SEX DISCRIMINATION NPRM: IS MANHANDLING JOB TITLES NECESSARY TO COMPLY?

OFCCP’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) addressing Discrimination on the Basis of Sex is lacking clarity on several points and seems to contradict itself as well. This blog post focuses on the proposed changes to part 60-20.2 General Prohibitions, as they relate to advertising and recruiting for individuals for certain jobs on the basis of sex and specifically with regard to the forbidden use of gender-specific terms for jobs.

In an effort to eliminate the “less overt mechanisms” that cause barriers to equal employment opportunity for women, OFCCP removed the “outdated provision” in the current Guidelines which states “advertisements in newspapers and other media for employment must not express a sex preference unless sex is a bona fide occupational qualification for the job.” OFCCP’s reason for removing this statement is: it “does not have much practical effect, because few job advertisements today express a sex preference.” However, in the proposed changes to the regulation under the General Prohibitions, Disparate Treatment section  (proposed paragraph 60-2.2(b)(7)) OFCCP includes a provision which forbids contractors from ‘recruiting or advertising for individuals for certain jobs on the basis of sex, including through use of gender-specific terms for jobs (such as “lineman”).’ [Emphasis added]

If contractors are barred from advertising a job with the word “man” in it, and such active job titles, job descriptions or job postings exist, then time, money and resources will need to be devoted to revising each case. As an example, a quick keyword search on Monster.com or Careerbuilder.com returns numerous job titles with the word “man” in them (e.g., foreman, handyman, yardman, maintenance man, salesman, body man). Are we to assume that “manager” will also be prohibited by this provision? Furthermore, a search on USAJobs.gov reveals several Federal Government job descriptions with the word “man” somewhere in the ad (e.g., man-hours, man-year, man-lift, man-made, “man a piece of equipment”).

Sifting through hundreds or thousands of job titles, descriptions and postings (for some contractors) and updating them could take several human hours to accomplish, although no burden is captured for these extra steps. How might this change affect your particular organization? The OFCCP Institute will be preparing public comments on this NPRM and encourages interested contractors to email (contact@theofccpinstitute.org) information about the estimated burden to comply with this proposed provision.

By Jeff Henderson, M.P.S., Analyst & Kristen Pryor, M.S., Associate Consultant, DCI Consulting Group

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