OFCCP/COVID-19 NEWS: VERY LIMITED EXEMPTION FOR SOME NEW CONTRACTS, BUT AAP AND OTHER OBLIGATIONS CONTINUE FOR EXISTING CONTRACTORS

Like many other federal agencies, the OFCCP has leapt into the fray which is the COVID-19 pandemic. In its case, however, the OFCCP’s moves have been extremely limited. For example, Director Craig Leen has announced an exemption from affirmative action obligations for some new contracts “in view of the special circumstances in the national interest presented by the novel coronavirus outbreak.“ The exemption, however, ONLY applies to new contracts entered into between March 17 and June 17, 2020 “specifically to provide Coronavirus relief.” The Director’s memorandum, which can be found at https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/OFCCP/National-Interest-Exemption-Memo-Coronavirus-Relief-Efforts.pdf, makes it clear that all other obligations for existing contractors under Executive Order 11246, the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and the Rehabilitation Act continue to apply. This would obviously include covered employers’ duty to annually update their affirmative action plans.

The only other major pronouncement from OFCCP in recent days has been to advise contractors that the agency WILL continue to conduct new (and existing) compliance reviews, with the only current concession being that instead of physical on-site visits, OFCCP will conduct evaluations and interviews through alternate means, such as by telephone or Skype meetings. They did leave the door open for “reasonable extensions” of time for contractors to respond to requests for evaluations or interviews when they are unable to do so because of COVID-related concerns.

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Since legal developments pertaining to COVID-19 are constantly evolving, we recommend that our clients call the Kullman Firm attorney(s) with whom they work for the most current guidance on these matters.