that apply to harassment claims under federal employment discrimination laws. It sets forth EEOC’s position on harassment law and provides helpful examples and practices. Harassment claims currently make up one-third of all charges received by the EEOC. The guidance is a companion piece to the Task Force Report on Workplace Harassment which identified ways to prevent harassment. The deadline for submission of comments is February 9, 2017.
EEOC Issues Publication on Rights of Individuals with Mental Health Conditions
December 12, 2016
The EEOC released a resource document explaining workplace rights for individuals with mental health conditions under the ADA. The publication details how job applicants and employees with mental health conditions are protected from discrimination and harassment, and have a right to reasonable accommodations. It also contains information on the types of available accommodation, restrictions on employer access to medical information, confidentiality, and the role of EEOC enforcement. This is part of a series which includes the rights of individuals with HIV and individuals who are pregnant.
Federal Court Stops Implementation of New FLSA Overtime Rules
November 22, 2016
A federal district court in Texas issued a preliminary injunction to stop the implementation of the new FLSA Overtime Rule set forth by the DOL, meaning employers do not have to comply with the new overtime rules on December 1st. This decision delays the effective date of the regulations until the Court makes a final determination on the overtime rules. The DOL strongly disagrees with the decision by the Court and is currently considering their legal options.
EEOC Issues Enforcement Guidance on National Origin Discrimination
November 17, 2016
The EEOC updated its enforcement guidance on national origin discrimination in the compliance manual section for the first time since 2002. The proposed guidance addresses issues such as job segregation and intersectional discrimination, while providing direction to employers on recruitment, language requirements, hiring, and promotion. The Commission also issued a question-and-answer publication and a small business fact sheet to highlight major points in the guidance document.
EEOC Posts Webinar Recording about New EEO-1
November 3, 2016
The EEOC has posted a recording of its webinar about the new EEO-1. The webinar provides an overview of the EEO-1, describes the process of reporting and submitting summary pay and hours worked data, and includes examples of how to enter the data on the new form. Resources related to the EEO-1 are available on EEOC’s 2017 EEO-1 Survey page.
EEOC to Collect Summary Pay Data
September 29, 2016
The EEOC announced that it will collect summary pay data from certain employers to identify possible pay discrimination. Private employers, including federal contractors and subcontractors, with 100 or more employees, are required to report pay ranges and hours worked using the new EEO-1 form. The first EEO-1 report with pay data will be due on March 31, 2018 for the 2017 reporting period. For more information and guidance, click here.
DOL Issues Final Rule Requiring Paid Sick Leave for Contractors
September 29, 2016
The Department of Labor published the Final Rule to implement Executive Order 13706, which requires certain federal contractors to provide up to 7 days of paid sick leave per year to their employees. The rule applies to new contracts awarded as well as existing contracts that are renewed or extended on or after January 1, 2017.
EEOC Releases New Online Resource Center for Small Businesses
September 27, 2016
The EEOC released an online Small Business Resource Center (SBRC) to assist small businesses in complying with the anti-discrimination laws enforced by EEOC. The resource center provides information on employers’ responsibilities under these laws, as well as answers to frequently asked questions, guidance in making employment decisions, and tips on a variety of potential workplace discrimination issues.
OFCCP Expands its Mega Construction Project Program
September 23, 2016
OFCCP announced the expansion of its Mega Construction Project (MCP) Program to increase the representation of women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and protected veterans on the nation’s largest construction projects. An MCP is a major construction project valued at $25 million or more that OFCCP selects for focused community outreach, technical assistance, and compliance evaluation, as well as involves community stakeholders at the early stages of the project.
EEOC Issues Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation
August 29, 2016
The EEOC issued its final Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues which outlines the standards it plans to use to prove retaliation under the civil rights and anti-discrimination laws that it enforces. The guidance defines what EEOC considers retaliation, provides examples of protected activity, and lists the types of adverse actions that are prohibited. Retaliation is the leading cause for discrimination claims filed with the EEOC.
DOL and FAR Council Issues Final Regulations and Guidance on E.O. 13673
August 25, 2016
The Department of Labor and the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council have issued the final regulations and guidance to implement the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order (E.O. 13673). The new Executive Order requires prospective contractors to disclose if they have had any labor violations when bidding for a federal contract. It also requires federal agencies to consider labor violations when awarding federal contracts. The disclosure requirement covers 14 different labor laws and a three-year look back period. The final regulations will be implemented in phases beginning October 25, 2016.
Final Rule Revising ADA Title II and Title III Regulations
August 11, 2016
The Department of Justice published a Final Rule revising Title II and Title III regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The revised regulations provide guidance to covered entities under Title II (state and local governments) and Title III (public accommodations and commercial facilities) as well as to persons with disabilities to ensure that all individuals with disabilities receive the law’s protections. In addition to clarifying that the term “disability” shall be interpreted and applied broadly, the regulations expand the definition of “major life activities,” and establish rules in determining whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity. The Final Rule will take effect on October 11, 2016. You can learn more about the new regulations here.
2016 VETS-4212 Reporting is Open
August 1, 2016
The filing season for the VETS-4212 2016 reporting cycle is now open and the filing deadline is September 30.
2016 EEO-1 Reporting is Open
August 1, 2016
The filing season for the EEO-1 2016 reporting cycle is now open and the filing deadline is September 30.
EEOC Announces Second Opportunity for Public Comment on Revised Proposal to Collect Pay Data
July 13, 2016
Following the initial comment period which ended on April 1, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced the publication of a revised proposal to collect summary pay data from employers through the Employer Information Report (EEO-1). In the updated proposal, EEOC adopted suggestions from commenters, such as moving the due date for the EEO-1 survey from September 30, 2017 to March 31, 2018. The proposed revisions will require employers, including federal contractors, with 100 or more employees, to include pay ranges and hours worked to the workforce data on race, ethnicity, sex, and job category that they are currently reporting in the EEO-1 form. The information is meant to assist the EEOC and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) in identifying possible pay discrimination and assist employers in promoting equal pay in their workplaces. Interested parties are encouraged to comment. The deadline to submit feedback is August 15, 2016.
OMB Renews OFCCP Scheduling Letter and Itemized Listing
July 1, 2016
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has renewed the OFCCP’s Scheduling Letter and Itemized Listing for three years through June 30, 2019. The renewed letter contains revisions that further clarify the information that is being requested and includes new language notifying contractors that it may share information obtained during a compliance evaluation with other enforcement agencies within the Department of Labor, as well as other federal civil rights enforcement agencies with which it has information-sharing agreements. You can learn more about the Scheduling Letter and Itemized Listing here.
EEOC Issues Sample Notice For Employers Offering Wellness Programs
June 16, 2016
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a sample notice that will help employers with wellness programs comply with their obligations under a recently issued Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rule. Employers who offer wellness programs and collect employee health information are required to provide this notice to employees informing them of what information will be collected, how it will be used, who will receive it, and what will be done to keep it confidential. A question-and-answer document is available here.
OFCCP Publishes 2016 VEVRAA Benchmark of 6.9 Percent
June 15, 2016
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has published the 2016 Annual Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) Benchmark of 6.9 percent. Contractors who adopted the previous year’s national benchmark of 7 percent after March 4, 2016, but prior to this announcement, may keep their benchmark at 7 percent. For more information about the VEVRAA hiring benchmark, click here.
OFCCP Announces Final Rule Updating Sex Discrimination Guidelines
June 14, 2016
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has announced a Final Rule that prohibits sex discrimination in employment. The Final Rule addresses a variety of sex-based barriers to equal employment and fair pay, including compensation discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environments, a lack of workplace accommodations for pregnant and transgender workers, and family caregiving discrimination. The effective date of the Final Rule is August 15, 2016. Learn more here.
EEOC Increases Penalty for Violating Notice Posting Requirements
June 2, 2016
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a Final Rule increasing the maximum penalty for failure to comply with the notice posting requirements by 150%, from $210 to $525 per violation. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, employers with 15 or more employees are required to post notices that describe the employer’s non-discrimination obligations and must post these in prominent and accessible places. The increase will go into effect on July 5, 2016 and applies to any penalties assessed after this date.
EEOC Issues Proposed Enforcement Guidance on National Origin Discrimination
June 2, 2016
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released a proposed enforcement guidance addressing national origin discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The revised guidance addresses issues including job segregation, human trafficking, and intersectional discrimination. The public is encouraged to comment. The deadline to submit feedback is July 1, 2016.
DOL’s Wage and Hour Division Issues New Overtime Rules
May 17, 2016
The Department of Labor (DOL) has announced its final changes to the overtime rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These rules increase the minimum salary for "white collar" overtime exemptions to $47,476, and include an automatic update to this salary threshold every three years. The new rules take effect on December 1, 2016.
EEOC Issues Final Rules on Employer Wellness Programs
May 16, 2016
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued final rules regarding employer wellness programs. These rules, effective January 1, 2017, describe how Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) apply to wellness programs offered by employers that request health information from employees and their spouses. Question-and-answer documents (ADA and GINA) are available to aid employers.
EEOC Issues Guidance on Leaves of Absence as a Reasonable Accommodation
May 9, 2016
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued new guidance on the use of leaves of absence as a reasonable accommodation. The guidance focuses on six issues: Equal Access to Leave Under an Employer's Leave Policy, Granting Leave as a Reasonable Accommodation, Leave and the Interactive Process, Maximum Leave Policies, Return to Work and Reasonable Accommodation, and Undue Hardship. Learn more on EEOC's website.
OFCCP Publishes Functional Affirmative Action Program Directive
May 9, 2016
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has published its approved Functional Affirmative Action Program directive. This revised directive outlines the procedures contractors must follow when requesting OFCCP’s approval to develop affirmative action programs by business or functional unit. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved OFCCP’s use of the procedures included in the revised directive through April 30, 2019.
VETS 4212 Filing Threshold Increased for 2016 Filing Cycle
April 28, 2016
The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) has increased the threshold that requires federal contractors to submit the VETS 4212 report from $100,000 to $150,000. This increase is effective beginning with the 2016 reporting cycle. The 2016 filing season for the VETS-4212 will start on August 1, 2016 and ends on September 30, 2016. The reporting threshold for 2015 VETS 4212 reports, which were due September 30, 2015, will continue to be $100,000. More information about the change to the threshold can be found on the VETS website.
Veterans’ Employment and Training Service Launches Veterans.gov Website
April 15, 2016
The U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) has launched Veterans.gov, a new website designed to be the first stop in the employment search process for veterans and in the hiring process for employers. In addition to a multitude of resources targeted to job seekers, employers have access to a veteran hiring toolkit including local resources to meet an employer’s hiring needs.
Job Accommodation Network Releases Two New Training Modules
April 15, 2016
The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has announced two new online training modules that are now available on the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) website. The first module, “The Value Proposition for Engaging People with Disabilities,” provides an overview of the value in hiring, retaining, and marketing to people with disabilities. The second module, “Disability Awareness to Increase Your Comfort, Confidence and Competence,” offers tips for creating a more inclusive workplace for individuals with disabilities through language and communication. Each module includes a slideshow, transcript, and resource materials to use as handouts.
Submit Comments About OFCCP Scheduling Letter Revisions
April 1, 2016
The Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed revisions to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) Scheduling Letter and Itemized Listing. These revisions have been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. OFCCP will not be collecting any new or different information. Rather, OFCCP has proposed minor clarifying edits to the Scheduling Letter and Itemized Listing to ensure contractors understand the information being requested and to strengthen the agency’s assurances of confidentiality for the information provided. Interested parties are encouraged to comment. The deadline to submit feedback is May 2, 2016.
ODEP Releases New Web Tool – TalentWorks
March 25, 2016
The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) recently announced the launch of TalentWorks, a free online tool that helps employers and human resources professionals ensure accessibility in their web-based job applications and other recruiting technologies for job seekers with disabilities. ODEP's Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) created the tool after a national survey of people with disabilities found that 46 percent of respondents rated their last experience applying for a job online as "difficult to impossible." TalentWorks provides general background on accessibility and e-Recruiting, as well as practical tip sheets for making online job applications, digital interviews, pre-employment tests, and resume upload programs accessible.
Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors – Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
February 25, 2016
The Department of Labor has issued a proposed rule that shows how they plan to implement President Obama’s Executive Order 13706 which establishes paid sick leave for federal contractors. Employees of federal contractors can earn up to seven days of paid sick leave each year including paid leave for family care. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was published on February 25, 2016, in the Federal Register. Interested parties can submit written comments by March 28, 2016.
EEOC Proposes Changes to EEO-1 Report to Collect Compensation Data
January 29, 2016
EEOC is proposing revisions to its EEO-1 report to require employers (not only federal contractors) - with 100 or more employees - to submit summary data on wages paid to their employees by gender, race, and ethnicity. This data will identify possible pay discrimination and help employers promote equal pay in their workplaces. Read the details and proposal. Employers can submit comments until April 1, 2016.
Pay Transparency Obligations in Effect
January 11, 2016
Executive Order 13665 (“Pay Transparency”) became effective for contracts or subcontracts of more than $10,000 and entered into or modified after January 11, 2016. Under the rule, federal contractors and subcontractors may not fire or discriminate against employees or applicants for discussing, disclosing, or inquiring about their own pay or that of co-workers. The rule requires dissemination of a Pay Transparency Policy Statement, which cannot be modified.
New FAQs about VEVRAA Infographic
December 8, 2015
In August, OFCCP released an infographic to help veterans determine if they are protected under the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), but it caused confusion because it was interpreted that OFCCP expanded the definition of protected veterans. In two VEVRAA FAQs, OFCCP clarified that an "active duty wartime" veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. military (and was not dishonorably discharged) during a "period of war” includes World War II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam era, and the Persian Gulf War defined as August 2, 1990 to the present. Federal contractors and subcontractors can include such veterans in their 44k data and VETS-4212 reporting. However, it does not require changes to the veteran self-id forms.
OFCCP Develops a Reasonable Accommodation Pocket Card
October 19, 2015
OFCCP created a pocket card “Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation” to help applicants, employees, and other interested parties understand the process of requesting a reasonable accommodation.
Disability Video for Self-Identification
October 13, 2015
In conjunction with the Department of Labor’s celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) posted a video, "Disability Inclusion Starts With You," which encourages applicants and employees with disabilities to voluntarily self-identify. The video explains that self-identification is significant in measuring contractors’ progress toward achieving equal employment opportunity for individuals with disabilities. Contractors are encouraged to post the video on their Intranet or company website to share with employees and applicants.
Submit Feedback About VETS-4212 Report
October 12, 2015
The Veteran Employment and Training Services (VETS) is soliciting feedback from Industry Liaison Group (ILG) members regarding the VETS-4212 filing process. If your organization submitted a VETS-4212 report this year, consider sharing your feedback with VETS by filling out this survey. The deadline to submit feedback is Tuesday, October 27, 2015.
September 18, 2015
OFCCP developed a "Jurisdictional Thresholds" infographic to help contractors determine when OFCCP's Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 503), and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) are applicable. The threshold for Section 503 changed from $10,000 to $15,000 due to an inflationary adjustment statute that authorizes the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to review and adjust acquisition-related threshold amounts where necessary.
Minimum Wage Increases
September 16, 2015
The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division issued a notice that the minimum wage rate for workers performing work on or in connection with federal contracts will be $10.15 effective January 1, 2016.
EEO is the Law Supplement
September 11, 2015
OFCCP posted an "EEO is the Law Supplement Poster" on its website. The supplement poster is applicable to federal contractors and subcontractors and includes information about:
- Race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and national origin
- Pay secrecy
- Individuals with disabilities
- Protected veterans
Also, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires such notices to be accessible to applicants and employees with disabilities. Printed notices should be available in an accessible format when needed. Notices can be recorded on an audio file, provided in an electronic format that can be utilized by screen-reading technology, or read to applicants or employees with disabilities as necessary. Learn more on EEOC's website.
Pay Transparency - Final Rule
September 11, 2015
OFCCP published its final rule on implementing Executive Order 13665 also known as the "Pay Transparency" Executive Order. Under the rule, federal contractors and subcontractors may not fire or discriminate against employees for discussing, disclosing, or inquiring about their own pay or that of their co-workers. The rule also protects pay discussions by job applicants. The rule is effective for contracts or subcontracts of more than $10,000 and entered into or modified after January 11, 2016.
EEO-1 Deadline Extended
September 10, 2015
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) extended its deadline for all EEO-1 reports from September 30, 2015 to October 30, 2015. Important changes to be aware of when filing:
- Companies are able to obtain and reset their passwords
- Company locations with the same address and North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) code must consolidate locations into one record
- The requirement to provide the employer identification number (EIN) for each establishment location will be carefully monitored
Paid Sick Leave
September 7, 2015
President Obama signed an Executive Order to establish paid sick leave for federal contractors. Employees of federal contractors can earn up to seven days or more of paid sick leave each year, including paid leave for family care. The regulations will be issued by September 30, 2016, and the Executive Order will go into effect on January 1, 2017.
OFCCP Launches Customer Experience Survey
August 19, 2015
OFCCP deployed a "2015 Customer Experience Survey" to federal contractors that went through a compliance evaluation during the previous four years. The survey was deployed electronically via SurveyMonkey and collects anonymous responses about information on contractors’ experiences during compliance evaluations to identify areas where OFCCP can strengthen its outreach, education, training, and processes moving forward.
August 14, 2015
Due to the recent changes of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) regulations requiring contractors to invite applicants to voluntarily self-identify as protected veterans at the pre-offer and post-offer phases of the application process, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) released an infographic to help veterans easily navigate the "protected veteran" categories to determine their eligibility for coverage under VEVRAA.
503 Checklist Tool
August 12, 2015
OFCCP created a checklist tool to help federal contractors assess their outreach in relation to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. While the tool is not required and does not ensure compliance, it is intended to help contractors determine if they are on the right track.
2015 VETS-4212 Reporting is Open
August 7, 2015
The VETS-4212 website is open for data submissions as the deadline is September 30. For questions, contact the help desk at 866-237-0275.
Comments to OFCCP About Functional Affirmative Action Plan Directive
July 16, 2015
The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, posted a notice in the federal register requesting comments until September 14, 2015 about its directive regarding functional affirmative action plans, which focus on employees from specific functions or units as opposed to a particular establishment or location. Federal contractors can submit comments electronically.
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Overtime
July 6, 2015
The Department of Labor published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to update overtime regulations. The NPRM was published in the Federal Register on July 6, 2015. Comments are being collected until September 4, 2015.
Reminder: Make Websites Accessible
June 26, 2015
The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed "Statements of Interest" in cases against Harvard and MIT filed by the National Association of the Deaf. The lawsuits allege that the universities violated the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act because online video content was not captioned. This serves as a good reminder that the DOJ expects public accommodations to make their websites accessible to individuals with disabilities, despite the absence of a final regulation on the subject.
OFCCP Website Adds Information on Visa Denials for Contractors’ Employees
June 3, 2015
The U.S. Department of Labor’s OFCCP website was updated to include recent information detailing the proper course of action for federal contractors whose employees or prospective employees are denied a visa by a foreign government. If the contractor suspects that the denial is based on a prohibited factor, such as the employee’s race, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, OFCCP outlines a few guidelines for resolving the issue.
OSHA Publishes Guide to Providing Restroom Access for Transgendered Employees
June 1, 2015
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a best practices guide to providing restroom access for transgendered employees in the workplace. The guide outlines a few policy options, as well as specific federal, state, and local regulations for restroom access.
OFCCP Posts New Sample AAPs
May 27, 2015
OFCCP added sample Affirmative Action Plans (AAPs) to its website for informational purposes. The AAP sample plans were designed for companies with fewer than 150 employees, but contain information that larger employers can use for guidance. The three sample plans have specific areas of focus, including: Executive Order 11246 (Equal Employment Opportunity), Section 503, and VEVRAA.
OFCCP Decreases VEVRAA Hiring Benchmark to 7 Percent
April 21, 2015
As a result of its annual review of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) hiring benchmark, OFCCP changed the national veterans hiring benchmark to 7 percent – which is slightly less than the previous benchmark of 7.2 percent. OFCCP also updated the national and state information for federal contractors and subcontractors who use an individualized hiring benchmark. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Labor website.
EEOC Proposes Rule on Company Wellness Programs
April 16, 2015
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on employer wellness programs. The proposed rule aims to change the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations and interpretive guidance for company health programs. The rule, if enacted, would enforce regulations such as:
- Ensuring that all wellness programs are voluntary
- Mandating that medical information obtained as part of a wellness program must be kept confidential
- Requiring companies to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities to participate in a wellness program
LGBT Workplace Discrimination Order Goes into Effect
April 8, 2015
President Obama’s LGBT Workplace Discrimination Executive Order is effective. Signed by the President on July 21, 2014, the executive order bans federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against applicants or employees on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. The new law also provides protection for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees of government contractors. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Labor's OFCCP website.
Help OFCCP Shape Smarter Regulations
March 13, 2015
The Department of Labor (DOL) issued a press release stating that it is reviewing existing regulations to update rules that could be out of date, ineffective, insufficient, or burdensome to contractors. Through an interactive "Shaping Smarter Regulations" website, the DOL is asking the public for ideas about which rules should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or even repealed. The open suggestion period will end on April 1, 2015.
LGBT Resources for Federal Contractors
February 10, 2015
LGBT resources were provided by OFCCP and include information from both the public and private sectors, and will be updated periodically. This non-exhaustive directory contains organizations and other entities that offer resources and guidance to employers around issues related to creating an inclusive workforce for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees.
Employing Individuals with Disabilities Resource Guide
February 3, 2015
"Recruiting, Hiring, Retaining, and Promoting People with Disabilities" is a guide that identifies relevant federal and federally funded resources for employers looking to recruit, hire, retain, and promote individuals with disabilities. This resource was released by the White House Domestic Policy Council and the Curb Cuts to the Middle Class Initiative at the White House Summit on Disability and Employment.
Sex Discrimination NPRM
January 28, 2015
OFCCP announced the publication of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to revise and replace its Sex Discrimination Guidelines. The NPRM was published in the Federal Register. View and comment here.
OFCCP Posts Two New FAQs
January 20, 2015
OFCCP added two new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to its website concerning the new VETS-4212 reporting form and voluntary self-identification requirement for protected veterans. The first FAQ addresses the process of inviting self-identification of protected veterans at the post-offer stage, and the second FAQ explains whether contactors may continue to invite applicants to voluntarily self-identify as a protected veteran.