The just-concluded 2019 ILG National Conference in Milwaukee brought together more than 840 Affirmative Action, EEO, and D&I professionals, industry experts, and representatives from several agencies to discuss new trends and developments in OFCCP and EEO compliance and network with other practitioners in the field. Overall, it was a well-attended event with OFCCP Director Craig Leen and EEOC Commissioner Victoria Lipnic offering much-anticipated updates on key compliance topics.
EEO for IWDs is a Focus
Director Leen’s message was very clear: “We need to view persons with disabilities the same way we view women, minorities, veterans, and other protected groups.” With disability unemployment numbers showing at 20%, he is challenging the agency and federal contracting community to provide as much emphasis on EEO for IWDs as they do for race and gender. The agency also provided insight into what contractors can expect in the Section 503 Focused Reviews. Deputy Director Tina Williams mentioned that contractors can expect OFCCP to be onsite for a week to look at records, interview managers and employees, and evaluate employer policies and practices, such as disability accommodations, as well as hiring and compensation data.
VEVRAA and Promotions Focused Reviews
Leen announced that the OFCCP plans to issue another CSAL list that will include VEVRAA Focused Reviews sometime in November in time for Veterans Day.
Additionally, he also announced agency plans to conduct Focused Reviews in the spring of 2020 to evaluate promotions as an area of potential discrimination, and the possibility that some compensation disparity cases may actually be promotion discrimination cases. As part of the Promotions Focused Reviews, the OFCCP will be looking at parental leave policies, because unequal parental leave policies may have the unintended consequence of steering men and women to certain job tracks.
The Director also encouraged contractors to consider Functional Affirmative Action Plans (FAAPs), in lieu of establishment AAPs, especially following the welcome changes the agency recently made to the program, such as eliminating the mandatory audit requirement during the FAAP term, extending the audit moratorium from 2 to 3 years, and not considering the contractor’s compliance history when reviewing FAAP applications.
A key message that was emphasized over and over again during the conference is that contractors should be evaluating the effectiveness of their outreach efforts and OFCCP will be looking at steps contractors have taken or plan to take to improve the effectiveness of their outreach efforts. It is not enough to simply communicate job openings to community organizations; contractors need to be building relationships and engaging community organizations to secure the referral of qualified candidates.
EEO-1 Component 2 Pay Data Reporting Will Not Be Stayed
EEOC Commissioner Victoria Lipnic made it clear during her speech that there is no stopping the Component 2 Pay Data collection. Employers with 100 or more employees will have to submit the W-2 wages and hours worked information to EEOC by September 30, 2019.
New Compliance Guides
As expected, in time for the conference, OFCCP released an Opinion Letter that provides guidance on whether or not student workers should be included in an AAP and defined what it considered a student worker.
On the last day of the conference, the agency also published new compliance assistance guides to help federal contractors and subcontractors understand the agency’s regulations and initiatives.
Last year, during the Anaheim conference, Director Leen spoke to the group about the four principles of the agency, which are: transparency, certainty, efficiency, and recognition.
OFCCP is certainly delivering on the transparency principle by providing more information to contractors and we expect this to continue in the months ahead.