On August 10, 2011, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, inviting public input on a new “Compensation Data Collection Tool”. The development of this tool signals the OFCCP’s intent, under the direction of President Obama, to vigorously pursue pay discrimination among contractors.
The new tool is set to replace the Equal Opportunity Survey (“EO Survey”), which the government deemed ineffective as a tool to target non-compliant contractors. According to the Notice, the OFCCP is considering adopting new practices that will substantially increase the burden on federal contract employers. Among other things, OFCCP has indicated that it may utilize the data collection to “to identify opportunities for nationwide multi-establishment compensation reviews.” The OFCCP is also considering requiring companies to submit compensation information as part of the bidding process for federal contracts.
According to the OFCCP, the proposed tool is intended to “provide insight into potential problems of pay discrimination by contractors that warrant further review or evaluation by OFCCP or contractor self-audit.” Data collected with the tool will be used to identify contractors for both compensation focused reviews and full compliance reviews. The OFCCP has indicated that the data will be used “primarily as a screening tool, although it may have research value.”
The purpose of the Advance Notice is to “solicit comments from interested parties as early as possible in the development process of this new data collection tool” and “maximize the opportunity to participate in the rulemaking process.” In light of the increased burden this new tool threatens to place on contractors, covered employers should consider submitting comments to the OFCCP. Comments are due 60 days after publication and may be submitted on this web site, or by mail or hand-delivery to: Debra A. Carr, Division of Policy, Planning, and Program Development, OFCCP, Room C-3325, 200 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210.© MICHAEL BEST & FRIEDRICH LLP