The OFCCP announced the publication of a Final Rule on June 14, 2016, revising and replacing its current Sex Discrimination Guidelines. The revisions rescind procedures that have remained unchanged for over four decades to reflect a more accurate portrayal of current day organizational profiles. The Final Rule updates guidelines on a wide variety of issues ranging from compensation discrimination to gender identity and family care giving discrimination.
What are the key pieces of the Final Rule that will affect the Federal Contracting Community?
The items listed below were highlighted in the Final Rule’s Factsheet:
- Clarifies that adverse treatment of an employee because of gender-stereotype assumptions relating to family caretaking responsibilities is discrimination.
- Clarifies that flexible workplace arrangements for childcare must be available to men on the same basis that it is available to women.
- Confirms that contractors must provide a variety of workplace accommodations, ranging from extra bathroom breaks to light-duty assignments, for women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions comparable to the accommodations that contractors provide to other workers similar in their ability or inability to work, such as employees with disabilities or occupational injuries.
- Further sets out disparate-treatment and disparate-impact approaches to the provisions for accommodations and leave, not limited to disparate-impact analyses on policies and procedures that deny such accommodations and/or leave.
- Clarifies that contractors may not pay employees different wages, benefits, or any other forms of compensation on the basis of sex.
- Confirms that contractors must provide equal benefits and equal contributions for male and female employees participating in fringe-benefit plans.
- Addresses both quid pro quo and hostile-environment sexual harassment, and identifies as a best practice that contractors develop and implement procedures to ensure an environment in which all employees feel safe and welcomed, are treated fairly, and are not harassed on the basis of sex.
- Clarifies that adverse treatment of employees because they do not conform to gender norms and expectations about their appearance, attire, or behavior, is unlawful sex discrimination.
- Clarifies that discrimination against an individual because of her or his gender identity is unlawful sex discrimination.
- Requires contractors to allow workers to use bathrooms, changing rooms, showers and similar facilities consistent with the gender they identify as.
- Changes the “Sex Discrimination Guidelines” to regulations about “Discrimination on the Basis of Sex” to make clear that they have the force and effect of law.
The Final Rule goes into effect on August 15, 2016.
Additional information, including FAQs and a crosswalk of comparisons between the old guidelines and the new, can be viewed on the OFCCP website: