On Thursday April 25, 2019, a federal judge ordered that the EEOC begin collecting employee pay data by race, ethnicity, and sex. Also referred to as Component 2 of the EEO-1 report, employers will need to submit their 2018 pay and hours worked data by September 30, 2019. The judge also ordered the agency to collect a second year of pay data, giving it a choice between collecting employers’ 2017 or 2019 pay data. By April 29, the EEOC will post a statement on its website informing employers of the 2018 data submission requirement, and by May 3 it will inform the judge and employers if the 2017 or 2019 pay data will be collected.
Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court instructed the Ninth Circuit to reconsider its en banc ruling making it harder for businesses to justify paying women less than men. An en banc ruling is a session in which a case is heard before all judges of a court rather than a single judge or panel. The Supreme Court noted that because one of the judges, Stephen Reinhardt, who had passed away by the time the decision was filed, the circuit erred in counting him as a member of the majority. The ruling was handed down per curiam, which is a decision made by a judge or a court in unanimous agreement. The ruling vacated a precedent-shifting decision that revived a California math specialist’s sex discrimination suit. The ruling blocked employers from using women’s salary histories as a basis for paying less
The OFCCP is offering targeted compliance assistance to the contractor community for those organizations in the high-tech industry. These meetings will be a town hall set up and are open to the public. The OFCCP website recommends that the subject matter will be of particular interest to Human Resources Managers, Equal Employment Opportunity Specialists, Compliance Officers, and others in the technology industry who are directly involved with ensuring compliance according to the agency’s requirements.
Despite the churning of the contractor community rumor mill, the Department of Labor has not been impacted by the current government shutdown. The agency received funding earlier in the year so normal operations remain unaffected. Despite the partial shutdown, federal contractors can expect that current OFCCP audits will proceed as usual. While some agencies are closed, and non-essential employees are no longer reporting to work, OFCCP is open and the community should not expect any delays for current and upcoming OFCCP audits.
Recently, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced it is creating a new sub-office tasked with helping businesses comply with more than 100 safety, wage, and benefit laws the Department administers. The office will be labeled as the Office of Compliance Initiatives (OCI) and will work with the DOL’s enforcement-focused sub-agencies on compliance outreach activities. In addition, the agency will develop new ways to use data to strengthen compliance and help enforce the law.
Today, OFCCP announced three different directives geared towards maximizing the success of compliance assistance outreach for federal contractors. The directives include new procedures for reviewing compensation practices, a program to verify that contractors are in full compliance with federal AAP requirements, as well as an initiative that will establish a program that recognizes contractors with high-quality and high-performing compliance initiatives.
The SLS Hotel, operating in Miami Florida, has agreed to pay $2.5 million in a recent settlement brought about by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The lawsuit alleges that black Haitian dishwashers were wrongfully terminated based on their race, color, and national origin. A staffing agency then filled the positions, in turn creating a workforce of predominately Hispanics with light or fair skin. Hotel and nightlife company SBE operates the SLS Hotel. SBE operates hotels and restaurants located both domestically and internationally. The company prides itself on creating an extraordinary experience for the community throughout each of its proprietary brands, according to its mission statement.
On May 18, the Department of Labor issued a press announcement about the publication of a new OFCCP Directive. The Directive extends the enforcement moratorium related to Affirmative Action obligations of TRICARE providers for two years. The freeze has been in effect for four years, and will now expire on May 7, 2021. The original extension was set to end in May 2019. The extension also applies to Veterans Affairs Health Benefits Program (VAHBP) providers.
Recently, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy signed a bill aimed at promoting equal pay for workers. This law promotes equal pay for workers regardless of race or gender. According to estimates, women in New Jersey earn roughly 81 cents on the dollar compared to men, which is closely in line with the national pay gap of 80 cents on the dollar.