Speaking on July 27 to the Industry Liaison Group’s 29th Annual National Conference to an audience of human resources professionals for the nation’s top companies, the Office of Contract Compliance Director Patricia Shiu emphasized the OFCCP’s top initiatives. She stated that the OFCCP will focus on pay equity and compensation discrimination and affirmative action for military veterans and persons with disabilities. The OFCCP issued proposed rule-making establishing “benchmarks” for recruiting and hiring of veterans in April 2011 and is presently evaluating the comments it received. Shiu characterized those as benchmarks rather than quotas or ceilings.

She also emphasized that there has been unprecedented cooperation between the Justice Department, the EEOC, and the OFCCP regarding a unified civil rights agenda and an end to the turf wars of the past between the three agencies.

In addition, the OFCCP is nearing completion of a revised agency compliance manual and proposed revisions to Rehabilitation Act regulations that have not been changed in decades. The new proposed Rehabilitation Act regulations will “put some teeth” in the regulations for affirmative action for the disabled, and Shiu called them a “game-changer.” There is also a plan for revised regulations for affirmative action standards for women in the construction industry. The OFCCP also plans to issue a new proposal for a compensation data collection tool after rescinding the Bush-era guidelines.

It is notable that, under President Obama, the OFCCP has seen a 35% increase in its staffing, including 200 new compliance officers. We will continue to keep you up to date on new regulations and proposed regulations and other agency action by the OFCCP.