OFCCP Issues Bulletin on COVID-19
On Friday, March 20, 2020, OFCCP issued a bulletin regarding COVID-19. The bulletin is another part of the agency’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. We previously reported on OFCCP’s decision to issue a national emergency exemption for federal contractors and subcontractors working directly on COVID-19 projects. OFCCP’s March 20 bulletin focuses on three ideas:
- The agency remains open and will continue to conduct compliance reviews and provide resources to federal contractors and subcontractors
- The agency will NOT be conducting physical onsites as part of any compliance review or complaint investigation
- The agency expects to provide some flexibility to organizations that are having problems meeting obligations during compliance reviews
Organizations that are going through focused reviews under Section 503 (the affirmative action law that protects individuals with disabilities) were told to expect an onsite would be part of these reviews. The March 20 bulletin backs away from this. Instead, OFCCP expects to use phone conferences and tools such as Skype to conduct interviews and interact with employers and employees.
Requesting Extensions from OFCCP Based on COVID-19
A critical part of Friday’s bulletin is the following statement:
“OFCCP will remain flexible by coordinating with [federal contractors and subcontractors] and providing reasonable extensions where needed.”
Organizations needing an extension of time are asked to contact their local OFCCP office. While the bulletin does not mention this, the agency does allow organizations to contact the relevant regional office or the national Ombudsman when the local office is not helpful.
If your organization does need an extension of time or relief from inquiries from OFCCP, we suggest you approach these requests carefully. OFCCP is likely to expect that your organization can provide some reason why the request is being made. The agency is also likely to ask for a timeline associated with the request.
We will continue to follow OFCCP’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and provide you further information as it is available.