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New Federal Policy Directive Seeks to Effect Widespread Compliance with Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws

Women and other “non-favored” groups will be getting more support from the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP).  The OFCCP is the office that oversees whether federal contractors are hiring, paying, and promoting their employees fairly.  A new policy directive has called for more thorough compliance reviews of government contractors’ adherence to federal anti-discrimination laws.

Federal contractors are legally required to take preemptive steps to ensure that all aspects of their employment processes ensure equal opportunity for all.  Federal contractors and subcontractors may not discriminate on the basis of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, color, race, religion, national origin, disability status, or protected veteran status.  To encourage widespread use of employment practices that treat everyone fairly, the OFCCP will be adding focused reviews to its normal compliance activities.  These reviews will hone in on Executive Order 11246 (sex discrimination), Section 503 (Americans with Disabilities), and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act.

The OFCCP has a well-defined process in place to review equal opportunity practices.  Failure of an employer to comply with federal anti-discrimination practices is often resolved through a conciliation process that involves payment of substantial fines to restore individual employees, actions to stop the unlawful activities, and preventative measures to ensure that the unlawful behavior(s) do not recur. In the event that a conciliation process does not succeed, or the terms of the process are violated by the employer, the OFCCP will initiate enforcement which always includes either an administrative or judicial hearing and could end in employer sanctions, including disbarment, criminal prosecution, or both.

A notable recent outcome includes a settlement of more than 2.9 million dollars made by Dell EMC of San Francisco to resolve alleged systemic pay discrimination complaints against women and African American males in various positions across multiple offices in California and North Carolina.

Women’s Workforce Federation is a non-profit labor union and association that works to promote safe and respectful work environments for everyone across all industries.  The WOWFED Gender Equity Certification Program assists employers by providing data analysis, developing gender equity action plans, and monitoring gender equity progress to promote a safe and respectful work environment that complies fully with state and federal anti-discrimination laws.

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