Federal Contractors Can Expect Strong OFCCP Enforcement Effort on Affirmative Action

March 18, 2010

By: Christa Richer Cook

The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”), the Federal agency responsible for enforcing affirmative action mandates against Federal contractors and subcontractors, recently reported on its enforcement efforts for fiscal year 2009. OFCCP collected $9.31 million in back pay from 94 federal contractors through settlements of discrimination claims last year. It completed close to 4,000 compliance evaluations, resulting in conciliation agreements with nearly 700 employers. OFCCP issued this data in connection with its budget request for 2011, which anticipates continued growth and aggressive enforcement efforts. Federal contractors can anticipate that OFCCP’s enforcements efforts will likely increase this year. The Agency’s budget for fiscal year 2010 was increased significantly by the Obama administration in order to increase the number of compliance officers and to meet the agency’s goal of conducting more on-site compliance reviews.

As reported by BNA’s Daily Labor Report, in 2010, the agency also intends to change its focus by increasing its affirmative action compliance efforts and more closely scrutinizing Federal contractors’ affirmative action plans. Construction industry employers are among those who are likely to be targeted in the coming year.

OFCCP has also announced a renewed emphasis on affirmative action efforts for veterans and disabled workers, which includes plans to amend and strengthen regulations under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. In light of OFCCP’s expressed intent to make affirmative action its enforcement priority, federal contractors should ensure that their Affirmative Action Plans, and related data on employment actions, are in place, up to date, and in full compliance with regulatory requirements.