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Archive for January, 2015

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (January 30, 2015)

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

WIOA Advisory Committee Holds First Meeting

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez gave welcoming remarks at the first meeting of the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities, a key part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The meeting was held January 22 and 23 in Washington, DC. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez addressed the group, noting that “The collective expertise of the individuals on this committee is humbling, and I’m grateful for your willingness to share that expertise with us.” The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division Administrator David Weil and Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training Administration Portia Wu also participated in the meeting.

The Family Connection: Supporting Postsecondary Success of Young Adults with Disabilities

Family support is crucial for young adults with disabilities as they transition from high school into postsecondary settings, noted Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez in a January 29 blog titled “The Family Connection: Supporting Postsecondary Success of Young Adults with Disabilities.” “But if we truly expect families to help youth with disabilities navigate their postsecondary journeys, they need the right tools and information,” said Martinez. To work towards that goal, the Office of Disability Employment Policy is hosting a National Online Dialogue on Families and Postsecondary Success from January 26-February 6, 2015. Families of youth with disabilities currently or recently enrolled in a postsecondary education program can register to participate in this “virtual town hall,” which will provide a forum for families to identify specific ways that postsecondary institutions and other providers can better assist them in supporting students’ educational and employment outcomes.

Job Accommodation Network Publishes Quarterly E-News

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) E-News is a quarterly online newsletter that keeps subscribers informed about low-cost and innovative accommodation approaches; the latest trends in assistive technologies; announcements of upcoming JAN presentations, media events, trainings, and Webcasts; and legislative and policy updates promoting the employment success of people with disabilities. Featured in this edition are articles on establishing a centralized accommodation fund, dress codes under the ADA, the JAN blog, and many other topics.

EARN Newsletter Now Available

The latest issue of the Employer Assistance and Resource Network’s (EARN) newsletter was released last week, featuring information about the Workforce Recruitment Program, upcoming events, and mentoring resources in honor of National Mentoring Month. EARN is a service of the ODEP-funded National Employer Policy, Research, and Technical Assistance Center for Employers on the Employment of People with Disabilities (Employer TA Center). In addition to issuing its biweekly newsletter, EARN disseminates information via social media and encourages anyone interested in current trends in disability inclusion to subscribe to its feeds.

OFCCP Proposes New Sex Discrimination Rules (January 28, 2015)

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

OFCCP today announced the publication of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to revise and replace its Sex Discrimination Guidelines. This NPRM would rescind OFCCP’s outdated guidelines on federal contractors’ obligations not to discriminate on the basis of sex under Executive Order 11246, as amended, and replace them with updated regulations. This update, the first in more than four decades, would reflect present-day workplace realities and align OFCCP’s rules with current law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The proposed rule addresses compensation discrimination, sexual harassment, failure to provide workplace accommodations for pregnancy, and gender identity and family caregiving discrimination, among other topics.

The NPRM will be published in the Federal Register on January 30, 2015. Members of the public will have 60 days to provide comments. A press release about this action is available online. For more information, please see the landing page created for this topic on OFCCP’s web site.

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (January 23, 2015)

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

For more information, go to www.dol.gov/odep.

Connecting with Families: Supporting Postsecondary Success of Young Adults with Disabilities — National Online Dialogue: January 26 — February 6

Families continue to play an important role as their youth transition to adulthood. All youth, including those with disabilities, are more likely to become successful adults when they have ongoing family support. The Office of Disability Employment Policy is sponsoring a National Online Dialogue for family members of young adults with disabilities in postsecondary academic and workforce/vocational training settings. If you are the family member of a young adult with a disability currently or recently enrolled in any type of postsecondary program, we hope you will join us. We are interested in hearing from you about the types of services and supports families need and would find most helpful to assist them in supporting their youth’s postsecondary educational and employment success. The National Online Dialogue will take place January 26-February 6, 2015.

Webinar to Address Creating Resilient, Safe Workplaces — January 27, 3:00-4:30 PM EST — New Registration Link

Research indicates that welcoming and safe workplaces that offer work-life balance and take precautions against violent behavior are beneficial to employers’ bottom lines through increased employee productivity, health and engagement. On January 27, 2015 from 3:00-4:30 PM EST, ODEP’s Employer TA Center, in coordination with the Federal Partners Committee on Women and Trauma, will host a webinar titled Creating Resilient Workplaces: Safe Space Leads to Engaged, Productive Workers. This webinar will feature expert speakers from federal and federally funded technical assistance centers who will discuss key considerations for implementing safe and productive workplaces. It will also highlight how fostering such workplaces — ones where employees feel comfortable disclosing disabilities and health concerns without fear, stigma or worry — allows all employees to receive the productivity tools (also known as reasonable accommodations) and supports they need to optimize their performance and deliver on the job.

FDWC News Hour: Planning for a Productive 2015 — January 28, 1:00-2:00 PM EST

The first Federal Disability Workforce Consortium (FDWC) News Hour webinar of 2015 will take place on January 28 from 1:00-2:00 PM EST. In the spirit of the new year, this webinar will focus on plans and priorities for the coming months, including networking opportunities and ideas for improving the eFedLink Community of Practice to better meet federal agency needs and facilitate increased engagement and collaboration. All federal hiring managers and others interested in increasing the representation of qualified people with disabilities in the federal workforce are encouraged to start the year out by joining in!

Disability Connection Newsletter Focuses on Federal Government Employment

The January edition of Disability.gov’s Disability Connection Newsletter features a story on “10 Things You Want to Know about Federal Government Employment.” The article provides advice on getting your foot in the door at a federal agency, understanding the Schedule A hiring authority, learning about job accommodations and many more topics. A wide array of resources are highlighted, including USAJOBS.gov’s Resume Builder, the American Job Center Resources for Veterans page, the Job Accommodation Network and a variety of other programs, publications and instructional materials.

OFCCP Posts Two FAQs on Inviting Veteran Self-Identification and the New VETS-4212 Form (January 21, 2015)

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

General Information

1. Why did OFCCP revise its VEVRAA regulations?

OFCCP revised the VEVRAA regulations to update and strengthen contractors’ affirmative action and nondiscrimination responsibilities. The framework articulating a contractor’s responsibilities with respect to affirmative action has remained unchanged since the VEVRAA implementing rules were first published in 1976. Meanwhile, increasing numbers of veterans are returning from tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places around the world, and many face substantial obstacles to finding employment upon leaving the service. Gulf War-era II veterans, in particular, have an unemployment rate far higher than the national average.

In 2012, according to BLS data on the employment situation of veterans for that year, about 2.6 million of the nation´s veterans had served during Gulf War-era II. The unemployment rate for this category of veterans was 9.9 percent, compared to nonveterans at 7.9 percent.

In this same year, the unemployment rate for male Gulf War-era II veterans age 18 to 24 was 20.0 percent, higher than the rate for nonveterans of the same age group (16.4 percent).

Several factors contribute to limiting the ability of veterans to seek, find, keep, and thrive in jobs. The existence of an outdated framework that does not reflect the realities of today’s workplace is one factor. Other factors include, bias or discrimination, the inability of employers to translate military skills and abilities, process and institutional barriers, and data collection issues. These all contribute to veterans being underutilized in the federal contractor workforce.

Addressing the barriers veterans face upon returning to civilian life is the focus of a number of federal efforts, including these revised VEVRAA regulations. The new regulations will help to ensure that contractors: list their jobs so that veterans can know about and apply for them; have the data they need to measure and tailor their outreach and recruitment of veterans; and take other necessary actions to employ and advance in employment these veterans. It also increases OFCCP’s flexibility in how it conducts compliance evaluations, which will lead to more effective and efficient enforcement of VEVRAA.

2. Did OFCCP change all of the VEVRAA regulations?

No, several VEVRAA requirements remain unchanged in the new regulations. OFCCP republished all of the VEVRAA implementing regulations when it published the Final Rule in the Federal Register, whether or not the individual regulation changed, to make the Final Rule easier to read and understand.

3. Do the new VEVRAA regulations differ from the regulations proposed in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)?

Yes. OFCCP received more than 100 comments on the NPRM from contractors, veterans’ organizations, and others during the public comment period. In light of the comments, we made several changes to the proposed regulations. The resulting new regulations increase contractor accountability for compliance with their affirmative action obligations, but provide contractors with greater flexibility than the NPRM originally proposed.

4. Where can I get a copy of the new regulations?

The new VEVRAA regulations are available on the OFCCP Web site at www.dol.gov/ofccp/VEVRAARule, where you can read them as published in the Federal Register or as posted in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR).

5. Will the “EEO is the Law” poster be revised in light of the new regulations? If so, should contractors stop using the current poster now that the new regulations are effective?

It is likely that the “EEO is the Law” poster will be revised in light of changes in the new regulations; for example, the new poster will reflect the change in the terminology used to describe the veterans protected by VEVRAA. Even though OFCCP is working with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to revise the poster, contractors should continue using the existing poster. OFCCP will post a notice on its Web site to let contractors know when the new poster is available for use.

Effective Date and Compliance Schedule

When did the new VEVRAA regulations become effective?

The new regulations became effective on March 24, 2014. Contractors should be in compliance with all elements of the new regulations, except for the new Affirmative Action Program requirements in Subpart C, as of this date. OFCCP is providing contractors with additional time to come into compliance with these Affirmative Action Program requirements, during which it will provide technical assistance to facilitate the transition for contractors.

March 24, 2014 fell in the middle of my company’s AAP year. When are we required to put in place a new AAP that complies with Subpart C of the new regulations?

Contractors with an AAP in place as of the effective date of the new regulations (March 24, 2014) may maintain that AAP until the end of their AAP year and delay their compliance with the AAP requirements of Subpart C of the new regulations until the start of their next AAP cycle. Contractors are nevertheless encouraged to begin updating their employment practices and IT systems to come into compliance with the revised requirements of Subpart C of the new regulations as soon as possible. In addition, contractors are reminded that they must be in compliance with the other requirements of the new regulations, in subparts A, B, D and E, as of the effective date.

Overview of the New VEVRAA Regulations

1. Why did OFCCP rescind the VEVRAA regulations in 41 CFR Part 60-250?

The Part 60-250 regulations applied only to contracts entered into before December 1, 2003, and not since modified. OFCCP believes that all such contracts have either expired, or been modified so that they are now covered under the 41 CFR Part 60-300 regulations. There is, therefore, no longer a need for the Part 60-250 regulations.

However, out of an abundance of caution that a contract falling under Part 60-250 coverage may still exist, the new VEVRAA regulations provide for the continuing protection from discrimination for any veteran who would have been protected under Part 60-250 had it not been rescinded, but is not currently protected under Part 60-300. The new regulations refer to these veterans as “pre-JVA veterans,” and permit them to file discrimination complaints under the Part 60-300 regulations.

2. What changes do the new VEVRAA regulations make to the definitions section of the regulations?

The new VEVRAA regulations make several changes to the definitions section of the regulations:

A definition of “protected veteran” has been added to provide a comprehensive term to refer to any veteran that is protected under the VEVRAA regulations;
The term “other protected veteran” has been replaced with the more accurate and specific term “active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran” to describe that group of protected veterans. These are veterans that served on active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized, under the laws administered by the Department of Defense;
A definition of “pre-JVA veteran” has been added to denote the groups of veterans previously protected under the now rescinded Part 60-250;
“Director” replaces the term “Deputy Assistant Secretary” to reflect the current title of the head of OFCCP;
Additional information regarding the Wagner-Peyser Act has been added to the definition of “employment service delivery system” for clarification; and
The definitions have been rearranged into alphabetical order, which will make the definitions section easier to use.

3. Tell me more about the new requirement to establish a hiring benchmark. What does my company have to do to establish its benchmark?

The new VEVRAA regulations require that each contractor who is required to develop a written affirmative action program (AAP) also establish a hiring benchmark for protected veterans each year. This benchmark is a tool to help contractors assess the effectiveness of their efforts to recruit and employ protected veterans. A contractor may establish its hiring benchmark in one of two ways:

A contractor may establish a benchmark equal to the national percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force, as posted in the Benchmark Database on the OFCCP Web site; or

A contractor may establish its own benchmark by taking into account the following five factors:

the average percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force in the state where the contractor is located over the preceding three years, as posted in the Benchmark Database on the OFCCP Web site;
the number of veterans , over the previous four quarters, who participated in the employment service delivery system in the state where the contractor is located, as posted in the Benchmark Database on the OFCCP Web site;
the applicant and hiring ratios for the previous year;
the contractor’s recent assessments of the effectiveness of its outreach and recruitment efforts; and
any other factors, such as the nature of the job or its location, that would affect the availability of qualified protected veterans.
Contractors must maintain records related to their benchmark for three years, allowing them to assess the success of their outreach and recruitment efforts for veterans over time.

4. Does my company have to apply our hiring benchmark to each of our Executive Order job groups?

No. Contractors may apply their hiring benchmark to each of their job groups, but the new VEVRAA regulations do not require them to do so.

5. Is the hiring benchmark a “goal”?

No, the hiring benchmark in VEVRAA functions differently from the “goals” expressed in the Executive Order 11246 regulations and the new Section 503 regulations. The hiring benchmark in VEVRAA provides a yardstick against which contractors can measure the success of their efforts to recruit and employ qualified protected veterans. A goal, on the other hand, not only serves as a yardstick to measure the success of outreach and recruitment efforts, but it also provides an equal opportunity objective, based on the availability of members of the protected group in the labor force, that should be attainable if the contractor complies with its affirmative action program. In contrast, the only data regarding veteran availability in the labor force encompasses all veterans, and is broader than the subset of veterans who are protected by VEVRAA. Therefore, such data could not be used as the basis for establishing an availability-based goal.

6. What changes do the new VEVRAA regulations make to the contractor’s obligations to invite applicants to self-identify as a protected veteran?

The new VEVRAA regulations require contractors to invite applicants to self-identify as a protected veteran prior to making a job offer, in addition to the post-offer self-identification that is already required. OFCCP added this requirement so that contractors can track the number of protected veterans who apply for jobs and use this data to assess the effectiveness of their outreach and recruitment efforts. The pre-offer invitation to self-identify may be included in the contractors’ application materials. After making a job offer to an applicant, the new regulations retain the obligation that contractors invite applicants to voluntarily self-identify as belonging to any of the specific categories of protected veteran (e.g., recently separated veteran; disabled veteran) on which the contractor is required to report by the Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS). Appendix B of the new VEVRAA regulations includes a sample invitation to self-identify that contractors may choose to use. You can find the sample invitations on the OFCCP Web site.

7. When should my company invite pre-offer self-identification from applicants? Is the timing the same for Internet applicants?

The new VEVRAA regulations permit contractors to invite applicants to self-identify as a protected veteran at the same time that the contractor collects demographic data regarding race, gender, and ethnicity from applicants, as required by Executive Order 11246. Under Executive Order 11246, the Internet Applicant Rule generally allows contractors to screen out individuals whom they believe do not meet the basic qualifications for the position prior to collecting demographic data regarding race, gender, and ethnicity. In order to harmonize VEVRAA’s pre-offer invitation to self-identify requirement with Executive Order 11246’s Internet Applicant recordkeeping provisions, OFCCP will permit contractors to invite applicants to self-identify after they meet the Internet Applicant requirements, including the basic qualification screen.

When designing basic qualification screens, contractors should be mindful of the requirements that VEVRAA places on the use of qualification standards and selection criteria, including the use of “basic qualification” screens. VEVRAA prohibits contractors from using qualification standards and selection criteria that screen out or tend to screen out a disabled or other protected veteran or a class of disabled or other protected veterans unless the contractor can show that the standards or criteria are job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity. Moreover, contractors may not use selection criteria that relate to the performance of an essential function of the job to exclude a disabled veteran if that person could satisfy the criteria with a reasonable accommodation.

8. Do the new VEVRAA regulations make changes to the mandatory job listing requirement?

The new regulations clarify what contractors must do to satisfy the job listing requirement set forth in the VEVRAA statute. They require the contractor to provide additional identifying information to the appropriate employment service delivery system (ESDS) when listing its job openings. Specifically, the new regulations codify OFCCP’s longstanding policy that the contractor must provide its job listing information in a format that is permitted by the appropriate employment ESDS. This means, for example, that if the ESDS requires electronic transmission through a Web-based form, the contractor must provide its job listings in this way. If the ESDS will accept job listings electronically, by facsimile or by mail, then the contractor may provide its job listings in any of these formats. In addition, a contractor must indicate on its job listings that it is a federal contractor – for example by noting “VEVRAA Federal Contractor” on its listing – and its desire for priority referrals of protected veterans for its openings. The contractor must also provide the contact information for the contractor official responsible for hiring at each hiring location who can verify the information in the job listing. This official may be a chief hiring official, an HR contact, a senior management contact, or any other appropriate official.

9. Do the new VEVRAA regulations still permit my company to incorporate the Equal Opportunity (EO) Clause into subcontracts by reference?

Yes. Contractors can incorporate the EO Clause into subcontracts by reference but only by citing the regulations, 41 CFR 60-300.5(a), AND including the following sentences in bold text immediately following the citation:

This contractor and subcontractor shall abide by the requirements of 41 CFR 60-300.5(a). This regulation prohibits discrimination against qualified protected veterans, and requires affirmative action by covered prime contractors and subcontractors to employ and advance in employment qualified protected veterans.

10. Can a contractor satisfy its obligation to post a notice informing applicants and employees of their EEO rights by posting the notice electronically?

When a contractor has employees who do not work at its physical location, the contractor can satisfy its posting obligation by posting the EEO notice in electronic format. To have the ability to use electronic postings to satisfy this obligation, a contractor must either provide these employees with computers that can access the electronic posting or the contractor must have actual knowledge that the electronically posted notice is otherwise accessible to these employees. Contractors must post electronic notices for employees in a in a conspicuous location and format on the company’s Intranet or send them to employees by electronic mail (i.e., email). If the contractor uses an electronic application process, it must post an electronic notice to inform job applicants of their EEO rights. Electronic notices for applicants must be conspicuously stored with, or as part of, the electronic application. In addition, in individual instances, a contractor may have to provide a notice of EEO rights electronically as a form of reasonable accommodation for a disabled employee, even if the employee works at the contractor´s physical location.

11. Do the new VEVRAA regulations change the requirements concerning the equal opportunity employer statement that is included in all solicitations and advertisements for employees?

Yes. The new regulations require a contractor to state in its solicitations and advertisements that it is an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans. Contractors can do this by simply adding “veteran status” or something similar to its existing equal opportunity employer statement.

12. What changes do the new VEVRAA regulations make to the VEVRAA data collection requirements?

The previous VEVRAA regulations did not provide for any structured collection of data regarding the number of protected veteran who apply for jobs. This lack of data made it nearly impossible for a contractor to evaluate the availability of protected veterans in its applicant pool or workforce, or to assess the effectiveness of its outreach and recruitment efforts at attracting protected veteran candidates. To fill this data void, the new regulations require contractors to document and update the following comparisons and information regarding applicants and employees annually.

With respect to applicants:

the number of protected veteran applicants;
the total number of job openings and the number of jobs filled; and
the total number of applicants for all jobs.
With respect to employees:
the total number of protected veteran applicants hired; and
the total number of applicants hired

This will provide contractors with meaningful data to use in evaluating and tailoring their recruitment and outreach efforts. Contractors must maintain this information for three years, to allow them to assess the success of their outreach and recruitment efforts for veterans over time.

13. Do the new VEVRAA regulations change the requirement that contractors design and implement an audit and reporting system for their affirmative action program?

OFCCP always intended that contractors document the actions they take to comply with the requirement to design and implement an audit and reporting system. The new regulations make this intention explicit by requiring that contractors document these actions and retain these documents as employment records.

14. Do the new VEVRAA regulations change the requirements for conducting outreach and recruitment?

The new regulations provide examples of outreach and recruitment activities, but retain the flexibility for contractors to choose and utilize the outreach and recruitment activities that work best for them. To determine whether the chosen methods of outreach and recruitment have been successful, the new regulations require that contractors annually assess their outreach and recruitment efforts and document this evaluation. The evaluation must include the criteria the contractor used to evaluate the effectiveness of each effort and the contractor´s conclusion as to whether each effort was effective. If the contractor concludes that totality of its efforts were not effective in identifying and recruiting qualified protected veterans, it must implement alternative outreach and recruitment methods. Contractors must retain their evaluations for three years, to allow them to assess the success of their outreach and recruitment efforts for veterans over time.

15. How do the new regulations change the VEVRAA recordkeeping requirements?

To enable contractors to assess the effectiveness of their outreach and recruitment activities over time, the new regulations add a requirement that certain types of records are to be maintained for three years.

These records are:

Evaluations of outreach and recruitment efforts (41 CFR 60-300.44(f));
Records pertaining to the data collection of comparisons regarding applicants and employees (41 CFR 60-300.44(k)); and
Records related to the hiring benchmark requirement (41 CFR 60-300.45).

16. Do the new VEVRAA regulations change the contractor’s obligation to conduct a review of physical and mental job qualification standards?

No. The new regulations retain the regulatory requirement for “periodic” reviews so no new or different obligations are created for contractors. OFCCP has identified some best practices, or examples, for reviewing job qualification standards. One example is reviewing physical and mental qualification standards prior to posting or filling a job position/opening, if the contractor has not reviewed the standards for that job within the past year; and whenever the physical or mental qualifications standards of a job change, regardless of when the contractor last reviewed that position´s standards.

17. Do the new VEVRAA regulations update how compliance officers conduct compliance evaluations?

Yes. It has long been OFCCP’s practice to obtain information pertinent to the evaluation for periods after the date of the scheduling letter. The new regulations codify this position by stating that OFCCP may extend the temporal scope of an evaluation and examine information after the date of the compliance evaluation scheduling letter, if OFCCP deems it necessary to carry out its investigation of potential VEVRAA violations. The new regulations also state that, upon request, the contractor must inform OFCCP of the format(s) in which it maintains its records and other information (e.g., Word; pdf; Excel), and provide the records and information to OFCCP in the available format(s) OFCCP selects. In addition, the new regulations state that OFCCP may request that the contractor provide documents either on-site or off-site during compliance checks and that OFCCP may conduct focused reviews both on-site and off-site. Finally, the new regulations add a pre-award compliance evaluation procedure like the one contained in the Executive Order 11246 regulations.

Compliance Assistance and Education

1. How can I contact OFCCP if I have questions about the new VEVRAA regulations?

You may call OFCCP Toll-Free at 1-800-397-6251 (TTY: 1-877-889-5627) or contact us by email at OFCCP-Public@dol.gov. You may also contact the field office nearest you for assistance. To locate your nearest office visit our on-line OFCCP office directory at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/contacts/ofnation2.htm.

2. Does OFCCP provide technical assistance for contractors on the new VEVRAA requirements?

Yes. OFCCP conducted a series of training webinars to help federal contractors comply with the new regulations, the recordings of which are available on the OFCCP website at www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/final_rules_webinars.htm. Future training webinars on the new regulations will also be announced on this webpage.

In addition, OFCCP has compiled resources to support federal contractor compliance with the new regulations, which are available on the OFCCP website at www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/Resources.htm.

Implementation Questions: In General

UPDATE

1. Does the revised Scheduling Letter request data and information required in the new VEVRAA regulations?

Yes. Effective October 1, 2014, OMB approved a revised Scheduling Letter and Itemized Listing specifying the documents and data that a contractor must provide to OFCCP when selected for a compliance evaluation. These include the contractor’s VEVRAA Affirmative Action Program (AAP), and the documentation and information required by Subpart C of the new regulations, including but not limited to the contractor’s annually established hiring benchmark, evaluation of outreach and recruitment efforts, and the data described in § 60-300.44(k).

2. The revised regulations require that the “EEO is the Law” poster be made available in a “form that is accessible and understandable” to individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans, such as Braille or large print. Must contractors maintain Braille and/or large print versions of the poster at all locations?

Providing the “EEO is the Law” poster in an alternate format, such as large print or Braille, is a form of reasonable accommodation. Therefore, contractors must make the poster available in such an alternate format only when an applicant or employee requests the poster in an alternate format, or when the contractor knows that an applicant or employee is unable to read the poster because of a disability. Contractors may also provide the poster to an applicant or employee with a disability in other alternate formats, such as on disc or in an audio recording, so long as the format provided enables the individual with a disability to access the contents of the poster.

3. The revised regulations require contractors to “conspicuously store” the “EEO is the Law” poster with, or as part of, an electronic application. Does this mean that an actual physical or electronic copy of the poster must be individually stored with each application?

The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that applicants who apply for jobs electronically are informed of their equal employment opportunity protections as part of the application process. Although including a copy of the poster with every electronic application will satisfy the requirement, the regulations do not require contractors to do this. Rather, a contractor may choose to satisfy this requirement in any way that ensures that every electronic applicant has the opportunity to view the poster during the application process, such as by displaying a prominent link to the poster, along with a brief explanation of what the link connects to, as part of their electronic application.

4. When will the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) be updated to reflect the new Section 503 and VEVRAA requirements?

Updating the FAR is a separate process that is currently underway through the FAR Council. OFCCP is being consulted during that process and is working to ensure that updates to the FAR reflect Section 503 and VEVRAA requirements. It is not yet clear when these FAR revisions will be completed and the new FAR will be published. You may want to check with the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council at https://acquisition.gov/far/.

Compliance Schedule

1. What do contractors with AAPs in place under the old regulations need to do as of the effective date of the new VEVRAA regulations (March 24, 2014) to ensure that their first AAPs under the new regulations are as compliant as possible?

As a contractor, you may delay compliance with the AAP requirements of Subpart C until your first AAP is due following the March 24, 2014, effective date. This includes the revised self-identification elements in 60-300.42. While you are allowed to delay compliance with Subpart C until the start of your first post-effective date AAP, OFCCP does not encourage this approach. However, should you choose not to comply with Subpart C until your first post-effective date AAP, you must ensure that your existing AAP complies with all the requirements of the old regulations, including the self-identification requirements of the previous regulations.

OFCCP recommends that all contractors begin complying with Subpart C of the new regulations prior to the issuance of their first AAP under the new rules, and strongly encourages contractors to take these steps as soon as practicable. To begin coming into compliance, OFCCP recommends that, to the extent practicable, contractors:

Invite applicants to voluntarily self-identify as being a protected veteran at the pre-offer stage, and as belonging to one or more of the specific categories of protected veteran the contractor is required to report pursuant to 41 CFR 61-300 (60-741.42);
Include an EO policy statement in the AAP that shows top executive support for their AAPs (60-300.44(a));
Assess and document the effectiveness of their outreach and recruitment efforts annually (60-300.44(f)(3));
Ensure that outreach and recruitment efforts are documented and retained (60-300.44(f)(4));
Document actions taken to comply with the audit and reporting system obligations (60-300.44(h));
Train employees engaged in key personnel activities (60-300.44(j));
Conduct data analysis by calculating data related to applicants and hires (60-300.44(k)); and
Establish, document and begin applying an annual hiring benchmark for each establishment (60-300.45)).

In addition, contractors must ensure full compliance with the requirements under the old regulations, including reviewing personnel practices (60-300.44(b)), reviewing job qualifications (60-300.44(c)), making reasonable accommodations available (60-300.44(d)), developing harassment policies (60-300.44(e)), engaging in outreach (60-300.44(f)), and having procedures for distributing information on EO and affirmative action efforts (60-300.44(g)).

An early start implementing the new regulations’ Subpart C affirmative action program requirements gives contractors time to identify issues or challenges, and to seek technical assistance from OFCCP prior to the due date of their first AAP under the new regulations. This makes for a more robust first year AAP plan under the new regulations.

2. What new elements should be included in the first AAP under the new VEVRAA regulations, that is, after the effective date (March 24, 2014)?

Your first AAP under the new regulations should address all elements of Subpart C. Ideally, a contractor’s first AAP under the new rules should include, as best as possible, all of the elements of Subpart C, including:

Evidence that the contractor is complying with the requirements to invite voluntary self-identification per 60-300.42;
The inclusion of an equal opportunity policy statement per 60-300.44(a);
A review of the contractor’s personnel processes per 60-300.44(b);
A schedule for the review of all physical and mental job qualification standards and evidence that it adheres to that schedule per 60-300.44(c);
Information relating to the procedures developed and implemented ensuring that employees are not harassed because of their protected veteran status per 60-300.44(e);
A review and assessment of the contractor’s outreach and recruitment efforts per 60-300.44(f);
Documentation of all activities taken to comply with the obligations of 60-300.44 per 60-300.44(f)(4);
Documentation that the contractor has implemented and disseminated its commitment to affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified protected veterans per 60-300.44(g);
Evidence that the contractor has designed and implemented an audit and reporting system per 60-300.44(h);
Identification of the individual assigned responsibility for the implementation of the contractor’s AAP and evidence of compliance with 60-300.44(i);
Data collection pursuant to 60-300.44(k);
Documentation that it established and applied an annual hiring benchmark per 60-300.45.
For each element required by Subpart C, the contractor’s first AAP should:
Address everything that the contractor has done to comply with the elements of Subpart C that are not new;
Address everything that the contractor has done to come into compliance with the new provisions of Subpart C that took effect on March 24, 2014; and
To the extent that the contractor is not yet in full compliance with the new provisions of Subpart C, discuss the steps that it plans to take to come into compliance.

OFCCP understands that the first AAP is a transitional one for contractors.

Therefore, a contractor will NOT be found in violation of the new Subpart C, so long as it can demonstrate that it has acted reasonably, in light of its particular circumstances.

Data Collection Analysis

1. The data collection requirements in section 60-300.44(k)(2) of the new VEVRAA regulations require contractors to document “the total number of job openings and total number of jobs filled.” Does the “total number of openings” refer to the number of requisitions or job vacancy announcements, or to the number of individual open positions referenced in the requisitions or announcements?

The total number of job openings refers to the number of individual positions advertised as open in a job vacancy announcement or requisition. For example, if one job vacancy announcement or requisition includes 5 open positions and results in 4 hires, the contractor would document this as 5 job openings and 4 jobs filled.

2. The data collection requirements in section 60-300.44(k) also ask contractors to report the number of jobs “filled” (60-300.44(k)(2)) and those “hired” (60-300.44(k)(4) and (5)). How does the number of “jobs filled” differ from the number of people “hired?”
In the context of the data collection requirements of 60-300.44(k), jobs “filled” refers to all jobs the company filled by any means, be it through a competitive process or non-competitively, e.g., through reassignment or merit promotion. It, therefore, should take into account both new hires into the company and those employees who were placed into new positions via promotions, transfers, and reassignments. In contrast, the number of those “hired” refers solely to those applicants (both internal and external to the contractor) who are hired through a competitive process, including promotions.

3. Does the number of “jobs filled” include step or ladder movements that are automatically attained upon completion of a stated event, such as time in the job or attainment of a particular certification?

Both competitive and non-competitive movements may qualify as “jobs filled,” so long as the movement is one into a different position, rather than simply a movement within the same position. This will necessarily be a fact-based determination. So, for example, a time-driven salary increase from one “step” to the next within the same position would not be a “job filled,” since there was not any movement into a new position. By contrast, if an apprentice completes a certification program and moves into a journeyman position, then such movement would be a “job filled,” since it is a movement from one position to another.

4. Can a contractor’s existing human resources information system (HRIS) and/or applicant tracking system (ATS) serve as the “data analysis file” in which veteran self-identification must be stored?

Contractors may use their existing human resources information systems or applicant tracking systems as the data analysis file repositories for the veteran self-identification data collected pursuant to the new regulations, provided that certain criteria are met. Specifically, the veteran status-related data must be stored securely, apart from other personnel information, so that confidentiality is maintained, and access to this data must be limited solely to contractor personnel who have a need to know the information for the purpose of complying with OFCCP’s regulations. Veteran self-identification data must not be kept with the employee’s confidential medical file.

Job Listing

1. How should contractors list job openings for “remote jobs,” that is, jobs that are full-time telework positions from any location, in order to comply with VEVRAA’s job listing requirement?

VEVRAA requires that contractors list all employment openings which exist at the time of the execution of the contract, and which occur during the performance of the contract, with the appropriate employment service delivery system (ESDS) where the opening occurs. Typically, the location of a job opening, or where a job opening “occurs,” is the location to which the employee must report for work. For a job opening that does not require the employee to report to, or work from, a specific location, a contractor may satisfy the job listing requirement by listing the job opening with the state or local ESDS where the work unit, division, department or supervisor to which the employee will report or be assigned is located.

Self-Identification

1. If an individual self-identifies as a protected veteran at the pre-offer stage of the application process, but does not self-identify again at the post-offer stage, may a contractor still count the individual as a protected veteran for purposes of applying the hiring benchmark and performing the required data collection analysis?

Section 60-300.42 of the new VEVRAA regulations requires contractors to invite applicants to self-identify as “protected veterans” at both the pre-offer and post-offer stages of the application process. If an applicant self-identifies as a “protected veteran” at the pre-offer stage but not at the post-offer stage, the contractor may identify the new hire as a “protected veteran” for purposes of compliance with the new VEVRAA regulations.

NEW

2. The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) replaced the VETS-100A form with a new VETS-4212 form. The new form requires federal contractors to report aggregate data on the number of protected veterans that were newly hired and the number they employed. This is different from the previous requirement that contractors report the data by the number of veterans in each of the individual categories for protected veterans. To comply with OFCCP’s VEVRAA requirements, must contractors continue to invite applicants to self-identify using the individual categories at the post-offer stage?

No. The VEVRAA requirement, at 41 CFR 60-300.42(b), mandates that contractors invite post-offer self-identification as a protected veteran. This provision is specifically linked to the scope of the VETS reporting requirement. Accordingly, since the new VETS-4212 report no longer requires contractors to provide this information by the individual protected veteran categories, contractors are not required to invite self-identification by category in order to comply with VEVRAA’s post-offer invitation requirement. Rather, contractors need only invite those offered a job to indicate whether they are protected veterans under any of the VEVRAA categories.

NEW

3. May a contractor continue to invite applicants to voluntarily self-identify as a protected veteran using the individual categories for protected veterans even though the new VETS-4212 form asks only for aggregated protected veteran data?

Yes. Though not required, contractors may choose to continue to invite applicants to voluntarily self-identify the specific category or categories of protected veteran to which they belong at the post-offer stage, so long as the contractor also provides VETS with the aggregate protected veteran data required by the VETS-4212 form.

Hiring Benchmarks

1. Should a contractor apply the VEVRAA hiring benchmark to all of its establishments, to each establishment separately, or to each job group at each establishment?

The VEVRAA hiring benchmark – whether based on the national percentage of veterans per 60-300.45(b)(1) or the five-factor approach in 60-300.45(b)(2) – should be applied to hiring for each establishment separately.

2. Is it acceptable for a contractor to set different benchmarks for each of its establishments? For example, may a contractor set the benchmark for one of its establishments using the national percentage of veterans (per 60-300.45(b)(1)) and for another of its establishments using the five-factor analysis (per 60-300.45(b)(2))?

Yes. Each contractor is free to use either of the two methods specified in the Final Rule to establish the benchmark for each of its establishments.

3. When applying the hiring benchmark, should contractors use the same definition of “hires” that is used for purposes of the data collection analysis required by 60-300.44(k)?

Yes. Since neither the new regulations, nor its preamble, specify a different definition of “hires” for the VEVRAA hiring benchmark, contractors should use the definition of hires that is applicable to the data collection analysis obligation. That definition encompasses those applicants (both internal and external to the contractor) who are hired through a competitive process, including promotions. This will ensure consistency in the interpretations of these key provisions of the new regulations.

Vacancy Announcement Tagline

May contractors satisfy the EEO tagline requirement by abbreviating “disability” and “protected veteran status” as “D” and “V,” respectively?
Contractors may refer to those protected by Section 503 or VEVRAA by abbreviation, but such abbreviations must be commonly understood by those seeking employment. Simply using “D” and “V” are not adequate abbreviations for this reason. For those protected by Section 503 or VEVRAA, the tagline should at a minimum state “disability” and “vet” so that the tagline will be clearly understood by jobseekers.

Equal Opportunity Clause

1. For those contractors that elect to incorporate the required Equal Opportunity (EO) clauses by reference, may the “incorporation by reference” clause required by 41 CFR 60-300.5(a) be combined with the “incorporation by reference” clause required by 41 CFR 60-741.5(a)?

Yes, contractors may combine these two EO “incorporation by reference” clauses provided that the combined clause is set in bold text and the prescribed content of both clauses is preserved. The following example provides one illustration of how this might be done:

This contractor and subcontractor shall abide by the requirements of 41 CFR 60-300.5(a) and 60-741.5(a). These regulations prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals on the basis of protected veteran status or disability, and require affirmative action by covered prime contractors and subcontractors to employ and advance in employment qualified protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.

2. Are federal contractors permitted to combine all of the Equal Opportunity (EO) clauses required by 41 CFR 60-300.5(a), 41 CFR 60-741.5(a), and 41 CFR 60-1.4(a) (or for construction contractors, 41 CFR 60-4.3(a)) into a single, consolidated “incorporation by reference” clause?

Yes, contractors may combine all of their required EO clauses into a single “incorporation by reference” clause, provided that the entire combined clause is set in bold text and the prescribed content of the veteran and disability EO “incorporation by reference” clauses is preserved. The following example provides one illustration of how this might be done for a supply and service contractor:

This contractor and subcontractor shall abide by the requirements of 41 CFR 60-1.4(a), 60-300.5(a) and 60-741.5(a). These regulations prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals based on their status as protected veterans or individuals with disabilities, and prohibit discrimination against all individuals based on their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin. Moreover, these regulations require that covered prime contractors and subcontractors take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or veteran status.

Office of Disability Employment Policy: Capitalize on the Mentoring Effect (January 21, 2015)

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

“Be Someone Who Matters to Someone Who Matters.” That’s the theme of this year’s National Mentoring Month, and a worthy call to action for employers of all sizes at the start of a new year. After all, mentoring is a proven way for employers to help others while also helping their company. And when businesses help facilitate mentoring opportunities for youth with disabilities, the benefits are heightened even further.

Why? Because in order to effectively prepare to enter the workforce, youth with disabilities, like all youth, must have opportunities to explore their employment potential through firsthand experience and trusted relationships with older, more experienced workers. At the same time, mentoring delivers pay-offs to your business by improving staff members’ supervisory skills and job satisfaction and promoting a positive image within the community.

A new public service announcement (PSA) from the U.S. Business Leadership Network — a consortium of employers committed to driving business performance through disability employment — illustrates these benefits. In it, we meet Dan, an executive, and Anna, his young mentee, who looks to him for support, counsel and constructive example as she navigates her new job and the world of work.

While some large businesses have workplace mentoring programs that are formal, they don’t need to be. In fact, they can be simple, inexpensive and easy to implement, thanks to free resources, including a Workplace Mentoring Primer developed by the ODEP-funded Employer Assistance and Resource Network. For example, you can consider organizing an onsite job shadowing day for local youth, participating in career events at nearby schools or granting employees time to volunteer through a mentoring partnership with a local disability nonprofit. Within your own organization, you can also pair young employees with seasoned workers. And don’t forget to start planning now for Disability Mentoring Day, held each October nationwide.

So in 2015, resolve to be someone who matters to someone who matters and help your employees do the same. You’ll quickly learn why mentoring works, at work — and how it benefits mentee, mentor and your business at large.

Justice Department and the City of Albuquerque Jointly Select Independent Monitor to Oversee Police Reforms (January 21, 2015)

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

The Justice Department announced today that, jointly with the city of Albuquerque, it is notifying the District Court of the selection of Dr. James R. Ginger—a nationally recognized expert on police reform and organizational change—as the independent monitor of the settlement agreement entered into by the department and the city of Albuquerque to reform the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). Ginger and his team will be responsible for independently assessing the full implementation of the settlement agreement; reporting on the status of compliance to the court, the parties and the community; assisting the parties in resolving compliance challenges that may emerge; and providing technical guidance as needed to the APD.

Ginger has successfully overseen similar court-enforceable agreements aimed at increasing community trust and implementing sustainable police reforms. He has first-hand experience in ensuring critical reform across the country and a proven record of timely implementing reform. He was appointed as independent monitor over the first consent decree ever obtained by the Justice Department in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as part of its enforcement of civil rights laws aimed at ensuring constitutional and effective policing. He worked closely with the parties and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police to implement comprehensive reforms, designed to address excessive use of force, false arrests, improper searches and seizures, failures in the disciplinary system and inadequate first-line supervision. He was also appointed as monitor over the consent decree involving the New Jersey State Police and its efforts to eradicate discriminatory policing practices. Ginger has been a leader in developing monitoring technologies and methodologies used in evaluating compliance with federal consent decrees. Ginger has also worked with law enforcement agencies in New York, Ohio, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Indiana and others. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Public Management Resources Inc. (PMR) and is responsible for strategic planning, marketing, budgeting and management.

Before founding PMR, Ginger worked as an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Executive Director for the Center of Justice Policy, Deputy Director of the Police Foundation and Director of the Southern Police Institute. Ginger was credited with planning, developing and implementing a nationwide technical assistance and training project for the United States Bureau of Justice Assistance and developing nation-wide programs as part of the Southern Police Institute.

The monitoring team led by Ginger includes experts who have proven experience in assessing reform similar to those contained in the settlement agreement with Albuquerque. The members of the monitoring team will include, among others, G. Patrick Gallagher, President of the Gallagher-Westfall Group; Dan Giaquinto, legal specialist and partner at Kern, Augustine, Conroy, & Schoppman, P.C.; Phil Coyne, Principal of Coyne Enterprise Solutions LLC; Mary Kealoha, Vice-President of the Gallagher-Westfall Group; Albert Preik, former Training Director for the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police; Peter Sarna, nationally recognized expert in police training and use of force; and Dave Torres, former Commandant of the New Jersey State Police training academy.

“We thank all of the individuals and firms that submitted letters of interest to serve as monitor and for their many accomplishments,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division. “The decision to select the most qualified candidate from among the field was not an easy one, and we thank the community and other stakeholders for their input on this critical step of the implementation process.”

“Dr. Ginger’s proven success with police departments and criminal justice systems in the United States will assist in promoting compliance with critical structural and systemic reforms that are necessary to restoring public confidence and achieving effective and constitutional policing in Albuquerque,” said U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez for the District of New Mexico. “We are pleased to have worked collaboratively with the City to select Dr. Ginger, who we believe is uniquely positioned to assess and report on the Albuquerque Police Department’s reform efforts.”

Ginger’s application materials can be found here.

A copy of the complaint, the final agreement can be found at www.justice.gov/crt/about/spl.

Arne Duncan: Improving American education is not optional (Washington Post, January 16, 2015)

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

On consecutive days this week, the United States was introduced to two very different visions for its most important education law. Quite soon, Congress will choose between them, and while the legislation could move fast enough to escape wide public notice, its consequences will be profound.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) stands as a statement that a high-quality education for every single child is a national interest and a civil right. The law has boosted funding for schools in low-income neighborhoods, put books in libraries and helped ensure that minorities, students with disabilities, those learning English, those living in poverty and others who have struggled would not slip through the cracks.

Since then, and especially over the past 15 years, amid bipartisan agreement to focus strongly on students’ learning, progress has been significant. Since 2000, high school graduation rates, once stagnant, rose almost 10 percentage points, to an all-time high. A young Hispanic person is now half as likely to drop out of high school compared with 15 years ago and twice as likely to be in college. A million more black and Hispanic students are in college than were in 2008.

These are meaningful steps toward the day when every child in this country — whether he or she lives in a homeless shelter, migrant laborers’ camp or leafy suburb — has access to a solid education.

Yet, as Congress considers revamping ESEA, these trends are in question. This week, Republicans in Congress released a discussion draft of the bill that should worry anyone who believes the entire nation has an interest in the quality of children’s education.

Few would question that No Child Left Behind — the most recent version of ESEA — needs to be replaced. No Child Left Behind brought valuable attention to the needs of vulnerable student groups, but its prescriptive and punitive interventions have left it reviled by educators. It’s time for a new law.

On Monday, I laid out core ideas for a law that would ensure real opportunity, one that must expand support and funding for schools and teachers. It must expand access to quality preschool. It must help to modernize teaching, through improved supports and preparation. And it must continue to enable parents, educators and communities to know how much progress students are making — and ensure that where students are falling behind, and where schools fail students year after year, action will be taken.

To measure student progress in a useful way, states need an annual statewide assessment. But the tests — and test preparation — must not take excessive time away from classroom instruction. Great teaching, not test prep, is what engages students and leads to higher achievement.

In many places, too many tests take up too much time, leaving many educators, families and students feeling frustrated. That’s why we want to work with Congress to urge states and school districts to review the tests they give and eliminate redundant and unnecessary ones. We’ll urge Congress to have states set limits on the amount of time spent on state- and districtwide standardized testing and notify parents if they exceed these limits.

Everyone can learn from what’s happening in places such as New York, which has capped standardized testing at 2 percent of instructional time, and North Carolina, Maryland, New Mexico and Rhode Island, where leaders and educators are carefully reviewing their tests to make sure students have time to learn and teachers have time to teach. To help states and districts make these changes, the president will request funding in his budget to aid in improving and streamlining the tests.

These steps would help accelerate the progress America’s students are making, strengthen opportunity for all students and ensure greater economic security for our young people.

Unfortunately, the Republican discussion draft goes in a different direction. While there are some areas where we agree, the Republican plan would make optional too many things we should be able to promise to our young people.

After years of progress, do we need statewide indicators of what progress all students are making each year, as the nation’s chief state school officers and a dozen-plus civil rights organizations have asked? The Republican plan says, “It’s optional.”

Should funds intended for the highest-poverty schools actually go to those schools? The Republican plan says, “It’s optional.”

Should we do more to ensure that all families have access to quality preschool? The Republican plan says, “It’s optional.”

We cannot afford to replace “the fierce urgency of now” with the soft bigotry of “it’s optional.”

I respect my Republican colleagues deeply, and their care for this country’s children is real. So I am optimistic about reaching bipartisan agreement on a bill that holds true to the promise of real opportunity.

In making choices for our children’s future, we will decide who we are as a nation. For the sake of our children, our communities and our country, let’s make the right choice.

Justice Department Settles Pay Discrimination Lawsuit Against Clark County, Nevada (January 15, 2015)

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

The Department of Justice announced today that it has entered into a consent decree with Clark County, Nevada, that, if approved by the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, will resolve the department’s lawsuit filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 regarding compensation discrimination and retaliation. In its lawsuit, the department alleged that the county paid Therese Scupi, its Director of Diversity, significantly less than white and male county employees whose duties were substantially similar to hers. The complaint also alleged that the county subjected Scupi to retaliation when she complained of disparities in her pay that she believed were based on her race and sex.

Under the terms of the consent decree, the county has agreed to pay Scupi approximately $179,000 in back pay, compensatory damages, and pension contributions. In accordance with the decree, Clark County has also agreed to maintain employment policies, practices and procedures that comply with federal discrimination laws and to conduct training designed to prevent against and correct both discrimination in compensation and retaliation.

This lawsuit resulted from a joint project with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) designed to ensure vigorous enforcement of Title VII against state and local governmental employers by enhancing cooperation between the EEOC and the Civil Rights Division.

“Title VII protects employees who have the courage to challenge discriminatory pay compensation practices without fear of retaliation from their employers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division. “We are pleased to have been able to work cooperatively with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to achieve a broad range of injunctive and monetary relief in this important case.”

“Pay inequity remains as a hurdle for working women,” said District Director Rosa Viramontes of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, which includes southern Nevada in its jurisdiction. “We were pleased that our partnership with the Department of Justice on this case yielded positive results and will lead to a more equitable working environment going forward.”

Scupi originally filed a charge of race and sex discrimination and retaliation with the EEOC, a federal agency that enforces laws against discrimination in employment. The EEOC’s Las Vegas local office investigated the matter, determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that discrimination and retaliation had occurred and referred the matter to the department.

The United States was represented by Civil Rights Division attorneys Antoinette Barksdale and Robert Galbreath.

Title VII prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of gender, race, color, national origin or religion, and prohibits retaliation against an employee who opposes an unlawful employment practice, or because the employee has made a charge or participated in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under the act. The enforcement of Title VII and other federal employment discrimination laws is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division and its work is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.

NTI Announces Environmental Justice Courses (January 16, 2015)

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

NTI will be holding three additional Environmental Justice training courses in Atlanta, GA, Philadelphia, PA and Seattle, WA. Dates for the courses are below:

February 18-19, 2015 Atlanta, GA
April 22-23, 2015 Philadelphia, PA
May 14-15, 2015 Seattle, WA

Development of this training is sponsored by FTA’s Office of Planning and Environment in cooperation with the National Transit Institute. The training is intended to serve as guidance for practitioners, reviewers, and grantees on effective ways for integrating the consideration of Environmental Justice impacts throughout the transportation planning and project development / NEPA processes.

This training is designed to meet the needs of our grantees, while satisfying the requirements of Executive Order 12898 and U.S. DOT Order 5610.2(a) on Environmental Justice.

If interested in the course, please sign up at: http://ntionline.com/courses/courseinfo.php?id=272

Office of Disability Employment Policy Newsletter (January 16, 2015)

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

Resolving to Expect the Best – Assistant Secretary Martinez’s Blog

The importance of high expectations for youth with disabilities was the theme of a January 16 blog post by Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez. “Young people with disabilities can benefit from hearing—early and often—that they can and will go to school, pursue a career and achieve their life goals,” said Martinez. She highlighted the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) as a resource for employers who want to hire youth with disabilities as interns or permanent employees, and shared the success story of former WRP intern Daman Wandke.

WIOA Advisory Committee Public Meeting – January 22 and 23

The Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities, a key provision of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), will hold its first meeting on January 22 and 23, 2015. The meeting will be open to the public beginning at 11:30 AM on Thursday, January 22, 2015 and continue through 5:00 PM on Friday, January 23, 2015 at the U.S. Access Board, 1331 F Street NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004-1111. Members of the public will have an opportunity to provide testimony from 3:15-4:15 PM on January 23.

Employer Assistance and Resource Network Publishes First Newsletter of 2015

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) has published the first EARN Newsletter for 2015. The Newsletter, published every two weeks, covers timely topics and trends related to disability inclusion. EARN is a free resource for employers seeking to recruit, hire, retain and advance qualified employees with disabilities. It is a service of the National Employer Policy, Research, and Technical Assistance Center for Employers on the Employment of People with Disabilities (Employer TA Center), which is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy under a cooperative agreement with The Viscardi Center.

Job Accommodation Network Releases Publication on Leave as an Accommodation

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has released a new publication in its Accommodation and Compliance Series: Leave as an Accommodation. This comprehensive document provides background information on the use of leave as an accommodation for employees with disabilities, and features an in-depth series of questions and answers that examine the nuances of the subject. JAN’s Accommodation and Compliance Series is designed to help employers determine effective accommodations and comply with Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).