On August 11, 2017, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a consent decree for B&H Foto & Electronics Corp. to resolve allegations of hiring, compensation, and promotion discrimination. What is a consent decree? It is an agreement or settlement to resolve a dispute between two parties—in this case between OFCCP and B&H Foto—without an admission of liability or guilt.
If you are a federal contractor or subcontractor in the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin, you will want to watch your mailbox for a letter from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP) to schedule an audit. It appears that OFCCP’s Midwest regional offices are actively scheduling more reviews than any other Regional OFCCP office.
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta recently announced The Department of Labor’s (DOL) withdrawal of its 2015 and 2016 informal guidance for joint employment and independent contractors. The guidance documents for both years were issued as Administrator Interpretations and are not binding by law. While the laws were not binding, they enforced numerous actions, often against the franchise industry, under the Obama Administration.
Under a deadline from the National Collegiate Athletic Association, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper rescinded parts of the controversial state law requiring people in public facilities to use the bathroom corresponding with their sex at birth. The law, also known as the “Bathroom Bill,” generated widespread publicity when it was enacted last year, causing several companies and organizations to cancel events in North Carolina in support of the rights of transgender individuals.
In the last two years, federal contractors started tracking and reporting the workforce percentage that self-identified as being an Individual with a Disability (IWD). Time and time again, we hear from employers that applicants and current employees are unlikely or uncomfortable providing their disability status as part of the employment process. Employers are consistently reporting low numbers of employees who self-identified as an IWD.
Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has struck hard against California’s high tech industry again, this time quietly settling hiring discrimination claims against California technology company—Splunk Inc., located in San Francisco, California. The $2.7 million settlement resolves claims by the agency that Splunk Inc. selected Asians and African Americans applicants less often for certain Technical and Administrative Professional positions. This case follows OFCCP’s recent high profile lawsuits against Palantir Technologies, in which OFCCP alleged the company’s hiring practices disproportionately excluded Asians, and Oracle America Inc., in which OFCCP alleged that the company disproportionately favored Asians, specifically Asians of Indian descent, when hiring.
Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) recently entered into a conciliation agreement with Crossmatch Technologies in Palm Gardens, Florida to resolve allegations of pay discrimination. As has been the case with other recent conciliation agreements, OFCCP did not issue a press release regarding this resolution. The conciliation agreement follows OFCCP’s recent filing of two administrative lawsuits alleging pay discrimination against Oracle America Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. and is a good reminder pay discrimination continues to be an enforcement priority for OFCCP.
There has been much talk recently about Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and steering, and for a good reason. Steering is an employment practice that directs a certain subgroup toward a specific set of jobs, often positions with lower pay or fewer opportunities. For example, steering might be a concern if you have two open laborer positions, one of which is consistently lower paid with lower promotional opportunities, and have a hiring manager who consistently directs women toward the lower opportunity position, whether intentionally or not.
With recent Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs’ (OFCCP) regulations now in effect, it is no surprise the agency’s audit activity is on the rise. There are a number of areas of focus in OFCCP audits, and as an HR or compliance professional it’s important to know what’s expected of you if you receive an audit letter.