Meeting a primary objective of Director Patricia Shius initial regulatory agenda, on April 26, 2011, the Department of Labors Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (the Proposed Regulations) substantially rewriting, and materially increasing the obligations of federal contractors to take affirmative action to employ and to advance in employment qualified protected veterans. 76 Fed. Reg. 23,358 (April 26, 2011). See the proposed regulations here. The most dramatic change is the requirement that contractors seek veteran status information from applicants and use a numerical analysis to determine whether they are hiring veterans at the expected or planned level. Other changes include: a radical expansion of the outreach requirement, a lengthening of the record retention period to five years, and a potential elongation of the temporal scope of a desk audit beyond that set forth in a scheduling letter. All in all, the Proposed Regulations, if not modified as a result of the notice and comment period, will make the affirmative action obligations with respect to veterans much more akin to those governing women and people of color, as opposed to the largely aspirational requirements with respect to the employment and advancement of veterans in the current regulations.
There is a 60-day comment period for the Proposed Regulations, ending on June 27, 2011. We will keep you informed about developments with respect to the Proposed Regulations and are available to discuss their potential consequences and strategies to achieve compliance even as we await their final form.