Today is the official start to the 2015 Industry Liaison Group National Conference where conference attendees will focus on “lessons from our past, strategies for our future” in the world of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 11246 OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu acknowledged in her keynote address to open the conference,

“this year is no ordinary year.”

Director Shiu’s remarks highlighted the Executive Order’s history and reminded conference attendees

“what history taught us we are wise to remember.”

Director Shiu also remarked on the accomplishment this year of the “full inclusion of LGBT into our workplace communities” and reiterated the Agency’s commitment to “keep working” on issues of inclusion and equal opportunity.

While today marked the first official day of the conference, many attendees attended pre-conference sessions yesterday. One of the highlights was the joint EEOC and OFCCP presentation on compensation. Jeff Burstein, Supervisory Trial Attorney for the EEOC Newark Office and Bob LaJeunesse, Branch Chief, Expert Services for OFCCP, co-presented on pay equity issues impacting federal contractors.

The EEOC’s section of the presentation focused on recent case developments and litigation implications of pay equity while the OFCCP’s portion provided insights and commentary on the Agency’s current approach to compensation discrimination.

Dr. LaJeunesse, who has been in his position with OFCCP for a short six months, detailed the Agency’s three-step investigative process to:

  1. Identify measureable differences in compensation,
  2. Identify if the difference is between “comparable employees”; and
  3. Assess whether there are legitimate explanations for the differences.

He discussed with nice detail the Agency’s view of “similarly situated” employees, utilizing “wage compensating differentials” that include tasks performed, qualifications or skills, effort, and working conditions.

The joint sessions concluded with both speakers fielding questions on a variety of topics, including the applicability of potential pay impacting factors like performance and prior experience.

The sessions scheduled for the remainder of the conference will continue to build upon the information shared and lessons learned from the pre-conference sessions.

Stay tuned for our updates this week as the conference continues.