73 National Groups Demand OFCCP Remain Intact

Media 05.26.17

WASHINGTON—Today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Employment Law Project, the National Women’s Law Center and 70 national organizations wrote to Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to urge the Trump administration to abandon its proposal to eliminate the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), which is currently part of the Department of Labor, and transfer its functions to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  The letter was also sent to congressional leadership.

“Both OFCCP and EEOC help advance and protect equal employment opportunity, but they are distinct in their enforcement approaches and expertise, and they should remain separate,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference.  “It should be telling that this proposal has long been supported by the right-wing Heritage Foundation. We strongly urge Congress to reject this proposal, which would lead to an erosion of key civil rights protections for working people.”

“The OFCCP plays a unique and crucial role in ensuring that federal contractors do their part to improve diversity and pay equity in the workplace and proactively promote employment opportunities for underrepresented groups. We absolutely need a strong OFCCP that’s separate from the EEOC,” said Judy Conti, federal advocacy coordinator with the National Employment Law Project.

“The administration’s proposal to eliminate a major civil rights agency is a clear-cut assault on equal pay and equal opportunity for working people,” said Emily Martin, General Counsel and Vice President for Workplace Justice at the National Women’s Law Center. “Eliminating OFCCP would hobble the federal government’s capacity to identify and remedy pay discrimination and other forms of sex discrimination in the workplace. The plan to transfer OFCCP’s enforcement obligations to EEOC—without providing EEOC the necessary resources to do this work—means that this critical work will very likely be abandoned. This frightening and short-sighted proposition must be rejected.”

The letter states in part, “Whereas the EEOC seeks to remedy complaints of discrimination in employment, OFCCP more broadly oversees the employment practices of federal contractors, who are required to proactively monitor workplace diversity and pay equity, to make a meaningful effort to recruit qualified applicants from groups who are under-represented in their workplaces, and to break down barriers to equal opportunity for various disadvantaged groups, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.  As a result of the different missions of the two agencies, they have developed different areas of expertise and use different enforcement approaches. 

Federal contractors are appropriately held to these high standards of workplace fairness given that they are entrusted with taxpayer dollars.  Transferring OFCCP’s extensive knowledge of the federal procurement process and responsibility for systemic review and analysis to the already resource-strapped EEOC is likely to result in a significant net reduction in federal commitment to ensuring that federal contractors promote equal employment opportunity on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability or status as a protected veteran, significantly harming the countless individuals across the country for whom employment opportunities depend on these protections.”

The letter is available here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.

The National Employment Law Project is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts research and advocates on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers. For more about NELP, visit www.nelp.org.

The National Women’s Law Center is a non-profit organization that has been working since 1972 to advance and protect women’s equality and opportunity. The Center focuses on major policy areas of importance to women and their families including economic security, education, employment and health, with special attention given to the concerns of low-income women. For more information on the Center, visit www.nwlc.org.