Federal News & Analysis

  • OFCCP takes a new direction (or does it?)

    On July 27, 2018, Ondray Harris resigned after eight months as director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). During Harris' tenure, the agency's focus seemed to be primarily on how federal contractors could use apprenticeship programs to increase diversity. That frustrated contractors, who had hoped the Trump administration would reverse the agency's high-handed approach to audits generally and compensation specifically. Craig Leen, who was brought into the agency as a senior adviser and was recently promoted to deputy director, was named acting director. Marika Litras, acting deputy director, became his career deputy.

  • Culture clash: Federal agencies offer different interpretations of same issue

    Momentous decisions regarding workplace investigations and protections for LGBT employees are likely coming from different departments and agencies of the federal government. Currently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have opposing views on whether workplace investigations into sexual harassment can be confidential. And the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the EEOC have different positions on whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBT employees. Those differences are unsustainable, but a resolution has yet to be found.

  • Could federal paid family leave become a reality in the United States?

    The topic of paid family leave is gaining more and more attention across the United States and among employers nationwide. With states and localities establishing varying paid sick time and family leave requirements, the issue of paid family leave has become a hot topic among federal lawmakers. Just a few months ago, senators from both sides of the aisle tried to determine what a bipartisan solution to the question of federal paid leave would look like.

  • Confirmation of some nominees for federal positions stalls out

    More than a year and a half into Donald Trump's presidency, a number of key positions in the nation's labor and employment agencies remain vacant.

  • Trump administration increasing pressure on employers to 'hire American'

    During the 2016 presidential race, Donald Trump focused on immigration reform as a major campaign issue. As president, Trump further promised to step up border security and enforce U.S. immigration laws, including worksite enforcement. In fact, on April 18, 2017, President Trump issued his "Buy American, Hire American" Executive Order, directing the attorney general and the secretaries of the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to "propose new rules and issue new guidance . . . to protect the interests of [U.S.] workers in the administration of our immigration system, including through the prevention of fraud and abuse," and "suggest reforms to help [e]nsure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries." Since then, the Trump administration has kept up with the president's promises, and efforts have been made to crack down on immigrant workers and employers in general.

  • Industry comments needed on OSHA's proposed changes to e-recordkeeping rule

    After years of advocacy and opposition to its controversial Obama-era rule intended to "Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses" (aka the e-recordkeeping rule) and its transition to the deregulatory platform of the Trump administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has finally taken a step to pare down the e-recordkeeping rule. Specifically, OSHA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the e-recordkeeping rule by eliminating the requirement that establishments with 250 or more employees submit data on recorded injuries and illnesses from their 300 logs and 301 incident reports through OSHA's Web-based industry tracking application (ITA).

  • EEOC recovers millions in monetary settlements as nominations stall out

    Although President Donald Trump's nominees, including his pick for general counsel, remain unconfirmed by the Senate and Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic is the only Republican currently on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency has continued to recover millions of dollars in settlements.

  • OFCCP issues directives on religious freedom and focused reviews

    On Friday, August 10, 2018, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced two new directives. Directive 2018-04, outlined by Acting Director Craig Leen at the recent Industry Liaison Group (ILG) National Conference, provides that the OFCCP will work toward "ensuring that a portion of future scheduling lists, starting with Fiscal Year 2019, include focused reviews as to each of the three authorities that OFCCP enforces" ― specifically, Executive Order (EO) 11246, the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. The directive states that the focused reviews would have an on-site review component as well as a review of compensation and hiring data for Section 503, VEVRAA, and EO 11246. The review of compensation data under Section 503 and VEVRAA is new and raises some interesting questions about the validity of those analyses. Directive 2018-04 does not specifically outline what contractors can expect during a focused review but rather directs OFCCP staff "to develop a standard protoco

  • Impact SC nominee Kavanaugh will have on federal employment law

    On Monday, July 9, 2018, President Donald J. Trump nominated U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh, 53, to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh, a Yale Law School graduate who clerked for Justice Kennedy in the early 1990s, has served on the D.C. Circuit since his confirmation in 2006.

  • What is the future for arbitration?

    In its recent decision in Epic Systems v. Lewis, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that waivers of class action arbitration are enforceable. To many, this sounded like "inside baseball," an arcane ruling that had little to do with practical concerns. However, as more and more employers are requiring arbitration agreements with such waivers for more and more employees, including low-ranking hourly workers, this ruling will have a significant role in determining how workplace wrongs are righted.