On April 29, 2014, OFCCP held the first of what we expect will be several meetings with interested parties regarding impending regulations implementing President Obama’s latest efforts to combat pay discrimination.  As we previously shared, on April 8, 2014, President Obama signed Executive Order 13665 prohibiting government contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against individuals for discussing issues related to or revealing compensation.  That day the President also issued a Presidential Memorandum directing the Department of Labor to develop regulations around a new compensation data collection tool for government contractors and subcontractors.

Today’s “listening” session, attended by government contractors, civil rights organizations, industry groups, attorneys, and consultants provided stakeholders with a chance to help shape the forthcoming regulations implementing both the Executive Order and Presidential Memorandum.

Presided over by OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu, and attended by numerous other DOL officials, the listening session kicked off with a discussion about the new compensation data collection tool.  Several commenters discussed the numerous challenges faced by OFCCP in both developing the tool and analyzing the data collected.  Others addressed ways in which to minimize the burdens associated with the tool.  Yet others discussed issues unique to their industries.  OFCCP seemed particularly interested in ways to best “operationalize” the data collection tool.  Specifically, the Agency sought feedback on defining “compensation”, understanding the type of data typically housed in an HRIS, and the “lead” time contractors would need in order to report required data.

The Agency then addressed regulations implementing EO 13665.  Here, OFCCP focused on how contractors should implement the non-discrimination mandate.  Suggestions from attendees included requiring language in codes of conduct/ethics, amending EEO policy statements and providing notice to employees and applicants for employment regarding their rights.

The meeting concluded with Director Shiu thanking everyone for their participation and ideas.  While all interested parties will have a chance to formally comment on the proposed regulations, once issued, Director Shiu stressed the value of the feedback and promised to keep listening at upcoming events.

Stay tuned for further information on these rapidly developing areas and the proposed regulations which we expect by August.