Minnesota Affirmative Action Compliance Council Meeting

By Christine Anthony

On November 2, 2009, Sandra Zeigler, Regional Director of the Mid-West Region of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP) addressed the Minnesota Affirmative Action Compliance Council (AACC), a recognized Industry Liaison Group (ILG). Ziegler was recently briefed by the National OFCCP office and she shared with the group the direction that the Regional Directors were asked to take their teams. Organizationally, OFCCP has seen some changes. Of course, there are new appointments within the Agency; Patricia A. Shiu has been named the Director of OFCCP. Ms. Shiu will now be reporting directly to the Secretary of Labor as the Employment Standards Administration has been dissolved. This will result in more direct White House oversight and, as mentioned above, more ambitious goals for the Agency. The Agency has also been tasked to increase their outreach to both contractors and the community organizations supporting contractors. OFCCP has also heard the contractors’ concerns over the outdated Federal Contractor Compliance Manual (FCCM) and has put updating this document on their to-do list. However, this task had not been initiated at the time of Zeigler’s address to the AACC.

Not all changes under the new Administration have been put on a to-do list. We know that OFCCP is increasing their employee count with the hope of raising it back to the level it was in 2001. The regions are currently busy training new Compliance Officers by using live cases which is resulting in more open reviews at the local offices. Ziegler predicts that this will result in more on-site visits by OFCCP as more contractors are being reviewed. Additionally, the national office has raised the bar for the regions and expects them to again recover record-breaking awards for those who may have been victims of employment discrimination. OFCCP is expected to continue to address systemic discrimination; however, non-systemic issues will be investigated as well. The Agency will no longer focus on impacted groups of 10 or more employees or applicants, they will pursue an impact of one or more. While OFCCP plans to continue Active Case Management under the Obama Administration to help guide the increase in audit activity, there has not been a formal announcement as to the fate of the Corporate Scheduling Announcement Letter (CSAL). There has been strong speculation across the industry that the CSAL program will not continue, and Zeigler did confirm that audits are currently being scheduled off the spring scheduling notices regions received from the National office and that they have not received a new scheduling list as of her address to the AACC. Also, expect to continue to see audits pertaining to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for the next two years. OFCCP has received additional funding to hire Compliance Officers specifically for ARRA investigations. Due to the large increase in compliance reviews, Zeigler suggests that we may see in increase in the number of contractors nominated for the EVE and G-FIVE awards as more on-site visits are sure to highlight the strengths of compliant contractors.

Biddle Consulting Group will continue to update this blog as the initiatives of the new Administration unfold.

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The Berlin Wall – my part in its downfall – BBC News


Financial Times
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Washington Post
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Indian Express
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Times of India
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ABC News
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