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New OFCCP Rules Published Today, Effective March 24, 2014

 

Two new rules designed to improve employment opportunities for protected veterans and qualified workers with disabilities were published in the Federal Register today. To read and learn more about these new rules, please visit: www.dol.gov/ofccp/VEVRAARule andwww.dol.gov/ofccp/503Rule.

 

Both rules become effective on Monday, March 24, 2014. Federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to comply with most of the requirements of the new rules by this date. However, the rules give contractors additional time to comply with requirements in subpart C, which relates to affirmative action programs (AAPs). Contractors with AAPs in place on March 24 may maintain them until the end of their current AAP year, allowing them to delay compliance with the affirmative action requirements of the new rules until the start of their next AAP year.

 

Supreme Court rejects EEOC’s broad definition of ‘supervisor’


by  on SEPTEMBER 6, 2013 2:00PM
in DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT,HUMAN RESOURCES

In a major victory for employers, the Supreme Court in June ruled that, in Title VII cases, only someone with the power to take “tangible employment action” can be considered a supervisor. The Court’s decision in Vance v. Ball State will make it harder for employees to sue for supervisor bias, a claim that carries strict employer liability.

THE LAW: Most federal discrimination laws require employers to prevent or stop discrimination by supervisors. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the ADA all bar discrimination and harassment by supervisors.

EEOC guidance states that supervisors are “anyone with authority to take tangible employment actions or direct the employee’s daily activities.” Many courts have limited the definition to those who can take tangible employment actions such as hiring, firing or promoting employees.

WHAT’S NEW: Maetta Vance, who is black, worked as a catering assistant at Ball State University. She complained regularly of problems with a white co-worker, Saundra Davis. Vance said Davis repeatedly blocked her access to elevators, stared at her and engaged in other behavior that Vance described as “weird.”

Supervisors attempted to end the bickering, but their efforts didn’t satisfy Vance. She complained to the EEOC. When the case went to court, both sides moved for summary judgment and the court sided with Ball State, noting that Davis was not Vance’s supervisor. Therefore, it said, the university was not responsible for her actions.

Vance appealed to the 7th Circuit, which also sided with the university. Vance appealed to the Supreme Court, which also ruled that Davis was not Vance’s supervisor under Title VII.

HOW TO COMPLY: In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court rejected the EEOC’s flexible approach that attempted to evaluate each situation individually to determine who is a supervisor. The majority harkened back to the landmark sexual harassment cases—Burlington Industries v. Ellerth and Faragher v. Boca Raton.

Under those cases, employers enjoyed a safe harbor if they did not permit harassment and corrected it when it did occur. The Vance decision reinforces that scheme, but also makes it clear employers need a bright line that divides co-workers from supervisors.

Clear lines of command

Generally speaking, employees who cannot hire, fire and promote are not supervisors. However, employers must watch against a type of mission creep in which trusted employees are given more and more responsibilities, in effect becoming supervisors.

All employees should know whether they have the authority to hire and fire those with whom they work.

Employers that employ 360-degree feedback or seek out employee opinions about hiring could still run afoul of the narrow supervisor definition. For example, if a 360-degree feedback evaluation is used to determine raises, promotions or even firings, an evaluating employee may meet the definition of a supervisor. Employers should leave the hiring, firing and promoting to the real managers and make sure co-worker input is weighted accordingly.

Your organizational chart should clearly show lines of authority that designate who is a supervisor. Make sure supervisors understand which employees they manage.

Training more important than ever

Train supervisors how to handle discrimination and harassment complaints and how to avoid retaliating against workers who file complaints. The Burlington/Faragherframework re­­quires employers to have at least two avenues for employees to file complaints. That way, an employee who perceives harassment from a direct supervisor has someone else to complain to.

Once bias or harassment is re­­ported, investigate the charges quickly and professionally.

Don’t be complacent

While this Supreme Court decision was a win for employers, this is no time to let your guard down. Review your training, policies and procedures to ensure you are ready when the next complaint comes in.

 

" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com:http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/36323/supreme-court-rejects-eeocs-broad-definition-of-supervisor "

 

Earlier today, Vice President Biden announced two new rules that represent an historic advance for veterans and individuals with disabilities.  By strengthening longstanding regulations under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, the new rules will ensure that qualified workers have more meaningful opportunities to find, secure and keep good jobs.

For the first time, these rules provide metrics -- management tools that inform decision-making and provide real accountability -- to measure federal contractors’ progress toward achieving equal opportunity for people with disabilities and protected veterans. 

  • The VEVRAA rule requires contractors to establish an annual hiring benchmark, either based on the national percentage of veterans in the workforce (currently 8%), or based on the best available data and factors unique to their establishments.
  • The Section 503 rule establishes an aspirational 7% utilization goal for the employment of individuals with disabilities.

The rules will also facilitate the success of companies that do business with the federal government, by increasing their access to a large, diverse pool of qualified workers. 

The need for these rules is clear – unemployment for certain veterans and persons with disabilities is disproportionately high. 

  • Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, who have given so much to serve their country, should be able to find employment – yet the annual unemployment rate for post-September 2001 veterans is higher than the rates for all veterans and for nonveterans.
  • The unemployment rate for working-age people with disabilities in 2012 was 15%, compared with a rate of 8% for working age individuals without disabilities.  This substantial disparity persists despite years of technological advances that have made it possible for many people with disabilities to apply for and successfully perform a broad array of jobs. 

Being a federal contractor is a privilege -- one that comes with the reasonable expectation to abide by the law and provide equal employment opportunity to all workers.  Today’s new rules make those expectations clearer and more meaningful. 

The rules will be published shortly in the Federal Register and will take effect 180 days later.   You can read the Final Rules on the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) website athttp://www.dol.gov/ofccp/VEVRAARule/ and http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/503Rule/.  There you can also find other information about the new rules.

OFCCP will continue to work with all stakeholders to promote opportunity and access for millions of workers across thousands of workplaces as the new rules are implemented.

 

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has published a revised version of its Federal Contract Compliance Manual (FCCM).  The FCCM provides a general guide to how federal contract compliance evaluations and complaint investigations are conducted including the process for conducting desk audits, onsite reviews, and corporate management compliance evaluations. From the OFCCP press release: "It is a clearly and plainly written manual reflecting the current state of the law. The revisions help to ensure quality and consistency by creating uniformity in investigative procedures nationwide. It also provides transparency in the way compliance evaluations and complaint investigations are conducted. The newly revised FCCM is easy to navigate and provides effective guidance to both OFCCP compliance officers and federal contractors."

 

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