OFCCP proposes Equal Access/Diversity award

Would you volunteer for a compliance evaluation? The OFCCP is betting that you would.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has proposed a Leadership in Equal Access and Diversity (LEAD) award to recognize federal contractors “that have developed and successfully implemented comprehensive equal employment opportunity and nondiscrimination programs” and that “practice inclusion and fair treatment in the workplace regardless of” protected characteristics. 

One of the proposed eligibility requirements for contractors seeking the LEAD award is to have either undergone an OFCCP compliance evaluation in the past two years or to submit to a desk audit as part of the nomination process. Recipients of the LEAD award would get a moratorium on compliance evaluations for three years. Given the low odds of being selected for a compliance evaluation in the first place, I’m not sure this is a wise tradeoff. 

Of course, the OFCCP proposes to offer other incentives to federal contractors, such as working with the agency to develop compliance assistance materials and the recognition that the award itself would bring.

To be considered for the LEAD award, the OFCCP proposes that contractors provide detailed information regarding the following:

  • Outreach, recruitment, and hiring
  • Training and advancement
  • Corporate culture/work environment
  • Retention
  • Compensation practices

The proposal would also require nominated supply and service contractors to provide their current and prior Affirmative Action Plans and to describe 

  • How the AAPs were developed, important components and activities, data collection and analysis needs, and budget or cost.
  • The baseline performance measures for the AAPs, what performance targets or goals were established, and how they were measured.
  • What tangible and intangible benefits were achieved because of the AAPs, and whether the performance targets or goals were met.
  • How the AAPs contributed to the establishment’s business success and what metrics were used to measure success.
  • Any challenges or barriers to successfully implementing the AAPs, how they were overcome, and what key lessons learned would benefit other contractors.
  • Data and other information sufficient to assess the impact of the AAPs in the areas of outreach, recruitment and hiring, training and advancement, corporate culture and work environment, retention, and compensation practices.

As proposed, at least one contractor from each OFCCP region could receive the award. In its analysis of the burden imposed by such a collection request, the OFCCP anticipates that at least 100 contractor establishments will apply for the LEAD award each nomination period. 

The deadline to submit comments regarding the proposed LEAD award is December 18. For more details regarding the proposed award, including eligibility requirements, the nomination process, and vetting of candidates, visit the OFCCP’s submission in the Federal Register.

Our Affirmative Action Alert blog focuses on the latest news and topics affecting federal contractors and subcontractors and their compliance with affirmative action and other employment-related laws and regulations.  With breaking news, quick updates, and headlines on the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and affirmative action issues, this blog is a great resource for in-house counsel, HR managers, and other compliance professionals.  Our blog is a companion to Constangy’s Affirmative Action newsletters, which address significant legislative, regulatory, and administrative proposals and changes.  Subscribe to both to stay current on these important topics!


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