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If your company is a federal contractor, do not assume that the current administration is uninterested in enforcing discrimination laws. In fact, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has collected record amounts from government contractor employers during the Trump administration. That is why, though changes to a complaint form would not usually catch our attention, this one does:

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that it is seeking comments on the proposed renewal of Form CC-4, the form used by individuals to file complaints of employment discrimination or retaliation against federal government contractors and subcontractors. DOL is particularly interested in comments that address the type of information collected by the complaint form, which is used to investigate and address the claims of illegal discrimination and retaliation.

OFCCP administers and enforces three anti-discrimination and retaliation laws — Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Vietnam Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act — which make it illegal for federal contractors and subcontractors to discriminate or retaliate against applicants and employees in various contexts. Specifically, the laws prohibit:

  • Discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, or protected veteran status;
  • Discrimination for asking about, discussing, or sharing information about compensation; and
  • Retaliation for filing a complaint of discrimination, participating in an OFCCP investigation, or engaging in other protected activity.

When an individual believes that a federal contractor or subcontractor has run afoul of these prohibitions, he or she may complete and file a Form CC-4, Complaint Involving Employment Discrimination by a Federal Contractor or Subcontractor. Form CC-4 collects various information from the complainant, including information on the complainant and the employer and the basis for the complaint of discrimination or retaliation. To see exactly what information the form collects, the online version of Form CC-4 is viewable here.

Although Form CC-4 is just a starting point, the allegations of discrimination and retaliation contained in Form CC-4 may grow beyond being mere accusations against federal government contractors and subcontractors. OFCCP uses information collected from Form CC-4 to conduct investigations of alleged violations of anti-discrimination and retaliation laws, which can result in OFCCP finding violations of law. And the repercussions for being found in violation can be significant. Although arising from routine compliance evaluations and not from an individual complaint, Bank of America recently agreed to pay $4.2 million in back wages and interest in light of alleged hiring practices that violated OFCCP-enforced anti-discrimination laws.

All this is to say that, if our government contractor readers have any input on the information collected at the initial stages of a discrimination or retaliation complaint, DOL is interested in hearing it. After all, the type of information initially collected for an allegation of discrimination or retaliation sets the stage for the subsequent investigation, which will undoubtedly involve the employer.

This information is provided by Vinson & Elkins LLP for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended, nor should it be construed, as legal advice.