DOL's new online tool may result in more OFCCP complaints

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Cara Crotty

The U.S. Department of Labor recently rolled out www.worker.gov, an online tool designed to help employees file various types of complaints against their employers. The White House announced that the website will assist individuals “if they have had wages stolen, been injured on the job, faced discrimination, or been retaliated against for joining together to seek better wages or conditions at work.”

The website is still in its initial "beta" phase and currently covers only construction workers, day laborers, office employees, nail salon workers, and restaurant employees. However, the DOL expects to expand the site to include other occupations and industries. Here is a screenshot of the complaint portal for employees of federal contractors:

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Individuals visiting the site will first be asked to enter their job title. They are then offered various suggested complaints, such as

• I’m not being paid $7.25 or more for my work.

• I am being prevented from engaging with others to improve my working conditions.

• My employer is doing business with the federal government and I was discriminated against.

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If an employee chooses the last option, the site directs the individual to file a complaint with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and provides step-by-step instructions for how to complete the complaint form:

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This website isn't quite ready for prime time, though. Here's what you get when you click on "FILE NOW."

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:-)

In any event, the site seems designed to dramatically increase the number of individual complaints that the OFCCP receives. Most employees don't even know what “OFCCP” stands for, let alone what the agency does. And this is not surprising. The OFCCP enforces an Executive Order and statutes that have no private right of action, and it generally ensures compliance with these affirmative action requirements through compliance reviews. It simply is not a complaint-driven enforcement agency. The OFCCP receives about 750 individual complaints each year, compared with the approximately 90,000 charges of discrimination filed annually with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Assuming the Trump Administration doesn't shut this website down after January 20, employers may see an uptick in the number of individual OFCCP complaints to which they must respond. Regardless of who is in office, contractors should be proactive in ensuring compliance.

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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