The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) today announced three new directives aimed at establishing an opinion letter process and enhancing OFCCP’s Help Desk, establishing a process to resolve compliance evaluations at the earliest stage possible with corporate-wide compliance, and clarifying the Agency’s compliance review procedures. These new directives are part of the Department’s efforts to maximize the effectiveness of compliance assistance outreach. Together the directives are intended to provide federal contractors and their employees with greater certainty on how OFCCP conducts compliance evaluations and investigations, in general and in particular fact-based scenarios.
- Compliance Review Procedures: This directive rescinds the agency’s Active Case Enforcement (ACE) Procedures. Going forward, compliance evaluations of federal contractors will be conducted in accordance with the Federal Contract Compliance Manual and, as needed, with agency guidance. Importantly, this directive promises that Contractor establishments that have undergone a compliance evaluation will be exempt from another neutrally scheduled compliance evaluation, for 24 months from the date of closure of the compliance evaluation or the date OFCCP accepts a final progress report, unless a different exemption period pursuant to other OFCCP policies and/or programs is provided and agreed to by OFCCP and the contractor.
- Opinion Letters and Help Desk: This directive outlines steps OFCCP will take to enhance its existing Help Desk, which allows contractors to make inquiries by phone or email regarding a variety of topics. OFCCP plans to enhance its Help Desk by making certain Help Desk inquiries and responses dynamically available and searchable as a self-service option on OFCCP’s website. This self-service option would allow stakeholders to benefit from prior inquiries and lead to greater efficiencies in OFCCP Help Desk operations. Joining other agencies, OFCCP also plans to incorporate the use of opinion letters as part of guidance to employers, employees, and the public. Fact-specific guidance in opinion letters about OFCCP’s jurisdictional coverage or application of regulations or guidance will provide more certainty about how OFCCP exercises its authority.
- Early Resolution Procedures (ERP): In an effort to resolve supply and service compliance evaluations at the earliest stage possible with corporate-wide compliance, this directive establishes OFCCP’s new Early Resolution Procedures (ERP) and outlines general guidelines for implementation. These procedures will help contractors and OFCCP achieve their mutual goal of equal employment opportunity in federal contracting and reduce the length of compliance evaluations by resolving problems expeditiously. ERP also allows OFCCP and contractors with multiple establishments to more efficiently promote corporate-wide compliance with OFCCP’s requirements.
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