At the 2017 National ILG (NILG) conference held in San Antonio, TX, Thomas Dowd, acting Director of OFCCP, and Debra Carr, Director of Policy, Planning and Program Development, discussed what to expect from the agency in the near future.
Some key takeaways from Debra Carr’s session include:
- Resolving the issue of inconsistency in audits across regions. Carr mentioned that OFCCP is working toward creating two centers of excellence. Aside from handling compliance evaluations across different regions, the centers of excellence will also be tasked with handling compliance assistance (e.g., offering training sessions; holding town hall meetings for contractors; managing contractor recognition program).
- Offering awards to contractors. Carr indicated that OFCCP is planning a contractor recognition program where awards would be given to those organizations who are in compliance with required regulations and continue to actively work on their EEO and Affirmative Action objectives.
- OFCCP plans to design a basic and advanced level training/certification for compliance officers. Additionally, there may be a competency based performance evaluation model for compliance officers.
- “Transparency works both ways” was the theme of Carr’s session as she gathered insights and ideas from contractors present at her session on OFCCP’s agenda items and she will continue to work collaboratively with the contractor community to make compliance with EEO/AA regulations easier.
Similar to the tone set by Debra Carr during her session, Tom Dowd, the acting OFCCP Director, addressed the entire audience at the conference emphasizing OFCCP’s plan to increase focus on compliance assistance.
Key takeaways from Tom Dowd’s session include:
- Compliance Assistance as a priority. OFCCP plans to design training workshops for contractors that will provide training on affirmative action and equal employment opportunity topics.
- Audit Relief for best practice contractors. OFCCP is considering the idea of providing audit relief to contractors who are actively working on their affirmative action goals and engaging in good faith efforts.
- Specifically, Dowd pitched an idea that contractors who register for OFCCP’s training workshops will automatically gain a moratorium on OFCCP audits for 2 years. He mentioned that OFCCP is working internally to plan and strategize this concept and other such ideas that are geared toward working with a contractor, instead of against contractors.
- Dowd also presented another idea initially postured as a way to help large contractors who are constantly on the audit scheduling list. For example, if a large contractor is scheduled for multiple establishment audits over multiple years, the organization would potentially have the option of providing data or summary data for the entire organization. OFCCP may randomly evaluate a few establishment AAPs and if they are found to be in compliance, the entire contractor organization will obtain an audit moratorium for 2-3 years. If there are issues identified, OFCCP will work with the contractor on those and offer a moratorium once they are resolved. This is a controversial concept for many large contractors, and would be an option that would need to be considered with great caution and mindful strategy.
Here are our predictions for what to expect from OFCCP under Trump administration, reading between the lines from OFCCP sponsored sessions at NILG:
- Although OFCCP’s 2017 budget saw some significant cuts, we think OFCCP will do more with less.
- OFCCP may establish centers of excellence and we might see some closures of OFCCP’s district offices.
- OFCCP will continue its focus on compensation equity.
- As evidenced by Tom Dowd and Debra Carr’s sessions at ILG conference, OFCCP may replace active case enforcement with active case management and this may create shorter audit periods for many open audits. This is significant shift from Pat Shiu’s active case enforcement paradigm, where the agency operated under a more aggressive and detailed review of contractor information. Watch our video blog to obtain additional information on this.
In general, OFCCP’s tone at the national ILG was positive, and focused on collaboration with the contractor community. Stay tuned as we keep our readers informed on updates from OFCCP.
By Joanna Colosimo, Director of EEO Compliance, and Vinaya Sakpal, Associate Consultant, at DCI Consulting Group