Equal Employment Opportunity And Affirmative Action Obligations In Federal Contracts

Author:Mr Weldon Latham
Profession:Holland & Knight LLP

Co-written By Paul Thomas

Virtually every federal contractor is subject to the jurisdiction, regulations, and scrutiny of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), which oversees compliance with non-discrimination and affirmative action obligations. This article describes OFCCP's jurisdictional authority, and highlights one of the agency's public/private partnership initiatives for national agreements that several Holland & Knight LLP Corporate Diversity Counseling Group partners were instrumental in creating.

OFCCP's charter is to ensure that federal contractors fully comply with the equal employment opportunity and affirmative action provisions incorporated into their government contracts. Specifically, OFCCP enforces five major anti-discrimination and affirmative action provisions:

Executive Order 11246: Requiring all nonexempt government contractors and subcontractors with service and supply contracts of $50,000 or more and 50 or more employees to develop written affirmative action programs with specific and result-oriented procedures. Executive Order 11246 also imposes a separate affirmative action obligation upon contractors performing construction work pursuant to either federal construction contracts or federally assisted construction contracts valued at $10,000 or more. These construction contractors must demonstrate their good- faith efforts to meet designated affirmative action goals provided in federal regulations by complying with certain additional regulatory requirements.

Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: Prohibiting discrimination against, and requiring affirmative action directed toward, individuals with disabilities by all nonexempt government contractors and subcontractors with contracts exceeding $10,000.

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990: Requiring all employers to make reasonable accommodations to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of employment.

The Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974: Prohibiting discrimination against, and requiring affirmative action directed toward, both disabled and non-disabled war veterans.

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1996: Requiring employers to maintain records of the citizenship of all new employees.

Title 41, Part 60, of the Code of Federal Regulations empowers OFCCP to perform routine audits of federal contractors and subcontractors to...

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