OFCCP Announces New Regulations to Improve Disability and Veterans Employment

A message from OFCCP Director Pat Shiu

OFCCP - United States Department of Labor

Earlier today, Vice President Biden announced two new rules that represent an historic advance for veterans and individuals with disabilities.  By strengthening longstanding regulations under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, the new rules will ensure that qualified workers have more meaningful opportunities to find, secure and keep good jobs.

For the first time, these rules provide metrics — management tools that inform decision-making and provide real accountability — to measure federal contractors’ progress toward achieving equal opportunity for people with disabilities and protected veterans.

  • The VEVRAA rule requires contractors to establish an annual hiring benchmark, either based on the national percentage of veterans in the workforce (currently 8%), or based on the best available data and factors unique to their establishments.
  • The Section 503 rule establishes an aspirational 7% utilization goal for the employment of individuals with disabilities.

The rules will also facilitate the success of companies that do business with the federal government, by increasing their access to a large, diverse pool of qualified workers.

The need for these rules is clear – unemployment for certain veterans and persons with disabilities is disproportionately high.

  • Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, who have given so much to serve their country, should be able to find employment – yet the annual unemployment rate for post-September 2001 veterans is higher than the rates for all veterans and for nonveterans.
  • The unemployment rate for working-age people with disabilities in 2012 was 15%, compared with a rate of 8% for working age individuals without disabilities.  This substantial disparity persists despite years of technological advances that have made it possible for many people with disabilities to apply for and successfully perform a broad array of jobs.

Being a federal contractor is a privilege — one that comes with the reasonable expectation to abide by the law and provide equal employment opportunity to all workers.  Today’s new rules make those expectations clearer and more meaningful.

The rules will be published shortly in the Federal Register and will take effect 180 days later.   You can read the Final Rules on the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) website at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/VEVRAARule/ and http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/503Rule/.  There you can also find other information about the new rules.

OFCCP will continue to work with all stakeholders to promote opportunity and access for millions of workers across thousands of workplaces as the new rules are implemented.  Introductory webinars will be held this week (with repeats in September) to provide overviews of the key points of the rules.  You can register for these webinars below.

We look forward to spreading this good news, and encourage you to share it through your communication channels as well.

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OFCCP Webinars on the VEVRAA Final Rule – PLEASE CHOOSE ONE

OFCCP Webinars on the Section 503 Final Rule – PLEASE CHOOSE ONE

L&M Construction To Pay Nearly $113,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Case with OFCCP

News Release

OFCCP News Release: [07/29/2013]
Contact Name: Leni Fortson or Joanna Hawkins
Phone Number: (215) 861-5102 or x5101
Email:
uddyback-fortson.lenore@dol.gov or hawkins.joanna@dol.gov
Release Number: 13-1460-PHI

L&M Construction to pay nearly $113,000 to settle major sexual harassment case with US Labor Department

Agreement includes back wages and job offers for 14 Hispanic workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that federal contractor L&M Construction has agreed to settle allegations that it permitted sexual harassment, retaliated against workers who complained about a hostile work environment, and interfered with a federal investigation. The conciliation agreement entered into by L&M and the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs resolves these and numerous other violations of law at the company’s construction work sites across the Washington metropolitan area.

In May 2012, OFCCP’s Arlington Area Office scheduled L&M Construction for a compliance review. During a workers’ outreach forum that month, department officials were alerted to complaints of sexual harassment that included inappropriate touching, lewd acts, sexual gestures, comments and propositions directed at female employees of L&M between May 1, 2011 and April 30, 2012. Upon further investigation, OFCCP compliance officers discovered that the company terminated nine employees for complaining about the hostile work environment created by this harassment and then fired five more workers to prevent them from being interviewed during OFCCP’s review. The 14 terminated workers were seven Hispanic men and seven Hispanic women.

“No worker should ever have to put up with degrading and inappropriate behavior in order to keep a job,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “I hope this settlement sends a clear message to federal contractors — and to the men and women who work for them — that OFCCP will not tolerate retaliation against workers who exercise their rights, nor will we tolerate any efforts to interfere with our investigations.”

Under the terms of the conciliation agreement, L&M Construction will pay $112,573 in back wages to the 14 terminated workers and will make job offers as opportunities become available. The company has agreed to hire an outside party to evaluate and, if necessary, develop its equal employment opportunity and anti-harassment policies. The contractor has also agreed to undertake extensive self-monitoring measures and training to ensure that all of its employment practices fully comply with Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Based in Capitol Heights, Md., L&M Construction provides environmental remediation and restoration services, including asbestos abatement and removal. The company has held more than $1.4 million in federal contracts with federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institutes of Standards and Technology, the Social Security Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the General Services Administration.

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These three laws require those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, to follow the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For information, call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.

Tufts Associated Health Plans Inc. To Pay More Than $372,000 To 12 Minority Workers To Settle OFCCP Charges Of Retaliation

News Release

OFCCP News Release: [07/17/2013]
Contact Name: Ted Fitzgerald or Andre J. Bowser
Email:
fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov or bowser.andre.j@dol.gov
Phone Number: (617) 565-2075 or x2074
Release Number: 13-0901-BOS

Tufts Associated Health Plans Inc. to pay more than $372,000 to 12 minority workers to settle Labor Department charges of retaliation

BOSTON — Tufts Associated Health Plans Inc. has agreed to pay $372,739 to 12 Asian, Hispanic and African American workers following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. The agreement settles allegations that the Massachusetts-based federal contractor violated provisions of Executive Order 11246 by retaliating against employees that OFCCP had determined were victims of discrimination in an earlier investigation.

“Our job is to protect workers, promote diversity and enforce the law,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “That responsibility to workers continues long after an investigation ends. Any effort to retaliate against workers who have already been victimized by unfair treatment only compounds the problem and will not be tolerated by this administration.”

In May 2009, Tufts agreed to hire minority workers as customer service representatives to settle an OFCCP finding that the contractor’s hiring practices discriminated against minorities. On March 10, 2010, OFCCP received a complaint of discrimination from an individual hired under that agreement, alleging he had been terminated due to his race and retaliated against due to his status as an OFCCP class member. The worker alleged that minority class members were segregated from other employees and held to stricter standards than non-class members during the training program.

OFCCP’s subsequent investigation determined that retaliation against 12 class members occurred in the timing, application and implementation of the company’s customer service training program, resulting in their termination from the program.

In addition to paying $372,739 to the class members, Tufts has agreed to ensure full compliance with Executive Order 11246 by providing training to managers and trainers involved in enforcing the equal employment opportunity and non-retaliation provisions of the Executive Order.

Tufts Associated Health Plans Inc. offers a full array of health coverage options including Medicare Part D prescription benefits, which it offers under a contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the operation of a Voluntary Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. The total contract amount for Part D prescription benefits for the period of January through May 2012 alone was $84.5 million.

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These three laws require those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, to follow the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For general information, call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.

Tufts Associated Health Plans Inc. to Pay More Than $372,000 to 12 Minority Workers to Settle OFCCP Charges of Retaliation

News Release

OFCCP News Release: [07/17/2013]
Contact Name: Ted Fitzgerald or Andre J. Bowser
Email:
fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov or bowser.andre.j@dol.gov
Phone Number: (617) 565-2075 or x2074
Release Number: 13-0901-BOS

Tufts Associated Health Plans Inc. to pay more than $372,000 to 12 minority workers to settle Labor Department charges of retaliation

BOSTON — Tufts Associated Health Plans Inc. has agreed to pay $372,739 to 12 Asian, Hispanic and African American workers following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. The agreement settles allegations that the Massachusetts-based federal contractor violated provisions of Executive Order 11246 by retaliating against employees that OFCCP had determined were victims of discrimination in an earlier investigation.

“Our job is to protect workers, promote diversity and enforce the law,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “That responsibility to workers continues long after an investigation ends. Any effort to retaliate against workers who have already been victimized by unfair treatment only compounds the problem and will not be tolerated by this administration.”

In May 2009, Tufts agreed to hire minority workers as customer service representatives to settle an OFCCP finding that the contractor’s hiring practices discriminated against minorities. On March 10, 2010, OFCCP received a complaint of discrimination from an individual hired under that agreement, alleging he had been terminated due to his race and retaliated against due to his status as an OFCCP class member. The worker alleged that minority class members were segregated from other employees and held to stricter standards than non-class members during the training program.

OFCCP’s subsequent investigation determined that retaliation against 12 class members occurred in the timing, application and implementation of the company’s customer service training program, resulting in their termination from the program.

In addition to paying $372,739 to the class members, Tufts has agreed to ensure full compliance with Executive Order 11246 by providing training to managers and trainers involved in enforcing the equal employment opportunity and non-retaliation provisions of the Executive Order.

Tufts Associated Health Plans Inc. offers a full array of health coverage options including Medicare Part D prescription benefits, which it offers under a contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the operation of a Voluntary Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. The total contract amount for Part D prescription benefits for the period of January through May 2012 alone was $84.5 million.

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These three laws require those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, to follow the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For general information, call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.

OFCCP Blog: Making Good on the Promise of Equal Pay

Below is the latest news from the OFCCP website:

“The department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is working to make good on the promise of equal pay. In the past three years, OFCCP has resolved more than triple the number of race- or gender-based pay discrimination cases compared to the previous three years. Read more in the blog: http://social.dol.gov/blog/making-good-on-the-promise-of-equal-pay/.”

OFCCP Notice on the Use of the 2010 Census Data

On November 29, 2012 the U.S. Census Bureau released the 2010 EEO Special File  to the public.  The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) will begin requiring use of the 2010 Census data for all AAPs beginning on or after January, 1, 2014.  However  contractors have the option to begin using the data immediately.  Below is a link to the OFCCP’s notice.

Bertucci Contracting Settles Discrimination Case With OFCCP

News Release

OFCCP News Release: [05/01/2013]
Contact Name: Diana Petterson or Juan Rodriguez
Email:
Petterson.Diana@dol.gov or Rodriguez.Juan@dol.gov
Phone Number: (972) 850-4710 or x4709
Release Number: 13-0565-DAL

Bertucci Contracting settles discrimination case with US Labor Department

14 minority job applicants in Jefferson, La., to receive back pay, job offers

JEFFERSON, La. — Bertucci Contracting Co. LLC, a federal construction contractor, has settled allegations of hiring discrimination against minority job applicants at its Jefferson facility.

Investigators with the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs determined that the company’s hiring process violated Executive Order 11246 by creating a disparate impact on African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American job seekers. As a result, 14 qualified minority applicants were denied the opportunity to fairly compete for positions as laborers and deckhands between 2009 and 2011.

“The people of the Gulf Coast have shown tremendous resilience in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill and the Great Recession,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “Our job — and the job of taxpayer-funded construction contractors like Bertucci — is to make sure the doors of opportunity are open for all workers who want to be a part of rebuilding and fortifying their communities. This agreement underscores that commitment by facilitating success for the workers, the company and the government agency involved.”

Under the terms of the conciliation agreement, Bertucci will pay $70,000 in back wages and interest to the 14 affected workers and extend at least six offers of employment — with retroactive seniority — as positions become available. Furthermore, the company will revise its selection process to provide better training for hiring managers, annually review supervisors’ adherence to employment policies and affirmative action obligations, and improve its recruitment efforts in order to avoid future violations.

Bertucci provides a variety of flood control and coastal restoration services, including environmental dredging and disposal, stone placement in vulnerable waterways, and levee construction and armament. During the two-year period reviewed by OFCCP investigators, Bertucci held more than $80 million in government contracts with the U.S. Army.

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These three laws require those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, to follow the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For general information, call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.

Goodwill Industries of Southern California Settles Sex Discrimination Case with OFCCP

News Release

OFCCP News Release: [04/25/2013]
Contact Name: Deanne Amaden or Jose A. Carnevali
Phone Number: (415) 625-2630 or x2631
Email:
Amaden.Deanne@dol.gov or Carnevali.Jose@dol.gov
Release Number: 13-0706-SAN

Goodwill Industries of Southern California settles sex discrimination case with US Department of Labor

Agreement includes more than $130,000 in back wages for 200 male applicants and 18 job offers

LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that Goodwill Industries of Southern California has agreed to settle allegations of systemic discrimination stemming from the federal contractor’s selection practices. Investigators with the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs determined that Goodwill’s hiring process favored female applicants for entry-level positions as attendants at local donation centers, in part because of perceptions that women have better customer service skills. The investigation concluded that 200 qualified men were denied the opportunity to advance to the offer stage.

“Sex discrimination in the workplace can take many forms, and we are committed to fighting all of them,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “That means getting away from outdated notions about what constitutes ‘men’s work’ and what constitutes ‘women’s work.’ Throughout the past century, both the Labor Department and Goodwill have shared a common purpose of serving the disadvantaged and making workers self-sufficient. This settlement builds on that proud tradition by giving every worker a fair shot at a good job.”

OFCCP’s Los Angeles District Office conducted the investigation. Under the terms of the conciliation agreement, Goodwill will pay $130,970 in back wages to the affected individuals and as openings occur will make 18 job offers to qualified men who were not previously offered positions. Goodwill also has agreed to undertake extensive self-monitoring measures and training to ensure that all hiring practices fully comply with Executive Order 11246, the federal law that prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Covered government contractors must take affirmative action to ensure that equal opportunity is provided in all aspects of their employment.

Goodwill Industries of Southern California operates dozens of retail stores and donation centers in parts of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Goodwill has more than $2.5 million in contracts with several branches of the U.S. military and federal government agencies in California, and participates in a contract with the U.S. General Services Administration to provide custodial, facilities, grounds maintenance and other services at federal sites as part of its employment training and assistance programs. Proceeds from sales at Goodwill retail stores help support its employment and training services.

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These three laws require those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, to follow the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For general information, call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.

News Release

OFCCP News Release: [02/26/2013]
Contact Name: Mike Trupo or Joshua Lamont
Phone Number: (202) 693-6588 or x 4661
Release Number: 13-0305-NAT

US Labor Department rescinds restrictions on investigating pay discrimination

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that its Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is rescinding two enforcement guidance documents on pay discrimination originally issued in 2006, commonly known as the “Compensation Standards” and “Voluntary Guidelines.”This action, to be effective Feb. 28, is intended to protect workers and strengthen OFCCP’s ability to identify and remedy different forms of pay discrimination. It will enable OFCCP to conduct investigations of contractor pay practices consistent with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“A strong American middle class hinges on ensuring equal pay,” said acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris. “As President Obama has made clear, everyone – including the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters among us – must be paid fairly and without discrimination. These new standards will strengthen our ability to ensure that women and men are fully protected under our nation’s laws.”

The notice of final rescission withdrawing these two documents also includes new guidance for employers and other interested stakeholders setting forth the procedures, analysis and protocols OFCCP will utilize going forward when conducting compensation discrimination investigations. OFCCP will supplement the guidance with frequently asked questions, technical assistance, webinars, and other resources and materials to ensure that contractors have ample information about how to comply with the law.

“Today, we are lifting arbitrary barriers that have prevented our investigators from finding and combating illegal pay discrimination,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu, a member of the President’s National Equal Pay Task Force. “At the same time, we are providing clear guidance for contractors to facilitate their success when it comes to providing equal opportunity to all of their workers.”

The new approach described in the notice will enable OFCCP investigators to better examine practices and available evidence to uncover discrimination and evaluate contractor compliance with Executive Order 11246. That longstanding executive order requires federal contractors to comply with antidiscrimination obligations, including prohibitions against pay discrimination. Prior to this action, OFCCP was constrained by a methodology adopted in 2006 that made it harder for the agency to exercise its full legal authority because it required use of the same narrow formula to review all contractor pay practices, regardless of the industry, types of jobs, issues presented or available data. Now, OFCCP will be using its legal authority to hold contractors to the same legal standards – enshrined in Title VII, the landmark civil rights law – that courts and other federal agencies already apply to these businesses to prohibit job discrimination.

For more information, including copies of the notice of final rescission and supporting materials, visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/compguidance.

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. As amended, these three laws require those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, to follow the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran.

OFCCP Sues US Security Associates For Refusing To Submit Documents for Compliance Review

News Release

OFCCP News Release: [01/17/2013]
Contact Name: Scott Allen or Rhonda Burke
Phone Number: (312) 353-6976
Release Number: 13-0030-CHI

Labor Department sues US Security Associates for refusing to comply with federal investigation of employment practices

Complaint asks court to bar security company from government contracting

CHICAGO — The U.S. Department of Labor has filed lawsuits to require Roswell, Ga.-based U.S. Security Associates Inc. — which provides uniformed and trained guards and other emergency responders under federal contract — to submit documents detailing the company’s affirmative action plans for its own facilities in Milwaukee, Wis., and Portage, Ind.

The Labor Department’s suits, filed with its Office of Administrative Law Judges, calls for the company to provide the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs with all documents and information requested, cooperate with scheduled compliance reviews and fully comply with the requirements of all laws enforced by the agency. If the company fails to comply, the department asks the court to cancel all of USA’s current government contracts and to debar the entire company from entering into future contracts.

“Providing OFCCP investigators with access to the documents they need in order to do their jobs is not optional,” said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. “U.S. Security Associates is well aware of its contractual obligation to submit the records we seek, and the company’s denial of access at these two facilities is especially perplexing given its cooperation in providing the same documentation in past compliance reviews.”

OFCCP sent a scheduling letter to the company’s Milwaukee facility on Dec. 7, 2011, and its Portage facility on Dec. 13, 2011, requesting records that are required for a compliance review. Instead of submitting its affirmative action plans, as required by law, USA filed a complaint with the Office of Administrative Law Judges on June 21, 2012, seeking declaratory relief from the scheduled reviews. On Sep. 17, 2012, Chief Administrative Law Judge Stephen Purcell dismissed the company’s complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. USA appealed the decision to the Administrative Review Board, and the matter is currently pending. Over the following months, OFCCP continued to request that the company submit its plans but, to date, the contractor has refused.

The named facilities are two of more than 20 USA sites that currently have open OFCCP compliance evaluations. Efforts to resolve the issue between the two parties failed when USA decided to deny OFCCP access to information about its affirmative action programs in Milwaukee and Portage. The issue of providing OFCCP with access to such information has been affirmed by the courts numerous times. In November 2011, Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled, in a similar case, that “Submission to such lawful investigations is the price of working as a federal contractor.”

Since at least 2008, USA has been a party to federal contracts that obligate it to develop and maintain plans for its affirmative action programs and provide those plans to OFCCP upon request. In July 2009, USA was awarded a contract with the General Services Administration worth more than $1 million. The company also was awarded a federal contract with the U.S. State Department for more than $7 million covering a period from September 2010 through October 2015.

OFCCP enforces Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These three laws require those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and subcontractors, to follow the fair and reasonable standard that they not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran.

OFCCP v. U.S. Security Associates Inc.
Case Number: 2013-OFC-00002 (Milwaukee)
Case Number: 2013-OFC-00003 (Portage, Ind.)