Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) closed out their 2017 fiscal year with several conciliation agreements. Two of those agreements, with CoreCivic and Kulite Semiconductor Products, were to settle allegations of hiring discrimination. While the companies have not admitted to the agency’s allegations, the conciliation agreements were entered into to resolve the alleged violations “without engaging in further legal proceedings.”
September 15 through October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. The observation started as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover the 30-day period. In his proclamation that year, President Regan wrote “The accomplishments of Hispanic Americans through the years remind all of us that in America we are blessed with the freedom to live, work, and worship in peace and to build a better life for ourselves and our children. Generations of proud, hardworking, enterprising Hispanic Americans have strengthened our communities and fought for our country. They have believed in America’s miraculous promise and have helped preserve that promise for the future. This is good reason during National Hispanic Heritage Week for every citizen who loves our Nation to salute Hispanic Americans.”
The minimum required wage for certain federal contractors and subcontractors will increase on January 1, 2018, from $10.20 to $10.35 per hour. Executive Order 13658 requires employers with certain federal contracts pay employees performing work on or associated with the contracts to be paid at least the federal minimum wage for contractors.
On August 22, 2017, a federal judge in the District of Columbia ordered the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) to reconsider its rules regarding Employer Wellness Program incentives as they relate to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in consultation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), has decided to initiate a review and stay of the revision to the EEO-1 that was previously approved for implementation. The revision would have required employers with 100 or more employees to add wages and hours, along with race/ethnicity and gender, to the EEO-1 report. The 2017 report was to be filed by March 31, 2018.
Last week the White House released its proposed budget for the 2018 Fiscal Year which included a proposal to combine the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP). Groups representing employee rights and those representing employer interests are opposed to the merge. The groups agree that though both agencies are focused on protecting employees from discrimination, their purpose is different. OFCCP’s mission is to work with federal contractors to proactively promote equal employment opportunities while the EEOC’s mission is more reactive, investigating individual claims of discrimination.
On Wednesday, February 15, 2017, Andrew Puzder, the nominee for Secretary of the United States Department of Labor announced that he was withdrawing his nomination. The next day President Trump announced he was nominating Alexander Acosta to the position.
Andrew Puzder, the fast-food executive and owner of Hardees and Carl’s Jr, was unlikely to receive the 51 senatorial votes necessary to be confirmed for the appointment to the Department of Labor. Puzder was subject to opposition from Democrats, and trade and advocacy organizations from the start, who were critical of his treatment of workers at his fast food restaurants. As information that he had employed an undocumented housekeeper and allegations of spousal abuse surfaced, his support from several Republicans appeared to erode and Puzder withdrew from consideration.