Posts in Affirmative Action.

Laboratory Corporation of America has agreed to pay approximately $200,000 to resolve a matter with Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. According to the Conciliation Agreement between the parties, the OFCCP

 found statistically significant adverse impact against females in the selection process for Lab Assistant and that Asians were paid less than similarly situated non-Asian White employees in the Lab Assistant position.

The alleged hiring discrimination resulted in a shortfall of only two females, and the amount of statistical significance was redacted from the Conciliation Agreement posted online by the OFCCP.  To resolve this claim, LabCorp will distribute more than $51,000 to the affected class of female applicants. In addition, the company agreed to revise its selection process, “including the criteria used in each step of the hiring process, any application screens, interviews, tests, credit checks, review of criminal history, reference checks, testing, or other selection procedure;” to review and revise the job description for Lab Assistant “to minimize the potential for gender stereotyping”; and to list the minimum requirements for the Lab Assistant position on all job postings.

To resolve the allegations of compensation discrimination, LabCorp will pay almost $150,000 to Asian Lab Assistants who were allegedly paid less than their White counterparts, even after controlling for legitimate, non-discriminatory factors. In addition, the company must conduct its own regression analysis in six months, and if it reveals statistically significant adverse impact against Asians, LabCorp has agreed to increase their salaries.

Of course, LabCorp’s settlement with the agency is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing.

Based on a recent Senate appropriations bill, it appears that the Trump Administration’s plan to merge the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has stalled. The

 Senate bill would fund the OFCCP for Fiscal Year 2018 at approximately $103.5 million, which is more than the House’s proposed funding of $94.5 million. Congress would not be proposing funds for the agency if it planned to eliminate it.

This legislative action follows a letter from Acting OFCCP Director Thomas Dowd to the Institute for Workplace Equality on August 24, “acknowledg[ing] that the consolidation proposal includes several challenging transition issues.” Although Mr. Dowd did not expressly state that merger plans were on ice, he noted that any consolidation was unlikely to occur until Fiscal Year 2019 and that the agency would focus on “contemporaneous opportunities to improve effectiveness and efficiency.”

Perhaps Congress is listening to its constituents. The proposed merger was opposed by both civil rights advocacy groups and employer organizations, and my colleague Angelique Lyons cogently summarized the pros and cons here.

We will continue to monitor this issue for further developments.

Image Credit: From flickr, Creative Commons license, by frankie leon.

Experts have estimated that it may cost as much as $180 billion to repair the damage done by Hurricane Harvey. With so much rebuilding to be done, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is temporarily waiving certain equal employment opportunity requirements to expedite Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. The deputy director has the authority to waive any part of the EEO clause in a specific contract or group of contracts “when he deems that special circumstances in the national interest so require.”  (Scroll down to section (b)(1).)

On August 31, the Deputy Director of the OFCCP issued a memorandumtemporarily exempting contractors providing Hurricane Harvey relief assistance from developing written affirmative action programs. The exemption applies to the affirmative action programs required by Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Section 4212 of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act. According to the memorandum, the EEO clauses in affected contracts may be modified to specify that “the contractor will not be obligated to develop the written affirmative action program required under the regulations implementing [EO11246, VEVRAA, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended].”

Although federal contractors providing Hurricane Harvey relief assistance will not have to develop written affirmative action programs, they will still be required to comply with other EEO requirements pertaining to record keeping, record retention, employment listings, and posting of the “Equal Opportunity is the Law” notice.

The affirmative action program exemption will last three months, but it may be extended “should special circumstances in the national interest so require.”

Louise Davies is an Affirmative Action Paralegal in Constangy’s Winston-Salem, North Carolina, office. For more than 15 years, she has helped employers develop affirmative action plans and respond to audits and on-site investigations by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. She also conducts diversity training for employers. Louise is a graduate of Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia.

In February 2016, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs filed an administrative complaint against B&H Foto, the largest non-chain photo and video equipment store in the United States. The Complaint alleged that B&H had discriminated against female, black, and Asian jobseekers by hiring only Hispanic men for entry-level positions.  The OFCCP also alleged that Hispanic employees were harassed, paid less than similarly situated workers, and denied promotions because of their ethnicity.

The agency and the company recently entered into a consent decree, in which B&H agreed to pay $3.22 million in back wages to more than 1,300 affected class members. The company has also agreed to hire a workplace consultant to address its employment practices and workplace conduct. In addition, the company must provide its managers with annual training on EEO principles and on workplace harassment.

By agreeing to the consent decree, the company did not admit any guilt or wrongdoing. The company released a statement denying all of the allegations, but recognizing that litigation would be costly and resolution would allow it to return to business “as usual” with the government.

NOTE FROM ROBIN: Last night, I posted briefly that the EEOC’s requirement, starting next March 31, that employers include compensation data in their annual EEO-1 reports had been suspended. We now have more information, and I have drafted a client bulletin that will go out this afternoon. Because the blog subscription and bulletin subscription lists are not identical, I’m ...

This just in, from Randel Johnson, Vice President of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

Members of the Chamber’s Labor Relations and Employee Benefits Committees:

We have just learned that the deadline for compliance with the new EEO-1 form reporting requirement for data on hours and compensation will be stayed indefinitely. According to our sources, [the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget] based their decision on two grounds, one of which was the appeal submitted by the Chamber that highlighted the new form’s problems with cost, utility, and confidentiality. [The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] will be publishing further details about what actions they will be taking and any future deadlines and timelines in the Federal Register.

This is a victory, not just for the business community, but for common sense in the world of regulations and information collection. As you know, the Chamber was at the forefront throughout the development of the revised form in crafting arguments opposing EEOC’s gross overreach in expanding the existing EEO-1 form to unmanageable proportions without any discernable benefit. . . .

We will provide more details on this important development as they become available.

Hopefully you’ll find this good news as the summer comes to an end!

I was not a fan of this new EEO-1 reporting requirement, so I am happy as a clam.

Patrick White, an attorney in the Cook County (Illinois) Public Defender’s Office, lost his claim that the county’s promotion process had an adverse impact on male attorneys. This judicial finding follows a jury verdict against the lawyer on his claims of disparate treatment discrimination.

Mr. White was a Grade III public defender, seeking a promotion to Grade IV. He contends ...

On the recent uproar involving a major, major employer and its recently-terminated employee:

No. 1. Is it a good idea to provide an "open forum" to employees if there are certain topics that are off limits? No. If you want to provide a forum for employees to speak up, but only "within reason," then it's a good idea to establish and communicate your limits in advance. That way, if ...

Since the beginning of the Trump Administration, business owners, employers, and employees alike have been waiting to see what the effects on social policy will be. Of particular interest to employers, and especially federal contractors, is whether the Administration will bring about a more conservative approach to enforcement in the employment arena, including equal ...

As we have reported previously, the EEO-1 filing process is changing. The EEO-1 reports that would have been required by September 30, 2017, now do not have to be filed until March 31, 2018. The “catch” is that the new EEO-1 reports will require compensation data from a workforce “snapshot” taken between October 1 and December 31, 2017.

(The compensation data reporting ...

Robin Shea has 30 years' experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act). 
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