OFCCP to Focus on Affirmative Action Compliance; Construction Industry Targeted Yet Again
According to the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA), the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), which is responsible for ensuring that those doing business with the federal government don't discriminate and take affirmative action, this year, plans to hire more staff, conduct more onsite reviews, and place a greater emphasis on affirmative action compliance. Specifically, OFCCP has announced plans to develop proposed rules to strengthen recruitment and hiring goals for military veterans and persons with disabilities, and to propose new affirmative action standards for the construction industry.
BNA reports that OFCCP's director Patricia A. Shiu plans to "implement full-scale, aggressive enforcement efforts" that include "renewing [their] commitment to strengthening affirmative action, combating discrimination against veterans and people with disabilities, as well as continuing to resolve systemic discrimination cases. For fiscal year 2010, OFCCP received a $103 million budget, for which it plans to hire 213 new employees, restoring its staff to pre-2001 levels. As a result, federal contractors can expect more on-site reviews, including more thorough reviews of affirmative action plans. Other areas likely for review are contractors' job advertisements, recruitment practices, hiring decisions and pay. As mentioned in an AGC article last year, OFCCP had previously announced increased enforcement initiatives by detailing its Recovery Act Plan for all contractors who received funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). In the plan, the construction industry is specifically mentioned as the primary target for enforcement, since billions of ARRA dollars are earmarked for construction projects.
BNA also reports that Harold Busch, a former OFCCP career employee turned executive director for a national non-profit employer association, stated that one of the biggest challenges among officials is determining "realistic goals" for the employment of women and minorities in construction, similar to the Clinton administration's desire to make changes, since data isn't readily available outlining the desire for and availability of women interested in working in construction.
AGC plans to work closely with OFCCP as they begin the process of producing a proposed rule to amend current construction industry affirmative action requirements. For a summary of current construction contractor responsibilities and goals, review DOL's Technical Assistance Guide for Construction Contractors. In addition, AGC has many resources to help you stay compliant with OFCCP's regulations, including a newly revised Affirmative Action Manual for Construction, and other resources available on AGC's Labor and HR Topical Resources Web page.
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