April 23, 2019

April 23, 2019

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April 22, 2019

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OFCCP and ODEP Provide Insights for Good Disability and Inclusion Practices

Last Week, OFCCP Director Craig Leen and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy (“ODEP”) Jennifer Sheehy, joined with the National Industry Liaison Group to discuss disability and inclusion.

With 500 Section 503 Focused Reviews on OFCCP’s March 2019 CSAL list, the timing was perfect to hear directly from the OFCCP Director on his expectations from contractors on disability and inclusion issues.

Before diving into Section 503 Focused Reviews, Director Leen started the presentation off by reconfirming his commitment to improving OFCCP’s relationship with the contracting community through the 4 principles announced last year: Transparency, Certainty, Efficiency, and Recognition.

The primary focus of the webinar was, of course, Section 503 Focused Reviews and assistance available from ODEP for employers seeking to improve their disability and inclusion programs. Director Leen said he wants to emphasize more compliance assistance and other programs, rather than enforcement, to achieve the Agency’s disability and inclusion goals,mentioning the Agency’s LEAD (Leadership in Equal Access and Diversity Award) and Excellence in Disability and Inclusion Award programs.

Citing the low labor participation rate for individuals with disabilities compared to the general population and the large disability wage gap, Director Leen confirmed there will be Section 503 Focused Reviews in every OFCCP CSAL list moving forward.

Director Leen also previewed what turned out to be the Agency’s imminent publication in the Federal Register of a proposed Section 503 Focused Review Scheduling Letter which would allow OFCCP to analyze personnel activity and compensation data for individuals with disabilities. On April 12th, OFCCP also posted in the Federal Register revised Scheduling Letters for Compliance Checks and Establishment Reviews each to include additional required data requirements under VEVRAA and Section 503.

To prepare for a Section 503 Focused Review, Director Leen encouraged contractors to visit OFCCP’s Section 503 Resource Page as well as engage with ODEP to put into place best practices.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Sheehy described the services ODEP can provide to companies to ensure they are meeting the best practices Director Leen articulated including ODEP’s Job Accommodation Network and the AskEarn program, which provides support and assistance to employers.

It is clear Section 503 compliance is both a passion and a priority for Director Leen and, as a result, an enforcement priority for the agency, as reflected in the proposed changes to the scheduling letters. It is imperative you are prepared if you’ve been selected for a Section 503 Focused Review.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2019

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About this Author

Laura Mitchell, Jackson Lewis, Management Representation lawyer, Contractual Drafting Attorney
Principal

Laura A. Mitchell is a Principal in the Denver, Colorado, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She represents management exclusively in all areas of employment law, focusing on affirmative action and government contractor compliance.

Ms. Mitchell is a Principal in the firm’s Affirmative Action and OFCCP Defense practice group, representing government and non-government contractors in Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) matters, preparing for and defending OFCCP audits, and counseling employers on issues stemming...

303-225-2382
Lisa Marsh Employment Attorney
Associate

Lisa B. Marsh is an Associate in the Denver, Colorado, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She represents management exclusively in all areas of employment law, focusing on affirmative action and EEO.

Ms. Marsh assists clients with the drafting of affirmative action plans, representing government and non-government contractors in Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) matters, preparing for and defending OFCCP audits, and counseling employers on issues stemming from OFCCP regulations.

While attending law school, Ms. Marsh served as an Editor of the Denver Journal of International Law & Policy. Upon graduation, she was admitted to the Order of St. Ives for excellence in academic achievement.

303-876-2216