Welcome! The Affirmative Action News blog is written by the EEO/AAP team at Biddle Consulting Group.
If you have any questions, please let us know. Thank you!

Jason Schaefer, MBA, MA, Joins Biddle

Biddle Consulting Group, Inc. adds another new Senior Consultant, Jason Schaefer, M.B.A, M.A., to its team of EEO experts. Jason has more than ten years of experience developing and validating examinations used for employee selection and licensure/certification clients throughout the United States. This includes designing and administering job analyses, conducting standard setting studies, writing technical reports, and performing specialized research related to test construction and validation. He has provided technical guidance to clients in test design, use, and analysis, as well as, conducted psychometric analyses to assess exam and item effectiveness. Additional work included the development and administration of surveys assessing employee attitudes, organizational climate, client satisfaction, program/process effectiveness, and 360 degree feedback for leadership development purposes.

Jason holds Master’s degrees in Business Administration and Industrial and Organizational Psychology from California State University, Sacramento.  Jason has presented research findings on topics of interest to testing professionals at a variety of professional conferences.

 


For more information about Biddle Consulting Group’s job analysis, test validation, and test development consulting services, please visit www.biddle.com or call (800) 999-0438.

2018 Proposed Budget Released: DOL’s Budget Cut by $2.5B

President Trump’s budget blueprint dubbed as “America First” was released Thursday, March 16, 2017. The blueprint calls for a $1.15 trillion proposed budget that seeks to provide increased spending for the military and homeland security, while cutting the spending budget for other federal agencies, including the Department of Labor (DOL).

The Department of Labor’s 2018 proposed budget will be $2.5B (20.7%) less than the annualized continuing resolution (CR)[1] for 2017 and calls for the following:

  • The expansion of Reemployment and Eligibility Assessments – an activity by various States’ employment development departments to review the individual’s efforts to seek employment and to provide information on appropriate resources to assist the individual to return to work as quickly as possible.
  • Reduced funding to ineffective and duplicative training grants. This eliminates the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) which was found to be ineffective in transitioning low-income unemployed seniors to unsubsidized jobs.
  • Elimination of the Bureau of International Labor Affairs’ largely noncompetitive and unproven grant funding.
  • Closing of Job Corps centers for the disadvantaged youths that do a poor job in educating and preparing students for jobs.
  • Decreased federal support and shifting more funding responsibilities to the States, localities, and employers for job training and employment service.
  • Helping the States to expand apprenticeship programs
  • Elimination of OSHA’s training grants and instead refocus the agency to keeping the workers safe on the job
  • Elimination of less critical technical assistance grants by the Office of Disability and Employment and instead launching an early intervention projects that will allow States to test and evaluate methods that will help persons with disabilities to remain connected to the labor market.

What about the OFCCP?

While the proposed 2018 budget is by no means final until approved by Congress, it nevertheless squelched some speculations on the fate of the Office of Federal Contracts Compliance Programs (OFCCP) under the Trump administration. If nothing else, the proposed budget revealed that the OFCCP is here to stay, will remain a separate agency from the EEOC, and affirmative action programs will still be enforced. However, much like other agencies, it is almost certain that the trickle-down effect of the proposed budget cuts will affect the OFCCP, particularly its request for an $8,693,000 budget increase and the retention of 615 full-time employees (FTEs) as outlined in its 2017 Congressional Budget Justification document. Should this really be an area of interest or concern to anybody besides the OFCCP?

While nobody can be sure of what will happen in the next few months, we can look back at the OFCCP’s budget and operation history and maybe, just maybe, look into our crystal ball to see what the future might hold for the federal contracting community? History shows that the OFCCP operated efficiently in much leaner years: from 2003 thru 2009, its appropriated budget ranged from $78M to $84M and with FTEs ranging from 585 (in 2008) to 749. How did the OFCCP survive with much tighter belt during those lean years? One answer lies in the issuance of the OFCCP’s Active Case Management (ACM) directive in July 2003. Under this directive, compliance officers (COs) were able to expedite audits — allowing them to close audits where no systemic discrimination was found — conduct more compliance evaluations, and direct their focus on organizations where more apparent discrimination occurs. The directive definitely allowed the OFCCP to do more with less and produced more financial settlements at higher dollar amounts.

With the possibility of the trickle-down effect of the proposed budget cuts, it will not be a stretch to think that the OFCCP will once again re-invent itself so it can continue to enforce the provisions of the regulations in the most effective and efficient way. This, not coincidentally, is one of the main thrusts of the new administration: improve “the federal government’s effectiveness, efficiency, cyber security, and accountability.” There is no doubt that everybody in the federal contracting community – prime and sub-contractors, lawyers, consultants, analysts, etc. – can expect another roller coaster ride with the probable changes in the OFCCP. In the meantime, hold onto your seats and stay compliant with the current regulatory requirements.


Helpful Resources:


[1] In December 2016, the Senate passed legislation to fund the federal government until April 28, 2017 to avoid a government shutdown.

Implementation of the New EEO-1 Report is Still Uncertain

In a few weeks, the 2nd quarter of calendar year 2017 will roll in. With the fate of the new EEO-1 Report still uncertain, most contractors are, understandably, getting anxious. Will the EEOC implement the changes or will it table the implementation until further review? Should contractors prepare for the September 30, 2017 filing or will they have more time to prepare for the first deadline of March 31, 2018?

Two weeks after being named as the acting chair of the EEOC, Victoria Lipnic, in her first public comment in February, addressed the requirements for filing the EEO-1 reports under the new regulations. She expressed that there is a need to re-evaluate the costs and benefits of the revised EEO-1 reporting – something that falls directly under the mandate of the Trump administration for all agencies to “rethink the regulations they have on the books.” Although Ms. Lipnic was vocal about her dissenting vote on the modifications, she was also quick to point out that the commission operates by vote, and, therefore, the agency’s current position cannot be altered by only one commissioner.

In addition to filing gender and race data, the new EEO-1 Form requires all employers (private and federal) with 100 or more employees to report summary pay data by gender/race. Employers will be required to indicate the total number of full/part time employees and total hours worked within 12 pay categories for each of the 10 EEO job classifications. Data collected through the EEO-1 report is accessed by the OFCCP for the purposes of establishing their audit list, however, summary pay data for federal contractors and subcontractors will be routed directly to the OFCCP. The EEOC and the OFCCP, in their respective capacities and responsibilities, see the inclusion of pay in the EEO-1 report as an integral tool for more effective and efficient investigations of pay discrimination. The federal contracting community-at-large applauds the efforts but questions the usefulness of 12×10 aggregated pay data for investigation of pay discrimination.

‘Retool and prepare now or wait and see?’, that is the question. Many federal contractors are holding out hope that the Trump administration will eliminate pay data requirements and revert back to the previous EEO-1 reporting requirements.  Many contractors aren’t waiting and, in anticipation of the change, have developed a game plan and/or methodology for structuring their data for submittal. For those who are still holding out hope, it is recommended that you be proactive and at least consider creating a test file to assess your gaps in data.

Steps to creating a test file:

  1. Export from your payroll software or connect with your payroll service provider, payroll or compensation department to retain a list of employees (with employee ID’s), their associated W-2 (Box 1) pay and hours worked for the 2016 calendar year.
  2. Export from your HRIS the requisite demographic data for all employees (as required).
  3. Create a single data file by merging payroll with HRIS employee data files.
  4. Sort pay in ascending order, create a new column and then create and label each employee in accordance with their corresponding EEO-1 report compensation band.
  5. Verify that your data aligns with the EEO-1 report format through Pivot Tables.

Additional factors to consider when compiling total number of hours worked:

  1. How is the organization capturing the actual hours worked for exempt employees
  2. How the reported total hours will affect compensation analysis (i.e., hours worked of part time employees and exempt employees).

Still feeling lost?  Check out the EEOC website, recent EEOC webinar, or contact a Biddle EEO/AA Specialist at staff@biddle.com.

Independent of the changes to the EEO-1 form and requirement of submitting summary pay data, best practices, laws and regulations dictate that contractors should review their compensation system and analyze their data to ensure equal pay and eliminate disparities.


Article co-authored by John Piatt, Director of EEO/AA Client Support & CERT, Biddle Consulting Group, Inc.

Clinton Kelly Joins Biddle Consulting Group Team

Biddle Consulting Group, Inc. is proud to announce the addition of Senior Consultant Clinton Kelly, Ph.D./ABD to its team. Clinton has more than ten years of experience working with a wide variety of clients in the areas of job analysis, test development, and test validation services. His previous work experience includes him being responsible for developing and maintaining over 300 licensure tests in six different states and developing licensure tests in over a dozen states in variety of licensure areas (e.g., construction, insurance, cosmetology). He has also assisted with the development/validation of bilingual-certification testing for law enforcement and social-worker positions and developed assessments for public safety departments throughout the country. In addition, he has conducted psychometric analyses (e.g., item difficulty/discrimination, cut scores, pass rates, adverse impact, reliability, equivalent alternative forms), facilitated subject matter expert meetings, and authored technical reports.

Clinton holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from California State University, Sacramento, and he is completing his doctoral work in Applied Social Psychology at Brigham Young University. He is widely respected in the industry and has conducted presentations at a wide variety of professional conferences around the nation.


For more information about Biddle Consulting Group’s job analysis, test validation, and test development consulting services, please visit www.biddle.com or call (800) 999-0438.