Federal contractors and subcontractors should take notice that, in the last couple of years, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has been pursuing a much more aggressive enforcement and regulatory agenda. Final revised rules on disability and veterans affirmative action are expected soon. Later in 2013, proposed new rules for construction contractors and gender discrimination are expected. We will post to this blog when these are available.

As we are awaiting these new regulatory frameworks, it should be noted that OFCCP has also been conducting more in depth and more aggressive compliance evaluations of federal contractors and subcontractors. Of note, OFCCP recently abandoned its prior framework for analyzing pay discrimination in favor of a much more flexible approach that permits it greater latitude in analyzing potential discrimination and in requesting documentation and data. [INSERT (See our recent post: OFCCP Signals Formal Change of Course on Pay Discrimination.)

Also of note, OFCCP’s planned compliance evaluations for fiscal year 2013 (October 1, 2012 – September 30, 2013) represent a significant 12% increase from fiscal year 2012. Consider this data on the number of compliance evaluations conducted or planned:

Click here to see table.

Also, OFCCP is boasting that the compliance evaluations it conducts today are much more in depth. From 2010 to 2011, OFCCP reported a 36.7% increase in audits closed with a financial remedy. For example, OFCCP recently released a press release regarding a $439,538 back pay settlement for nearly 2,000 female job applicants involving a subsidiary of Hormel Food Corp. (Clougherty Packing Co. – “Dodger Dog” hot dogs). The Company must also offer positions to 700 affected women applicants as positions become available.

With most contractors finalizing their calendar year 2013 Affirmative Action Plans and executing recruiting and outreach efforts for 2013 at this time, it becomes more important than ever to pay critical attention to affirmative action given the OFCCP’s recent activity.