Apr 10, 2014
Do you work for a recruiting agency? Do you work for a commercial company that does not work with the Federal Government? Do you think you have nothing to worry about with the new regulations being signed in to law? OFCCP and 503c does not concern me? You might want to rethink that. They are coming for you. They really are. History has proven it.
The president on the 8th of April did what many Presidents have done before him. He is imposing regulations on the one part of the economy he truly can control; Federal contractors. The two new regulations are:
1) Federal contractors may not retaliate against employees who discuss their pay with each other. The order is similar to language in a Senate bill aimed at closing a pay gap between men and women.
2) The Labor Department will adopt rules requiring federal contractors to provide compensation data based on sex and race.
All of these new regulations will effect one quarter of the US workforce. That proves to be a good test group for the new regulations. Presidential directives such as this can have a direct impact on the economy further down the road. Federal contractors, worry though that additional compensation data could be used to fuel wage related lawsuits. What's more, such orders create a two-tiered system where rules apply to federal contractors but not to other employers. Those contractors, knowing that their business relies on the government, are less likely to put up a fight as there business comes directly from the Government, sort of biting the hand that feeds if you will.
This movement by the current administration is not uncommon. The most enduring workplace anti-discrimination laws began with an executive order signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in June 25, 1941, outlawing discrimination based on race, color, creed and national origin in the federal government and defense industries.
President John F. Kennedy broadened that in 1961 with an order that required government contractors to take affirmative action to ensure hiring "without regard to their race, creed, color or national origin."
President George W. Bush also acted on his own when he ordered federal contractors to ensure that their workers were in the country legally by requiring the use of an electronic employment-verification system known as DHS E-Verify.
So thanks for the history lesson but how does this affect me? Good question. The beginnings of what are now EEOC rules were first implemented towards Government contractors. The main reason for this was that the President can implement rules without Congressional approval; contractors are less app to fight the laws in fear of losing contract roles, and lastly it the affected federal contracting workforces can over time demonstrate that those practices are less onerous than initially imagined. In other words if it works for Federal contractors it should be easily added towards all businesses.
I am not saying that this is a foregone conclusion but since the OFCCP has implemented 503c as its final ruling it will not surprise any in the industry if these rules are not rolled out across all sectors. To see what the 503c rules are please see my earlier posts on OFCCP and you.