The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the National Industry Liaison Group recently hosted a panel discussion regarding the agency’s practices for investigating potential compensation discrimination.
The NILG is an association of federal contractors focused on collaborating with the OFCCP, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and other agencies to facilitate effective communication between the government and the contracting community. (Full disclosure: I am Legal Counsel to the NILG Board.)
The panel included representatives from the OFCCP, such as Robert LaJeunesse, Branch Chief for Expert Services, and David Garber, Labor Economist. The NILG provided the following labor economists and industrial/occupational psychologists:
The focus of the dialogue was the OFCCP’s Directive 2018-05, Analysis of Contractor Compensation Practices During a Compliance Evaluation, and ways that it could be improved. The highly technical discussion lasted more than two hours, and was robust and wide-ranging. Hundreds attended the event in person and by webinar.
The panelists praised and criticized the OFCCP’s compensation Directive. Elements of the Directive that generated praise included the following:
Components of the Directive that panelists highlighted as potential problems included the following:
The panel’s recommendations included the following:
Like I said – a “highly technical” discussion!
Although receptive to the experts’ views, the agency representatives defended current practices. In particular, the OFCCP stated that the creation of large PAGs is essential to examining data for patterns that demonstrate potential discrimination. If the agency confines itself to examining smaller SSEGs, they said, nothing would constitute a pattern, and discrimination would go unremedied.
As the OFCCP becomes more sophisticated in analyzing compensation, contractors must as well. The current Directive provides a preliminary roadmap for contractors in conducting self-evaluations, but the contracting community hopes that the OFCCP takes the recommendations to heart and provides more clarity, consistency, and accuracy for federal contractors striving to ensure pay equity.
We hope that this conversation will continue, so don’t forget to register for the NILG 2020 National Conference, which will be held July 28-31 in National Harbor, Maryland.
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