The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has issued Directive (DIR) 2018–04 to provide guidance for federal contractors on enforcement and compliance practices regarding upcoming focused contractor reviews for the 2019 fiscal year.
OFCCP is in the process of implementing an initiative to conduct focused reviews on select groups affected by Executive Order 11246 (E.O.), Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA). These laws “prohibit, federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. They also require federal contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative steps to ensure equal employment opportunity in their employment processes.” Additionally, these laws require equity in compensation practices, something the OFCCP also reviews.
The directive indicates that OFCCP will come onsite and conduct a comprehensive review of a contractor’s compliance with the specific area of the focused review. For example, in a Section 503 focused review, the compliance officer would review policies and practices of the contractor related solely to Section 503 compliance, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. The review would include interviews with managers responsible for equal employment opportunity and Section 503 compliance (such as the ADA coordinator) as well as employees affected by those policies. OFCCP would also seek to evaluate hiring and compensation data, as well as the handling of accommodation requests, to ensure that individuals with disabilities are not being discriminated against in employment.
The agency said a similar approach would be used in a VEVRAA or E.O. focused review to ensure compliance with equal employment opportunity and anti-discrimination obligations.
The exact method that will be used to conduct the reviews has yet to be determined. Organizations should look for updates issued by the OFCCP on how these focused reviews will be undertaken by OFCCP staff.
Earlier this year the OFCCP issued Directive 2018-01, which explained standardizing the use of Predetermination Notices (PDN) in an effort to increase transparency and communication about preliminary findings of discrimination in compliance evaluations of federal contractors.
Contractors should review their practices for hiring to ensure they are in accordance with OFCCP policies and regulations. As the OFCCP issues more guidance on complying with their initiative to enforce employee protection laws, contractors should get a head start.