It is almost time for the decennial census. While this survey of the American population is no longer used specifically in Affirmative Action Plans, some area of controversy surrounding the Census may make their way into the requirements for federal contractors—or at least for employers as the workforce continues to become more diverse. While this post discusses possible changes, it’s important to note nothing is final as of this writing, as at least six lawsuits are currently challenging the 2020 census form.
On July 17, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau announced that grants ranging from $250,000 to $500,000 would be awarded to as many as six recipients under the WANTO grant program. Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (“WANTO”) is a technical assistance grant program available to eligible Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) who apply as a single applicant or as part of a consortium of CBOs. The purpose of the program is to encourage employers and labor unions to employ women in industries where women have traditionally been underrepresented, or concentrated in lower-paying jobs, such as manufacturing or IT, by:
As previously reported, the Census Bureau was considering adding a new race category of Middle Eastern or North African to the 2020 census form. Currently, individuals with ethnic origins in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa are classified as White in the census data. Recently, the Bureau announced that after collecting public input on adding a new race, it has decided to keep the existing two-question format and will report on the Office of Management and Budget’s existing five race categories (American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, White), on the 2020 form. Respondents will have the ability to designate more than one race group.
On July 26, 2017, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a $10.5 million settlement with Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC for an alleged hiring discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the agency almost six years ago, on September 21, 2011.
In May 2017, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) entered into a conciliation agreement with Guntersville, AL protective clothing supplier Kappler, Inc., to settle allegations of steering within its hiring process. The agreement alleges that between December 2012 and December 2014, Kappler, Inc. failed to consider female applicants for Cutter and Floor Worker positions, while placing only female applicants in Sewer positions.
On January 31, 2017, the White House shared that President Trump will not override the Executive Order (EO) signed during the Obama administration providing workplace protections for LGBT employees working on federal contracts. EO 13672, signed by President Obama in 2014, extended existing EO 11246 protections for federal contract employees to also prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. When the order was signed by President Obama, it applied to 28 million workers, or about a fifth of America’s workforce. OFCCP subsequently issued regulations to implement EO 13672, which can be found at https://www.dol.gov/ofccp/LGBT.html. In announcing that the new administration would not rescind these protections, the White House stated President Trump “is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community.”
It is time to wrap up 2016 and put a bow around it. This has been an eventful year for many reasons—one of which was the impact of increased pressure on federal contractors and sub-contractors from OFCCP. Many of you have Affirmative Action Programs (AAP) that are effective January 1, 2017. As you wrap up 2016 here are some issues to keep in mind:
The end of the year is quickly approaching and before you know it the time will come to start gathering data for 2017 Affirmative Action Plans (AAPs). Here are a few data tips to make your transition into 2017 go smoothly.
The White House recently rolled out a new online tool (www.worker.gov) that allows employees to file various types of complaints against their employer. This site also was designed to inform individuals of their employment rights. According to the White House, the website was created to assist individuals “who have had wages stolen, have been injured on the job, faced discrimination, or were retaliated against for seeking better wages or work condition,” file complaints against their employers.