Monday, December 3, 2018

OFCCP's Help Desk

The Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) mission is to protect workers, promote diversity. It performs audits of companies with Federal Government contracts to ensure compliance with requirements to take affirmative action and to not discriminate. We have written about the Office several times in past year or so, usually in the context where the Office has taken punitive action against a contractor for failing to follow a law or regulation.

OFCCP issued a new directive last week (see Directive 2019-03) for the purpose of providing compliance assistance and guidance in a manner that employees and employers can easily access and reasonably rely upon as they seek to understand their rights and obligations.

Specifically the OFCCP is enhancing its existing "Help Desk" which will allow contractors to make inquiries by phone or email regarding a variety of topics. Think of it as a "knowledge base". The OFCCP wants to make 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 contractors (or contractor employees) to benefit from prior inquiries and lead to greater efficiencies in OFCCP Help Desk operations.

OFCCP also plans to incorporate the use of opinion letters as part of guidance to employers, employees and the public. It hopes that by making fact-specific guidance in opinion letters about OFCCP's jurisdictional coverage or application of regulations or guidance will provide more certainty about how the Agency exercises its authority.

Any one having experience using "knowledge base" information to solve a problem knows full well that solutions can be difficult to find and even then, are not sufficient or specific enough to take "bullet proof" actions. Let us know your experiences.

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