On October 17, 2017, the National Industry Liaison Group (NILG) hosted a webinar for its constituents. This event provided an opportunity for those who could not attend the ILG Conference in San Antonio to hear synopses of the content presented by the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Guest speakers included Tom Dowd, Acting OFCCP Director, and Jim Paretti, Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel to EEOC Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic.
Tom Dowd spoke first and stressed that OFCCP is a “dot on the sun” compared to the number of federal contractors, and as such, does not have the ability to audit all establishments. Given this reality, the Agency’s recent focus has been on the quality of audits instead of quantity. To demonstrate this point, he shared that OFCCP audited just over 1,100 establishments in 2017, the smallest number in recent OFCCP history, but recovered 24 million dollars, a value that represents one of the largest sums ever collected. He also stressed that very few audits are eventually litigated and that the Agency wants to be collaborative. For example, OFCCP would like to provide additional compliance assistance through trainings, encourage peer-to peer assistance, and praise employers who demonstrate best practices. OFCCP is looking forward to participating in the NILG conference next year in Anaheim.
Jim Paretti shared various updates about the EEOC. First, as has already been made public, Component 2 of the EEO-1 Form, which would require employers to report pay data, has been rescinded; however, the Office of Management and Budget is still evaluating the Form. Further, the EEOC agrees that pay inequity is an important issue, but Mr. Paretti posited that paperwork-reporting requirements are not likely to ameliorate the problem. He also spoke about the implementation of wellness programs under the ADA and noted that the EEOC is looking to offer more guidance on this matter in the future. Finally, he provided a history of court rulings related to LGBTQ protection under Title VII and concluded that it would be beneficial if the Supreme Court determined whether LGBTQ status is covered by Title VII.
Of note, both speakers commented on the proposed merger of EEOC and OFCCP and stated that it would not occur in FY 2018.
By Cliff Haimann, Consultant, and Sarah Gilbert, Senior Consultant, at DCI Consulting