GAO Study on OFCCP Underway

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By on October 24, 2015 in Current Events with 0 Comments

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has informed its members that the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is currently interviewing federal contractors to gather their views on policies and processes of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

Representing more than 275,000 members in over 160 countries, SHRM bills itself as the leading provider of resources to serve the needs of human resource professionals and advance the professional practice of human resource management.

OFCCP is an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor that enforces affirmative action and equal employment opportunity rules required of contractors who do business with the Federal government. Many OFCCP activities are based on Executive Orders issued by the President acting as head of the Executive Branch rather than as Congressionally-enacted legislation. In some cases, Executive Orders are issued when it would be difficult or impossible to obtain the same result through the normal legislative process.

Here is how SHRM describes the current study:

The GAO is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress. Often called the “congressional watchdog,” the GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. As part of its inquiry into policies affecting federal contractors, the GAO has now started to reach out to these contractors to interview them directly and gather their feedback on OFCCP policies and procedures. If you receive a call from a GAO investigator, please consider participating and sharing your opinions, which will be treated as confidential. Your input could be used to inform future policy and process decisions at OFCCP.

GAO’s most recent study of OFCCP activities was in 2013 (GAO-14-167R) when the agency reviewed a rule promulgated by OFCCP: “Affirmative Action and Nondiscrimination Obligations of Contractors and Subcontractors Regarding Individuals With Disabilities”. GAO found that OFCCP complied with the procedural steps required with respect to the rule.

Many GAO studies are done at the behest of specific members of Congress. In the case of the affirmative action rule, GAO reported its findings to Senators Tom Harkin and Lamar Alexander who sat on the Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; and Congressmen Darrell E. Issa and Elijah Cummings of the House’s Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

There is no indication in the SHRM announcement of who requested the current study or when this study may be completed and published.

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About the Author

Michael Wald is a public affairs consultant and writer based in the Atlanta area. He specializes in topics related to government and labor issues. Prior to his retirement from the U.S. Department of Labor, he served as the agency’s Southeast Regional Director of Public Affairs and Southeast Regional Economist.