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OFCCP Regulations: What Federal Contractors Need to Know

OFCCP Regulations: What Federal Contractors Need to Know

By: Melanie Berkowitz, Esq.

Take this quick OFCCP quiz:

1) Does your business have contracts with the Federal government?
2) Does it hope to become a Federal contractor in the future?
3) Are you familiar with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), the laws it oversees and its Federal contractor requirements?

If you answered “yes” to questions one and two, it is vitally important that you are able to answer “yes” to question three as well. Yet many employers — including smaller businesses that have never entered into a government contract — do not know exactly what the OFCCP does or its significance to their business. 

Be sure to understand the OFCCP before your business seeks its first Federal contract. If you are already a Federal contractor, use the information below to review your business’ regulatory compliance, including some that are brand new. Your next compliance evaluation could be sooner than you think.

What Does the OFCCP Do?
The purpose of the OFCCP is to ensure that businesses with contracts of at least $10,000 with the Federal government do not discriminate and that they take affirmative action in hiring. 

It sounds simple, but this mission creates a number of different (and detailed) requirements, such as:

What Laws Does the OFCCP Oversee?

  • Executive Order 11246. Federal contractors may not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The Executive Order also requires government contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that equal opportunity is provided in all aspects of their employment.
  • The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. Federal contractors “shall take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified special disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam era and any other veterans who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized.”  The VEVRAA applies only to certain Federal contractors with contracts of a certain size.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the ADA). The OFCCP shares enforcement of the ADA with the EEOC. The ADA prohibits most private and government employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities with respect to hiring, firing, advancement and other terms and conditions of employment. 

Are There Any New Requirements for Federal Contractors?
On June 21, 2010, a new Federal regulation required that Federal contractors post a notice informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Additionally, in January 2011 the OFCCP instituted a new regulatory audit process. Under its “Active Case Evaluation” procedure, Federal contractors who undergo compliance evaluations will be subject to increased scrutiny and more in-depth review of their records, AAPs and non-discrimination practices. Learn more about changes to the compliance program.

Finally, in December 2011, the OFCCP issued a notice asking for comments on a proposed rule that would increase the affirmative action requirements for people with disabilities.

Specifically, if the rule is adopted, it will require Federal contractors to set a hiring goal of having seven percent of their workforce be people with disabilities.

The comment period for the proposed rule closes on February 7, 2012; the OFCCP intends to have a final rule in place by the end of the year. In the meantime, Federal contractors should review their hiring procedures to identify ways they can enhance the recruitment of individuals who identify themselves as disabled (as the new rule requires.) 

What Kind of Help is Available for Small Businesses?
Smaller Federal contractors, which may not have a dedicated EEO specialist on staff, can obtain information about how to comply with OFCCP regulations from the agency’s website. Contractors with fewer than 150 employees may also use an alternative method  for establishing affirmative action program (AAP) job groups for the purpose of creating an AAP.

Smaller companies that wish to become Federal contractors for the first time can obtain government contract training from Business.gov. The website has guides on selling to the Federal government, information about in-person support and assistance for Federal contractors and access to training programs and events.

Legal Disclaimer: None of the information provided herein constitutes legal advice on behalf of Monster.