In 2014, the biggest headlines out of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) were the slew of regulatory and directive changes announced and finalized. These included:
- significant changes to the VEVRAA (veterans) and Section 503 (disabled) regulations;
- an amendment to Executive Order 11246 (as well as new related regulations) to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the non-discrimination and affirmative action requirements;
- a new Executive Order requiring contractors to provide information regarding employment and labor law violations in connection with contract bids (and related other requirements);
- release of proposed regulations that would require contractors to submit annually their compensation information by race and gender (that are expected to be finalized in early 2015);
- an overhaul of the federal contractor compliance manual; and
- a revised and significantly expanded compliance audit letter.
While these changes have dominated the articles and discussions of the prior year, contractors should not lose sight of what remains the OFCCP’s continued priority in audits – pursing systemic hiring claims. Some of the more significant hiring-related claims and settlements from 2014 included:
- $1,500,000 in back wages and interest to 3,651 affected applicants, plus 113 job offers to the original class members as positions become available
- $475,000 in back wages and interest to settle allegations of sex discrimination affecting 1,293 female job seekers, and 116 job offers to the original class members as positions become available
- 104 women and 91 African-Americans who were denied jobs as valets who received a total settlement of $275,000 and placement of 65 of the women and 27 of the African-American class members into valet positions – with retroactive seniority and benefits for the new hires
- $1 million in damages and providing 48 job opportunities to 5,557 qualified African-American
- $200,000 to 247 minority workers who were rejected for engineering positions comprised of 152 Asian Americans, 51 Hispanics, 29 African-Americans, 3 Native Americans and 12 individuals who identified as two or more races
- $2.2 million in back wages and interest to nearly 3,000 African-American, Hispanic, Caucasian and female job applicants after OFCCP investigators found that hiring managers at each location used inconsistent and subjective practices to favor one group over another based on race and sex
- $537,000 in back wages and interest to 102 women who were rejected for entry-level attendant positions
Most of these claims were based on a statistical analysis of the number of applicants who were minorities or females as compared to the number of those hired. In light of this continued OFCCP focus, contractors would be well advised to make it a priority to review their applicant data, especially the impact of any tests utilized in their application process, and make any changes possible to avoid a statistical result showing adverse impact discrimination.