The OFCCP rings in the New Year with updated sex discrimination guidelines


The New Year brings new sex discrimination guidelines from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. The OFCCP issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking via the Federal Register on January 30, 2015. Its goal is to amend and replace the current sex discrimination guidelines. Recruiting professionals at employers that provide services or goods to federal agencies will need to become familiar with the new proposed changes. For example, contractors will be required to offer accommodations in the workplace for women affected by pregnancy, birth and associated conditions. This might mean providing additional bathroom breaks or reassigning protected employees to lighter duties to make the accommodation.

Among the newly proposed regulations is a provision that states that employers will be engaging in sex discrimination if they treat employees differently based solely on their clothing, appearance or other gender-based stereotypes. Employers must also provide childcare for men to the same degree they make it available for women. Furthermore, the guidelines underscore the issue of gender-based discrimination when it comes to pay rates.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that President Obama signed Executive Order 13672, which forbids federal contractors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, noted a new article at the National Law Review. To that end, the OFCCP has developed a directory of LGBT resources that all federal contractors should become familiar with to help them meet the Executive Order’s obligations. The directory provides both private sector and public information. The government says it will be updating this resource periodically and will use it to showcase valuable resources that can help HR professionals educate and train managers to meet the new requirements.

By studying the proposed sex discrimination guidelines now, employers will be better prepared to comply with OFCCP policies as well as maintain inclusive work environments. Of course if employers have any uncertainty about meeting compliance standards, they’ll want to consult an employment attorney or affirmative action expert.

Now more than ever, with all the new and existing government policies related to equal opportunity employment, smart employers need to utilize technology to track, store and manage recruiting data. By deploying a modern applicant tracking system, employers can maintain the consistency required to run OFCCP compliant recruiting processes. In addition to promoting consistency, employers that use a modern applicant tracking system operate more efficient hiring programs and are left with time and resources to dedicate to managing and developing diverse workforces.

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