Tag Archives: Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs

U.S. Department of Labor Publishes Final Rule On Pay Transparency Rules for Federal Contractors

Contributed by Sara Zorich

On September 10th, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”), a division of the US Department of Labor, published the final rule to implement Executive Order 13665, which prohibits federal contractors from discharging or discriminating against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their own compensation or the compensation of another employee or applicant. The rule allows these individuals to file a discrimination complaint with OFCCP if they believe that their employer fired or otherwise discriminated against them for discussing, inquiring about, or disclosing their own compensation or that of others.

This final rule generally applies to any organization that holds a federal contract or subcontract in excess of $10,000 or holds government funds. The rule will be applicable to any new covered federal contract or modified existing contract on or after January 11, 2016.

The final rule becomes effective on January 11, 2016 and requires covered contractors to do the following:

  1. Modify employee handbooks or manual to include the nondiscrimination provision found here.
  2. Post the New EEO is the Law poster (currently being amended and not yet available)
  3. Disseminate the nondiscrimination provision by either electronic posting or by posting a copy of the provision in a conspicuous place available to employees and applicants of employment

The final rule does provide employers with two defenses to an allegation of pay transparency discrimination: (1) a general defense for violation of “workplace rules” and (2) an “essential job functions” defense to alleged violations. For example, employers may discipline/terminate employees for violating a general work rule if it was applied uniformly to employees who discussed their pay and those who did not. Further, an employer may discipline/terminate an employee whose job requires them to have access to other employee’s pay and who discloses such information about another employee to others who do not have access to such information.

Based on the second defense, federal contractors should review their job descriptions of HR and payroll employees and modify, if necessary, to include accessing compensation information and protecting and maintaining the privacy of employee personnel records (including compensation information) as essential functions of the job.

Federal Contractors Beware: A New DOL Rule and New Requirements

Contributed by Karuna Brunk

In an effort to improve the hiring of veterans and individuals with disabilities, on August 27, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor announced two new rules to update the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  Both laws apply to federal contractors and subcontractors. 

The rules are similar and require the following from federal contractors:

  • The new addition to the VEVRAA sets a benchmark for hiring protected veterans.   Employers should use either the national percentage of veterans in the labor force (currently 8%) or calculate a new benchmark based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Similarly, the new addition to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 sets a 7% utilization goal for qualified individuals with disabilities in each job group or in an entire employer’s workforce if the contractor has fewer than 100 employees. 
  • Document and compare the number of veterans and individuals with disabilities who apply for jobs with those who are actually hired. 
  • Encourage applicants to self-identify as veterans or as individuals with disabilities throughout the application process.
  • Incorporate specific equal employment opportunity language into a subcontract clause.
  • Publicize job openings in a format and manner so that state or local jobs services can access them.
  • Allow the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to have access to and review these goals and results for compliance purposes.

In addition to the above, the update to the Rehabilitation Act incorporates the broad ADA Amendments Act definition of disability.  The bottom line for federal contractors – update your hiring processes and affirmative action plans to comply with the new DOL requirements!

To view the DOL press release, click here.