In the last 10 daysOFCCP has published several new policy directives. The first release was What Federal Contractors Can Expect- a document that outlined expectations for interactions between OFCCP and companies doing business with the federal government, federal contractors and subcontractors. Included are:
- Access to accurate compliance assistance material
- Timely responses to compliance assistance questions
- Opportunities to provide meaningful feedback and collaborate
- Professional conduct by OFCCP’s compliance staff
- Neutral scheduling of compliance evaluations
- Reasonable opportunity to discuss compliance evaluation concerns
- Timely and efficient progress of compliance evaluations
Additionally, OFCCP released four new directives including:
- Analysis of Contractor Compensation Practices During a Compliance Evaluation which replaces Directive 307 and outlines standard procedures for reviewing contractor compensation practices during a Compliance Review. This emphasizes OFCCP’s priority of eliminating pay discrimination through enforcement by OFCCP, and compliance by contractors through proactive self-auditing.
- Affirmative Action Program Verification Initiative: The purpose of this directive is to implement a verification process with the objective of ensuring that all covered federal contractors are meeting the most basic equal employment opportunity regulatory requirement, namely, the preparation of a written Affirmative Action Program and annual updates to that program.
- Contractor Recognition Programs will recognize contractors with high-quality and high-performing compliance programs and initiatives. These programs should have a record of accomplishment related to nondiscrimination and providing applicants and employees with equal employment opportunity under the laws enforced by the OFCCP.
- Religious Exemption directive states “In line with longstanding constitutional requirement that government must permit individuals and organizations, in all but the most narrow circumstances, to participate in a government program “without having to disavow (their) religious character”, OFCCP staff are instructed to take these legal developments into account in all their relevant activities, including when providing compliance assistance, processing complaints, and enforcing the requirements of E.O. 11246.
None of these directives create new compliance requirements for employers at this point. Additional information is anticipated from OFCCP as they begin to implement the initiatives regarding AAP verification and contractor recognition. The pace of OFCCP’s activity following the recent NILG conference demonstrates that the agency is making good on their commitments to transparency and compliance assistance.