National Association of Government Contractors

Single Agency to Combat Discrimination Planned

President Trump's 2018 budget, released earlier in the week, proposed to merge the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The proposed merger purports to result in "one agency to combat employment discrimination."  The Trump administration asserts that the merger would "reduce operational redundancies, promote efficiencies, improve services to citizens, and strengthen civil rights enforcement."

Business groups and employee civil rights organizations have opposed the measure, albeit for different reasons. 

Business groups oppose the OFCCP's merger into the EEOC due to concerns that it would create a more powerful EEOC with greater enforcement power. One such concern, is that the OFCCP conducts audits, which compile substantial data on government contractors' workforces, while the EEOC possesses the power to subpoena employer records, in combination this "new" EEOC would wield greater enforcement power.

Civil rights and employee organizations oppose the merger, believing that overall it would result in less funding for the combined functions currently performed by each agency.

"The OFCCP plays a unique and crucial role in ensuring that federal contractors do their part to improve diversity and pay equity in the workplace and proactively promote employment opportunities for underrepresented groups. We absolutely need a strong OFCCP that’s separate from the EEOC," said Judy Conti, federal advocacy coordinator with the National Employment Law Project in a recent statement supported by 73 advocacy groups.

Similarly, the contractor community has not been supportive of the idea. The general consensus being that the merger would be "neither sound policy nor in the interests of federal contractors," stated David Fortney, a former acting labor solicitor during the George H.W. Bush administration, who now represents federal contractors.

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