The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has issued Directive 2019-04, initiating a Voluntary Enterprise-wide Review Program (VERP) aimed at blending the OFCCP’s compliance evaluation and assistance activities with federal contractors’ own corporate compliance programs.

The reward for voluntary participation is that VERP contractors will be excluded from the pool of contractors scheduled for compliance evaluations as long as they are in the program.

The program will recognize two tiers of federal contractors:

  • The top tier, with the most stringent criteria, will include top‐performing contractors with corporate‐wide model diversity and inclusion programs. Contractors qualifying for the top tier can remain in the program for at least five years.
  • The second tier will consist of OFCCP compliant contractors that will receive individualized compliance assistance to become top performers. Contractors qualifying for the second tier can remain in the program for three years.

A full list of the VERP framework criteria can be viewed here.

The VERP program will work with federal contractors to attain a mutual goal of sustained corporate wide compliance. VERP works in accordance with the OFCCP’s objective of protecting workers, promoting diversity, and enforcing federal law.

Contractors will begin applying for VERP electronically at the beginning of the 2020 fiscal year. The new Directive is in alignment with the OFCCP’s initiatives, including the implementation of an Ombud service to facilitate the fair and equitable resolution of concerns raised by OFCCP’s external stakeholders.

The OFCCP enforces EO 11246, Section 503 and VEVRAA, which prohibit contractors and subcontractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran. In addition, these laws require federal contractors to take steps to ensure equal employment opportunity in their employment processes.