DEPARTMENT OF LABOR CALLED TO DEFEND FINAL RULES TO HOUSE COMMITTEE

The Committee on Education and the Workforce in the US House of Representatives sent a letter dated September 19, 2013 to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. This letter begins by stating that the Committee has conducted oversight on these proposed regulations since inception (see Alert dated April 20, 2012), and is concerned about “glaring shortcomings” in the department’s rulemaking process. The letter goes on to explain that despite the Committee’s request for extended public comment for both VEVRAA and Section 503, the granted extension was inadequate and that the department has failed to explain why it believes it has the statutory authority to establish a numerical hiring “benchmark” or “utilization goal.” Based on these concerns, the Committee is requesting that the department provide documentation by October 2, to address:

  1. The department’s belief that it has the statutory authority to establish a numerical “hiring benchmark” or “utilization goal;”
  2. The department’s belief that it has the statutory authority to require contractors to ask job applicants to self-identify as an individual with a disability, including all documents and communications with the EEOC regarding legality in light of ADA;
  3. All documents and communications between the department and OMB relating to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and final regulatory changes;
  4. Lists of all stakeholders who requested in-person meetings with administration personnel, including who received meetings and why anyone denied did not receive meetings;
  5. The department’s decision to publicly release the final regulations before publication in the Federal Register;
  6. A list of the inconsistencies, if any, between the draft final regulations released and the versions to be published in the Federal Register, including an explanation of any inconsistencies.

Our understanding is that the committee has contacted the Department of Labor requesting that Director Shiu testify. It will certainly be interesting to see if OFCCP complies with the Committee’s document requests and ultimately what comes out of this hearing. Stay tuned for future developments…

by Kristen Pryor, M.S., HR Analyst, and Dave Sharrer, M.S., Associate Consultant,  DCI Consulting Group

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