New Directives Issued by the DOL for Equal Employment Opportunities

application-1915345_1280-8-14-2018-pixabayThe Department of Labor shared a press release about new policy directives that are aiming at ensuring better equal employment opportunities for applicants.

According to the DOL’s press release, “The equal employment opportunity directive calls for more comprehensive reviews of contractor compliance with federal anti-discrimination laws, and the religious freedom directive protects the rights of religion-exercising organizations.”

The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is leading the initiatives on the new directives.

According to the DOL, “OFCCP enforces federal laws that prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, and status as a qualified individual with a disability or protected veteran.”

The DOL’s press release also says that the OFCCP prohibits discrimination “against applicants or employees because they inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or that of others, subject to certain limitations.”

Well, what does all this mean?

According to the DOL, it boils down to this:

1. The OFCCP will now have focused reviews regarding a business’ compliance and possible onsite reviews for three key areas: Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974

2. According to the OFCCP’s Directive, the focused reviews would mean going onsite to review a compliance issue within a business. This could lead to interviews with all parties involved including both managers and employees.

3. The OFCCP must take into consideration the several laws that are in place to protect religious-based organizations and individuals from discrimination. According to the OFCCP’s Executive Order 11246 directive, “OFCCP staff are instructed to take these legal developments into account in all their relevant activities, including when providing compliance assistance, processing complaints, and enforcing the requirements of E.O. 11246.

4. Federal contracting businesses must “include in all covered contracts, and that contractors include in their subcontracts, an equal opportunity clause.”

Here are some of the basic requirements you will need to keep in mind to avoid discrimination in the three key areas that the OFCCP will be examining.

Requirements for VEVRAA

These are some of the requirements and provisions necessary for veterans according to the Department of Labor:

  • “Make reasonable accommodations for the known physical or mental limitations of qualified disabled veterans, unless providing an accommodation would create an undue hardship.”
  • Do not permit intimidation and discrimination against veterans who file a complaint under this program
  • “Each contractor or subcontractor that has (1) 50 or more employees, and (2) a federal contract or subcontract of $150,000 or more, must prepare, implement, and maintain a written AAP for each of its establishments.”

Requirements for the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

These are some of the requirements and provisions regarding Section 503 of this act according to the Department of Labor:

  • You must not discriminate based on one’s disability including in these areas: recruitment, hiring, pay, and training
  • “Covered employers with Federal contracts or subcontracts must also take affirmative steps to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities.”
  • You must provide a written Affirmative Action Plan if your business has 50 or more employees and contracts of $50,000 and up

Requirements for Executive Order 11246: Construction and Supply/Service Contractors

Requirements for Executive Order 11246 is broken down into two separate sections for construction and nonconstruction (supply and service) employers.

According to the DOL, construction employers are required to do the following:

  • “All construction contractors and subcontractors, whether or not federally assisted, are prohibited from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and national origin in such employment practices as recruitment, rates of pay, hours, upgrading, layoff, promotion, selection for training, advertising efforts, job classifications, seniority, retirement ages, or job fringe benefits such as employer contributions to company pension or insurance plans.”
  • You may not use policies that will result in different treatment for male and female candidates

The DOL explains that nonconstruction employers are required to do the following:

  • You must also follow basic nondiscrimination laws regarding race, color, sex, and gender identity etc.
  • You cannot discriminate against candidates when it comes to wages, hours, seniority, and retirement age etc.
  • You will need a written AAP if you have 50 or more employees and contracts of $50,000 or more
  • You cannot use policies that treat men and women differently

We know this may seem like a lot of information to take in and process. At The Orsus Group, we value giving you information that will help you and your employees to stay compliant. If you have any questions regarding compliance, feel free to contact us and we’ll be glad to help.


The Orsus Group blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be comprehensive, and is not a substitute for and should not be construed as legal advice. The Orsus Group does not warrant any statements in this blog. Any statutes or laws cited herein should be read in their entirety. You should direct to your own experienced legal counsel questions involving your organization’s compliance with or interpretation or application of laws or regulations and any additional legal requirements that may apply.