The U.S. Department of Labor made several announcements in August. It issued a new handbook for compliance officers auditing federal contractors' compliance with executive orders; it also announced updates to its regulations concerning the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Federal Contract Compliance Manual (FCCM)

The OFCCP updated its procedures for conducting a desk audit and created a mandatory Standard Compliance Evaluation Report for compliance officers to use in conducting the audit.

OFCCP audit procedures now include compliance with Executive Order 13496, but no longer include an inspection of Forms I-9. Executive Order 13496 requires covered contractors to post notices advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. During an on-site inspection, compliance officers will inspect bulletin boards and common areas to find the required notice. Compliance officers will also review subcontracts for the required contractual provision extending the notice requirement to subcontractors.

The FCCM updates the Corporate Management Compliance Evaluation, and focuses with an increased focus on promotions to top executive levels. Compliance officers will examine access to higher paying positions and job classifications as well as whether employees in the same classifications receive equal compensation.

The OFCCP also created a new Functional Affirmative Action Program Compliance Evaluation to be coordinated by the national office. A Functional Affirmative Action Program is one based on functional or business units instead of on establishments. Contractors must have the agency's approval to use a FAAP.

The FCCM also updates the jurisdictional requirements for construction contractors and guidance for compliance officers in investigating complaints of discrimination in partnership with the EEOC.

Final Rule: Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act

The OFFCP announced revised, final regulations implementing the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act ("VEVRAA"). The regulations will be published "shortly" and take effect 180 days later.

VEVRAA prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against protected veterans and requires contractors to take affirmative employment action to favor protected veterans. The revised regulations establishes annual goals for hiring protected veterans, updated annually by OFCCP based on the percentage of protected veterans in the U.S. workforce. Alternatively, contractors may rely on a their own special circumstances and soon-to-be-published database of statistics concerning the availability of protected veterans.