To longtime attendees of the National Industry Liaison Group (NILG) Conferences, the 2019 event held in Milwaukee, WI was notable for the active involvement of OFCCP Director Craig Leen and at least 20 members of his staff. Director Leen’s “OFCCP Address” at the beginning of Day 1 and “Final Thoughts” at the end of the final day served as bookends to a conference that offered several other sessions with OFCCP officials as participants.
This newly engaged OFCCP is in line with Director Leen’s “Four Pillars,” which he spoke about at last year’s conference in Anaheim. In this year’s OFCCP address, he used those four pillars to discuss the progress made by the agency in the past year.
The agency has begun to issue Opinion Letters (e.g., Opinion Letter on Pay Analysis Groups) to address questions received from the contractor community. Additionally, many of the OFCCP’s directives are intended to let the contractor community know how the OFCCP will conduct compliance evaluations.
During the Final Thoughts session, it was also announced that the new Ombud would be starting on August 5th. Since then, Marcus Stergio has been introduced as the new Ombudsman. He also mentioned several Technical Assistance Guides, including the upcoming highly-anticipated Higher Education TAG. While the Higher Education TAG was not released in time for the conference, the OFCCP has issued guidance on the inclusion of student workers in university AAPs. There were also several sessions discussing the upcoming focused reviews under Section 503 and VEVRAA, during which it was announced that onsite reviews will likely last at least a week.
With Directive 2019-01’s rescission of Active Case Enforcement, the agency has adopted a set of policies much more similar to Active Case Management. Additionally, the agency will be conducting new smaller reviews such as focused reviews and compliance checks. What this means is that the OFCCP is able to “touch” many more contractors, but through shorter evaluations that will close when there are no issues, and conciliate more quickly and collaboratively when there are issues. The OFCCP is also encouraging contractors to take advantage of the Early Resolution Procedures (ERP) laid out in Directive 2019-02 to resolve existing OFCCP matters.
Much of Director Leen’s remarks focused on disability, which he feels have not gotten the attention that women and minorities have received over the years. When talking about recognition, he encouraged contractors to apply for the Excellence in Disability Inclusion Award. He also suggested that contractors who are excelling in their compliance efforts could potentially receive recognition at the close of an audit.