By Edwin S. Hopson
On September 29, 2010, Deputy Director Les Jin of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs of the U.S. Department of Labor (OFCCP) testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs regarding OFCCP’s activities over the last year. He discussed OFCCP’s enforcement of (a) Executive Order 11246, which pertains to the civil rights of employees of federal contractors and subcontractors, (b) the .Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of1974 (VEVRAA), which prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against specified categories of veterans, including disabled veterans, and which requires that federal contractors take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment such veterans, and (c) Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 503) that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities and requires that federal contractors take affirmative action in the employment of such individuals. OFCCP, according to Jin, oversees more than 200,000 establishments with contracts amounting to approximately $700 billion.
The significant portions of his testimony were:
●Last year, OFCCP investigated a total of 3,917 establishments, and have scheduled 3,975 cases for evaluation to date. Included in those figures are desk audits in 1,142 cases and 683 on-site visits to federal contractors.
●Over the past year a new protocol has been implemented that requires OFCCP compliance officers to go on-site and verify how contractors are treating protected veterans and people with disabilities, rather than simply accepting contractors’ self-reporting.
●In FY 2010 approximately 30% of all on-site reviews by OFCCP found recruitment violations pertaining to protected veterans.
●OFCCP’s budget has increased by 25% and it has grown by almost 35%, from 585 to 788 employees working in headquarters, 6 regional offices and 45 district and area offices; most of this growth has come from the hiring of nearly 200 new compliance officers.
●In FY 2010 more than 34 cases were referred to the Solicitor of Labor for litigation.
●Previously, OFCCP focused on systemic discrimination across businesses and whole industries; now, the agency is focusing more on individual cases.
●In FY 2009, OFCCP negotiated a total of 694 conciliation agreements with contractors who were found to be in violation of equal employment opportunity requirements under one or more of the three laws enforced by OFCCP; as of the 3rd Quarter of FY 2010, OFCCP had negotiated 559 such agreements.