The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is seeking feedback on a proposed rule that will make clear the agency’s procedures during compliance evaluations.

The rule will provide federal contractors and subcontractors with greater certainty about the procedures that OFCCP follows during compliance evaluations to resolve employment discrimination and other material violations. The rule would codify procedures for two formal notices that OFCCP uses when the agency finds potential violations, including the Predetermination Notice and Notice of Violation.

Another component of the rule includes expedited resolution for contractors. Contractors will be able to enter directly into a conciliation agreement prior to the issuance of Redetermination Notices or Notices of Violation.

OFCCP’s Director, Craig E. Leen, stated the following in the announcement of the proposed rule:“[t]his proposal aims to provide greater certainty and transparency about the procedures that OFCCP follows during compliance evaluations to resolve employment discrimination.”

The agency will be accepting comments through January 29. If you’re interested in submitting a comment, you can do so by clicking here.

The proposed rule is not the only announcement made by OFCCP little more than a week into 2020. OFCCP also announced updates to the Federal Contract Compliance Manual, which is a guide for how OFCCP investigates and reviews instances of potential non-compliance. The updates include the following:

  • Revisions to align with new directives issued in 2018 and 2019
  • Insertions to address new protected bases
  • Adding and updating language describing the Section 503 and VEVRAA nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements.

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.

Contractors should acknowledge OFCCP’s ongoing commitment to transparency and acknowledge the efforts it is making to better monitor and enforce workplace equality. They should see the agency’s continued efforts to improve its processes as an opportunity to improve process and transparency within their own organizations.