Notes from the Industry Liaison Group National Conference

Cara-Crotty.322.jpeg
Cara Crotty

The 2016 Industry Liaison Group National Conference was held last week in Charlotte, North Carolina. Sylvia Smith, an Affirmative Action Specialist from our firm's Atlanta Office, and I had the pleasure and privilege of attending and presenting this year. The headliners, as usual, were Patricia Shiu, Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and Commissioner Victoria Lipnic of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Ms. Shiu, who acknowledged that she was speaking at her final ILG National Conference, touted the aggressive regulatory agenda and significant regulatory changes implemented during her tenure with the OFCCP.  Ms. Shiu said that the new Section 503 regulations created a culture change in the hiring environment of contractors, resulting in real growth in the number of persons with disabilities who have been hired by federal contractors.

Ms. Shiu noted that, during the Obama administration, the OFCCP reviewed 28,811 federal contractor establishments, which covered 12 million workers. These reviews resulted in $75 million in back pay for victims of alleged discrimination and 12,000 job offers.

PatriciaShiu
Shiu

Ms. Shiu reminded attendees that the Final Rule prohibiting discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity was the first regulatory protection for LGBT individuals in the private sector. In addition, she stressed that combatting compensation discrimination was a priority for the OFCCP and would continue.  The EEOC's proposal to require employers to provide summary compensation data by race, ethnicity, and sex in the annual EEO-1 Report “could improve the efficiency of civil rights enforcement,” according to Ms. Shiu.

Victoria Lipnic offered a more candid assessment of the proposed changes to the EEO-1 Report. Ms. Lipnic admitted that she was not in favor of the changes and questioned their practical utility in light of the burden imposed on employers – views shared by most employers (and some commentators).

Victoria Lipnic
Lipnic

Ms. Lipnic also described the EEOC’s efforts in preventing harassment in the workplace, noting that 30 percent of EEOC charges include allegations of harassment, most based on race, sex, or disability. According to a recent EEOC Report (which was co-written by Ms. Lipnic and EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum), 3 out of 4 employees do not report harassment because of fear of retaliation.

In other news from the conference, the National ILG Board announced that I have been selected as their new General Counsel. I look forward to serving the NILG for the next four years and the opportunities that lay ahead. I am honored and privileged to have been chosen as counsel for this special organization focused on helping federal contractors meet their regulatory obligations.

Mark your calendars for next year’s ILG National Conference – August 1-4, 2017 in San Antonio!

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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