The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contracts Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has been exceptionally busy these last few weeks.

On July 31st it sent it’s final ruling on the amendment of the regulation governing contractor and subcontractor affirmative action and non-discrimination obligations toward veterans (otherwise known as Section 4212 of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act / VEVRAA) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for final review.  Today (Aug 27) the OFCCP released an announcement that the final ruling has been made and will be issued via the Federal Register in a few days and will become effective 180 days after publication in the Federal Register.  You can read the highlights of the final ruling here.

Just a few days ago, the OFCCP posted to its website its updated Federal Contract Compliance Manual (FCCM), which provides internal guidance to the agency’s compliance officers on evaluating federal contractors’ adherence to their affirmative action and equal opportunity obligations and investigating discrimination complaints.  This manual had not been updated in almost a decade, so now the almost 800 field agents will have a common set of standards to follow when conducting desk audits, complaint investigations and determining resolution for contractor non-compliance.

So,what does this mean for compliance folks within the companies that are subject to OFCCP?  It means you, too, can review the FCCM and see what the compliance officers can ask of you during the situations listed above and prepare for what you will be asked to do once the final rule on Section 4212 is issued.  For example, in the Notice for Proposed Rulemaking, where OFCCP first proposed all the changes it wanted to make to Section 4212, it mentions creation of “linkage agreements” between the contractor and organizations for purposes of recruiting.  The updated FCCM actually provides a sample linkage agreement letter.  So, if you were not familiar with what a linkage letter is or what it looks like or how it will be used, the FCCM will give you a clue before the final rule is issued.

I’d love to hear from some corporate compliance folks regarding the new FCCM and the final ruling on Section 4212 – what do you think?  What have you found to be helpful now that you can see the updated FCCM?  What concerns you?  Please type your comments into the section below.