Federal Contractors and Veterans
Discrimination in the workplace, especially in terms of hiring, can span across race, gender,[...]
By: Paul McGovern
With OFCCP Director Leen completing initiatives before his possible appointment as a federal Inspector General, there is lots of OFCCP news to report. Below are the new Federal contractor requirements. They are “need to know” – but, as most were expected, they may not surprise you. One item, however, could alter OFCCP compliance more than the rest combined. Unlike the rest, it has been only months in the making but could have long-lasting impact.
“New” Scheduling Letters Released
OFCCP’s 4/19 proposed changes to the EO 11246 supply and service scheduling letter kept contractors up at night (see April post). Reacting to contractor comments firmly opposed to the changes, the “new” OFCCP contractor compliance requirement includes only a few language changes.
As expected, the Section 503 and VEVRAA focused review scheduling letters and the new contractor compliance check letter are little changed from draft form. (No EEO-1 report submission requirement for Section 503 and VEVRAA, though.)
OFCCP will likely delay VEVRAA focused reviews until it adds more “what to expect” information to its website.
EEO-1 Reporting Delayed
If, given the COVID-19 emergency, you expected a significant extension for filing your 2019 EEO-1 reports – you were right. EEOC delayed the data collection until at least March 2021. You will then owe both 2019 and 2020 reports. By that point, your 2019 data will be 2 years old. Get your 2019 report “in the can” to avoid delay-driven data glitches.
“New” Disability Self-ID form Released
Two years in the making, the updated Form CC-305 has minor changes. Down from 2 to 1 pages, it includes additional examples of disabilities. The new “Employer Use Only” box is for company “recordkeeping” and company-specific information encouraging self-ID; you can delete it. Make the updated form available to applicants and employees by August 4, 2020. For more information, visit the Section 503 FAQ.
3 New Directives
The “Pre-Referral Mediation Program” Directive helps contractors resisting OFCCP audit conciliation avoid administrative hearing. As few audits go to enforcement, few contractors will need this late-stage help.
The “Efficiency in Compliance Evaluations” Directive states that Compliance Officers will provide federal contractors with monthly audit status reports; contractors can query why audits remain open more than a year. This is good detail in line with prior Leen-era Directives.
The short Ombuds Directive includes a protocol for the new mediator position. First announced in a 2019 Directive, and further defined on the OFCCP Ombuds Service website, it will be interesting to see how the Ombuds position evolves in practice.
OFCCP Work-at-Home and Virtual Section 503 “Onsites”
It took the COVID-19 emergency for the OFCCP to work remotely.
Based on early data, Compliance Officers are moving through audits faster from home than office. This could not have happened without the Agency’s new automated Case Management System (CMS) freeing COs from hard copy. Phone and video conference Section 503 focused reviews are running smoother than the on-site meetings the OFCCP intended.
Federal agencies will likely face severe budget cuts due to the emergency. OFCCP work from home can reduce office rental costs; virtual “on-sites” will reduce travel costs. The combination of CMS and the pandemic may push OFCCP into the 21st century. And this may be the biggest news of all.
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