Webinar: OFCCP Renews Focus on Veteran Hiring Practices
Federal contractors should be on the lookout for changes at the OFCCP. Understanding the latest developments and how to hire veterans is critical, especially when onboarding military veterans and individuals with disabilities. Agency Director Craig Leen described new and renewed areas of focus in a recent address at the National Industry Liaison Group conference.
“With the OFCCP focusing on veterans and people with disabilities, compliance is obviously on the forefront of federal contractor’s minds,” said Rob Arndt, Senior Vice President of Business Development for Bradley-Morris/RecruitMilitary. “We at Bradley-Morris/RecruitMilitary have an opportunity to help organizations not only ‘check the required boxes,’ but also hire the best and the brightest from the military talent pool to keep companies compliant and competitive.”
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A desire to evaluate whether contractors are discriminating against veterans on a systemic basis will be part of the focused review process. The list of contractors scheduled under VEVRAA will be released around Veterans Day. OFCCP will also examine whether statistically significant pay disparities for veteran employees may indicate violations of USERRA’s requirement that employees be held harmless for taking military leave and receive the same raises and promotions they would have received without the leave.
As a “fundamental principle” in the agency’s future planning, there will be a renewed focus on discrimination against individuals with disabilities. These will be treated like discrimination against other protected classes, including race and gender, and receive the same level of resources.
A “robust” focused review process under Section 503 (which prohibits discrimination and requires affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote and retain individuals with disabilities) will include an on-site interview by compliance officers lasting at least one week. The interview will explore how contractors handle disability accommodation and leave requests and question employees about their experiences with the accommodation process.
The OFCCP will seek to identify actual discriminatory policies and practices leading to pay disparities, rather than determining that the mere existence of a statistically significant disparity alone illustrates discrimination. These policies are often shown through anecdotal evidence and the use of “descriptive statistics” that reveal root causes of disparities and examine whether those causes are the result of discrimination. Additional compensation guidance is also being prepared for public release.
Efficiency, Certainty, Transparency
These attributes were reiterated as OFCCP’s “bedrock” principles, with a commitment to continued compliance guidance to contractors through additional opinion letters and FAQ documents. An anonymous online help desk for compliance guidance with answers posted for public reference will be implemented as well. Technical assistance guidance on Section 503, VEVRAA, and promotions will be released following the first rounds of focused reviews in those areas.
The agency hopes to collaborate more closely with contractors when it comes to desk audits and conciliation. Settlements and Early Resolution Programs will be utilized efficiently resolve alleged discriminatory practices and relieve affected employees. Rather than employing an “active case enforcement” methodology, OFCCP will instead review the practices of a greater number of contractors in a quicker and more efficient manner.