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Archive for December, 2018

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs: Top Accomplishments of 2018 (Dec. 2018)

Friday, December 28th, 2018

Thanks to the efforts of our staff at the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and on behalf of American workers, OFCCP expands equal employment opportunities and eliminates discrimination in the workplace every year and 2018 was no exception.

Here are some of OFCCP’s top accomplishments of 2018:

1. Remedied Employment Discrimination

Secured record settlements with a combined total more than $40 million for 23,669 American workers over the past two fiscal years.
Remedied employment discrimination across a variety of employment practices such as pay, job steering, and enterprise-wide hiring.
Issued five press releases to amplify and highlight OFCCP’s field work to the public.

2. Renewed Contractor Compliance Assistance and Education

Events – Held over 320 compliance assistance and outreach events across OFCCP’s six regions to educate and help contractors comply with their OFCCP requirements.

Town Halls – Gathered contractor input through town hall meetings to identify opportunities for enhancing OFCCP’s compliance assistance.

NILG MOU – Entered into a MOU with the NILG to promote contractor engagement, compliance assistance, and proactive compliance.

3. Increased Transparency

Transparency Directive – Ensures transparency in all stages of OFCCP compliance activities.

Compensation Directive – Clarifies OFCCP’s approach and method for compensation analysis.

Scheduling Methodology – Began publishing the agency’s methodology and CSAL List for scheduling contractors for evaluation.

FOIA Library – Began reporting all CA’s in OFCCP’s FOIA Library.

4. Provided Certainty

What Contractors Can Expect – Outlined general expectations guiding interactions between contractors and OFCCP.

Ombud Service – Issued directive to implement an Ombud Service to facilitate fair and equitable resolution of issues raised by OFCCP’s external stakeholders.

Opinion Letters – Committed to provide fact-specific guidance, in the form of Opinion Letters, to employers and employees.

5. Enhanced Efficiency

Focused Review Directive – Outlines that a portion of future scheduling lists include focused reviews as to each of the three authorities that OFCCP enforces.

AAP Verification Initiative – Initiated development of a program to verify that contractors prepare and annually update their written AAPs.

Early Resolution Procedures (ERP) – Issued policy directive to promote early and corporate-wide resolution of OFCCP violations.

6. Sought Recognition for High Performing Contractors

EDI Award – Developed the Excellence in Disability Inclusion Award (EDI) to recognize contractors that have expanded and improved recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

LEAD Award – Developed the Leadership in Equal Access and Diversity (LEAD) Award to recognize supply and service contractors that exemplify a commitment to pursue diversity and equal opportunity in the workplace.

We hope you can join us in celebrating the successes this year and continue to work with OFCCP to achieve our goals in 2019!

Office of Contract Compliance Programs | HIRE Vets Medallion Program (Dec. 2018)

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018

As a valued OFCCP subscriber, we want to provide you with important information about the U.S. Department of Labor’s HIRE Vets Medallion Award. Created by legislation signed by President Trump in 2017, the HIRE Vets Medallion Award is the only federal veterans’ employment award that recognizes small, medium, and large employers’ commitment to veteran hiring, retention, and professional development.

Want to learn more about the award?

Learn more about the companies that were awarded the HIRE Vets Medallion Program Demonstration Award in 2018. View the recipient list here.

Visit HireVets.gov to learn if your company is eligible to receive the HIRE Vets Medallion Award in 2019.
Sign up to receive email updates on the HIRE Vets Medallion Program.

The U.S. Department of Labor will start accepting applications next month for the 2019 HIRE Vets Medallion Award.

Have questions about the HIRE Vets Medallion Award? Please visit HireVets.gov or contact HIREVets@dol.gov.

Fair Housing News: HUD Judge Enters Order Settling Discrimination Claim Against New Jersey Condo Association (Dec. 2018)

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018

Dear Colleague,

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today charged Hudson Harbour Condominium Association, Inc., in Newark, NJ, with discriminating against a resident with disabilities.

Specifically, HUD’s charge alleges that the condo association only allowed the resident, who is sight and hearing impaired, to use the service door instead of the main entrance to the development or the common areas when accompanied by her assistance animal. HUD’s charge further alleges that the condominium association charged the resident’s daughter a fee because she walked her mother’s assistance animal in the development’s common areas. Read the charge.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to persons with disabilities or from refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices.

“Subjecting someone to different residency requirements because they use an assistance animal prevents that person from fully enjoying their home and is against the law,” said Anna María Farías, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Condo associations have an obligation to comply with the requirements of the Fair Housing Act when it comes to reasonable accommodations and HUD is committed to ensuring that they meet that obligation.”

The case came to HUD’s attention when the daughter of a condominium resident who uses an assistance animal filed a complaint alleging that the condominium association refused to waive its requirement that residents transport pets in carriers when in common areas, and was fined $100 for walking the animal in the development’s common areas. Because of the resident’s mobility impairments, her daughter was primarily responsible for walking the dog. Additionally, when the resident was with her assistance animal, she was required to use the service door to enter and exit the building.

“Rules that limit access to condominium common areas for persons with disabilities who need an assistance animal violate the Fair Housing Act,” said J. Paul Compton Jr., HUD’s General Counsel. “This charge represents HUD’s commitment to ensuring that persons with disabilities are allowed to fully use and enjoy their homes.”

The charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party elects for the case to be heard in federal court. If the administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he or she may award damages to the individual complainant for his or her loss as a result of the discrimination. The judge may also order other injunctive or equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties to vindicate the public interest.

Last April, HUD marked the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, joining local communities, housing advocates, and fair housing organizations across the country in a coordinated campaign to enhance awareness of fair housing rights.

Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).

Justice Department’s Immigration and Employee Rights | New Informational Flyer in Multiple Languages

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018

The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) recently updated an informational document for the public.

The flyer provides refugees and asylees with information on the Form I-9 and how to get help from IER for possible discrimination in this process. It is available in Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Burmese, ​ English, Farsi, French, Karen, Kayah, Nepali, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tigrinya, Ukrainian, and Urdu.

You may find the newly revised document on IER’s Worker Information page, along with additional information for the public on civil rights protections against immigration-related employment discrimination.

To learn more about worker and applicant protections under the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. § 1324b, sign up for a free IER webinar.

THE CATO CORPORATION PAYS $3.5 MILLION TO SETTLE EEOC SYSTEMIC INVESTIGATION (Dec. 2018)

Sunday, December 16th, 2018

Pregnant Employees and Those With Disabilities Were Denied Reasonable Accommodations And Discharged, Federal Agency Found

CHICAGO / PHILADELPHIA – The Cato Corporation, a leading retailer of women’s fashion and accessories, has agreed to pay $3.5 million to resolve a nationwide, systemic investigation conducted jointly out of the Chicago and Philadelphia Offices of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Com­mission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. The Cato Corporation, based in Charlotte, N.C., has also agreed to update its reasonable accommodation policies to ensure there is no discrimination against pregnant employees or those with disabilities.

The EEOC’s investigation found that The Cato Corporation denied reasonable accommodations to certain pregnant employees or those with disabilities, made certain employees take unpaid leaves of absence, and/or terminated them because of their disabilities.

Failing to accommodate pregnant women with restrictions and limitations violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Denying employees with disabilities job modifications, leaves of absence or returns to work as reasonable accommodations violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The agreement between EEOC and The Cato Corporation provides for a claims process to distribute the $3.5 million to Cato employees who were terminated due to their pregnancy or disabilities. The Cato Corporation has also agreed to revise its employment policies to more fully consider whether medical restrictions of its pregnant employees or those with disabilities can be reasonably accommodated. The Cato Corporation will also conduct companywide training for over 10,000 of its employees and report to the EEOC periodic­ally for three years on its responses to requests for reasonable accommodation by pregnant employees or those with disabilities.

“Giving employees a job modification that allows them to continue working can be a critical reasonable accommodation for pregnant women or people with disabilities when they really need that paycheck,” said EEOC Chicago District Director Julianne Bowman.

EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie R. Williamson added, “We commend The Cato Corporation for entering into a voluntary settlement and for making meaningful policy changes so that employees with disabilities and women with pregnancy-related impairments will get the reasonable accom­modations they need to remain employed.”

The charges were investigated by staff in the EEOC’s Philadelphia and Chicago District Offices. The EEOC’s Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics also assisted in the investigation.

One of the six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) is for the EEOC to address emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, including issues involving the ADA and pregnancy-related limitations.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employ­ment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Walmart Store in Fort Worth, Texas (Dec. 2018)

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

The Justice Department today announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with Walmart Inc. The agreement resolves claims that a Walmart store in Fort Worth, Texas, violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by unlawfully requesting specific work authorization documents from non-U.S. citizens based on their citizenship status.

The Department initiated an investigation after a lawful permanent resident filed a charge alleging that Walmart fired her on her first day of work because she could not fulfill a human resources employee’s request for a document issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), even though she had already provided other documents sufficient to establish her work authorization. When the worker protested her firing, a regional supervisor and hiring staff member at another nearby store incorrectly reaffirmed the unnecessary request for a DHS-issued document. IER’s subsequent investigation concluded that the human resources employee had a practice of requesting unnecessary DHS documents from non-U.S. citizens to establish their work authorization because of their citizenship status. The INA prohibits employers from (a) rejecting valid work authorization documents, (b) limiting workers’ choice of documentation to present for employment verification, and (c) subjecting workers to different or unnecessary documentary demands, based on the workers’ citizenship, immigration status, or national origin.

After the Department initiated its investigation, Walmart provided $1,944 in back pay to the worker and reinstated her employment. Under the terms of the settlement, Walmart will pay a civil penalty to the United States, train staff in Fort Worth-area stores, and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements.

“Employers should not ask employees for unnecessary work-authorization documents because of their citizenship or immigration status,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “We are pleased that Walmart has agreed to work with the Department and to provide additional training to relevant employees.”

The Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), formerly known as the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Among other things, the statute prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; and retaliation and intimidation.

For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, call IER’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call IER’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); sign up for a free webinar; email IER@usdoj.gov; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites.

Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to different documentary requirements based on their citizenship/immigration status or national origin, or discrimination based on their citizenship/immigration status, or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee, should contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.

HUD AWARDS $23 MILLION TO FIGHT HOUSING DISCRIMINATION (Dec. 2018)

Friday, December 7th, 2018

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded more than $23 million to nearly 80 fair housing organizations working to protect consumers from housing discrimination.

Provided through HUD’s Private Enforcement Initiative (PEI), these grants offer a range of assistance to the nationwide network of fair housing organizations so they can carry out testing and enforcement activities.

“It’s been 50 years since the passage of the Fair Housing Act, yet the fight against housing discrimination continues,” said Secretary Ben Carson. “Today we are making another investment to support our fair housing partners and protect families from discrimination.”

For more information, go to .

Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Utah Cookie Retailer (Dec. 2018)

Friday, December 7th, 2018

The Justice Department today announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with Mrs. Fields’ Original Cookies Inc. (Mrs. Fields), headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado. Mrs. Fields’ brands produce, distribute, and sell specialty items, including cookies, brownies, and chocolates. The settlement resolves a claim that Mrs. Fields’ production and distribution center located in Salt Lake City, Utah, violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by discriminating against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens when verifying their work authorization.

The Department’s independent investigation concluded that, from at least March 21, 2016, to March 20, 2017, Mrs. Fields required lawful permanent residents to provide specific documentation issued by the Department of Homeland Security to prove their work authorization, while not imposing this requirement on U.S. citizens. All work-authorized individuals, regardless of citizenship status, have the right to choose which document to present, from a range of valid documents, to demonstrate their authority to work in the United States. The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from subjecting employees to unnecessary documentary demands based on employees’ citizenship status or national origin.

“Workers should not have to face discrimination because of citizenship status or national origin in the employment eligibility verification process,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “We are pleased that Mrs. Fields has agreed to work with the Division and ensure that its staff is trained on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, and we look forward to working with the company to reach this shared goal.”

Under the settlement, Mrs. Fields will pay $26,400 in civil penalties to the United States and be subject to departmental monitoring and reporting requirements. In addition, certain employees will be required to attend training on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision.

The Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Among other things, the statute prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation and intimidation.

For more information about protections against employment discrimination under immigration laws, call IER’s worker hotline at 1-800-255-7688 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); call IER’s employer hotline at 1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired); sign up for a free webinar; email IER@usdoj.gov; or visit IER’s English and Spanish websites.

Applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to retaliation; different documentary requirements based on their citizenship, immigration status or national origin; or discrimination based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee, should contact IER’s worker hotline for assistance.

OFCCP: Focusing on Disability Inclusion (Dec. 2018)

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, OFCCP honors the contributions that people with disabilities continue to make every day in the workplace. At OFCCP we are proud be part of the effort that makes America’s workforce more inclusive.

To promote disability inclusion, we assist federal contractors in achieving a nationwide goal for at least 7 percent of their workforce to be persons with disabilities. Also, when we find employment discrimination, we eliminate it.

In the coming year, OFCCP is excited to continue two new initiatives that will help us promote disability inclusion more.

Focused Reviews. In 2019, the agency plans to begin focused reviews of federal contractors to evaluate how well they are implementing their obligations under the disability law that we enforce: Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. Among other things, these focused reviews will examine the effectiveness of a contractor’s efforts to meet its 7 percent employment goal.

Excellence in Disability Inclusion. OFCCP also wishes to recognize contractors who excel in their disability inclusion efforts. For this initiative, the agency is currently accepting public comments on a proposed contractor recognition program. The current comment period is open until December 4, 2018. Please visit regulations.gov to learn more and comment.

Justice Department’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section Webinars (Dec. 2018)

Saturday, December 1st, 2018

IER Webinars
The Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) is offering a number of free, informative webinars for the public in December. These include webinars for workers, employers, and advocates. Please review IER’s webinar schedule to choose the right presentation for you.

IER enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This law prohibits citizenship, immigration status, and national origin discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation and intimidation. For more information visit www.justice.gov/ier.

Seminario de la IER para trabajadores y sus defensores

Martes, 4 de diciembre, 2018, at 10:00 am ET

Register Here

IER Training for Worker Advocates

Monday, December 10, 2018 at 3:00 pm ET

Register Here

IER Training for Employers / Human Resources Representatives

Friday, December 14, 2018 at 10:00 am ET

Register Here

    Joint Webinars

Joint IER/USCIS Employee Rights Webinar

Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 3:30 pm ET

Register Here

IER, ICE, USCIS Tri-Agency Employer Responsibilities Webinar

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at 2:00 pm ET

Register Here

Joint IER/USCIS Employee Rights Webinar

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at 10:30 am ET

Register Here

For webinar materials in alternate format or other reasonable accommodation requests, contact Lorren Love at Lorren.Love@usdoj.gov or (202) 616-5594 at least one week before the webinar or as soon as possible, to ensure there is adequate time to arrange for the accommodation. In your request, please include a description of the type of accommodation needed and your contact information.