The National Industry Liaison Group’s (NILG) annual conference was held this week and attended by nearly 800 practitioners. This is notable attendance in light of the fact that the conference was held in Charlotte, NC and several ‘would be’ attendees opted-out as a means of support to the LBGT community.
For their part, the NILG, its sponsors and presenters, including Biddle Consulting Group, were in Charlotte to reinforce their commitment to EEO, Affirmative Action, and equal access for all. Participation in this year’s conference was meant as a strong statement to support the LGBT community and against the recent law passed in North Carolina which serves to diminish or eliminate their civil rights.
National Director of the OFCCP, Patricia Shiu, began the conference with a keynote address that highlighted the changes the Agency has made under her seven-year tenure, as well as restating the OFCCP’s vision and focus during the remaining years of the Obama administration. Here are the highlights of Director Shiu’s address:
- The OFCCP has “changed dramatically” since her tenure began in 2009.
- During her tenure, the Agency has protected workers, increased diversity and improved the way compliance reviews are conducted.
- New, robust pay transparency enforcement was introduced.
- Reviewed over 28,000 sites with 12 million workers.
- “Overall, we have found that contractors comply with the law.”
- “Our job is not done until aggrieved workers are made whole.”
- Launched the Class Member Locator tool online.
- There has been an increase in the number of individuals with disabilities who have been hired by contractors.
- E.O. 13672 widened the non-discrimination protections for workers to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Sex discrimination guidelines were reviewed for first time since 1976 and address the reality of today’s workplaces. The Final Rule becomes effective August 15, 2016.
- “Pay discrimination is a high priority at the OFCCP because it is a high priority with President Obama.”
- “Contractors must pay workers fairly.”
- “We have prioritized pay discrimination and that is not going to change.”
- “We want to conduct audits in a fair, neutral, and expeditious way.” To that end, Director Shiu urged contractors to provide compensation data up front during compliance reviews in order to process audits quickly and without delay. She discouraged attorneys from advising their clients to submit their comp data in a piecemeal fashion.
In addition to the OFCCP’s presence and the array of seasoned presenters, Biddle Consulting Group played a role in the success of this year’s conference by conducting two workshops:
Pre-Conference – Session 3, Workshop 1: EEO Cross-Fit: Understanding the Metrics Within Your AAP
Two primary metrics included in an AAP are comparisons of incumbency to availability and disparity analyses. However, when was the last time practitioners really thought about them? Are incumbency goals based on the best available data? Do disparity analyses accurately reflect reality (i.e., how decisions were actually made)? This presentation was designed for the new AAP developer as well as the seasoned veteran interested in improving the accuracy of their plan metrics. Presenters: Patrick M. Nooren (Biddle), Philip Akroyd (Biddle)
Conference Day 1 – Session 2, Workshop 5: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Diversity Initiatives Gone Awry (or “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back”)
Too often, goals are seen solely as a recruitment issue…that by simply “casting a broader net,” an organization can make meaningful progress. Unfortunately, this over-simplified strategy of addressing goals by only diversifying applicant pools while not addressing underlying roadblocks that may exist in the selection process(es) can often lead to elevated adverse impact results. In short, organizations can “shoot themselves in the foot” by only narrowly focusing on recruitment efforts. This session focused on bringing these issues to light so that meaningful action-oriented programs can be created. Presenters: Patrick M. Nooren (Biddle), Criselda Cooper (Biddle)
Photo Ops – Out and About at NILG 2016!
If you missed the conference this year, Biddle encourages you to bookmark the 2017 National ILG Conference scheduled for August 1-4 in San Antonio, TX, as a training destination for your EEO/AA needs.