The prospect of having a combined OFCCP and EEOC is no more. On September 12, the House of Representatives agreed to prohibit funds from being used to combine the two agencies, slamming the door to any possibility of a merger.
The House’s rejection follows in the footsteps of last week’s merger denial by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Quoted by Bloomberg as calling the merger proposal “a total mess,” Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, explained that each agency has its own distinct mission and that combining them would lead to “total confusion.”
President Trump proposed the idea of a merger to promote cost-savings and efficiencies in the government. However, the idea of a combined OFCCP and EEOC was quickly met by staunch opposition by civil rights organizations and management-side stakeholders.
So, what does this mean for contractors?
First, the House and Senate will soon be meeting to reconcile their proposed budgets for the OFCCP. Currently, the OFCCP is funded with $105 million. The Senate proposed to lower funding to $103.5 million, whereas the House proposed funding of $94 million. These are both significantly higher than President Trump’s proposed funding of $88 million. Regardless of the agency’s new level of funding, cuts will be made, whether in terms of personnel and/or district offices.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, unless there is a fundamental change in the implementing regulations or a change in the legal status of affirmative action, the mission and activities of the OFCCP will remain essentially unchanged. AAPs will still be required. The OFCCP will still be conducting audits, though the frequency and duration of audit activity is unknown. Employers will still be required to perform outreach, maintain records, and conduct self-audits. So, in essence, we believe it will be business as usual in terms of affirmative action and OFCCP compliance.
Please don’t hesitate to contact our office with any affirmative action or OFCCP matter.