OFCCP Issues Revised Sex Discrimination Rules
By Jo Bennett
On Tuesday, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) finalized revisions to its sex discrimination rules, bringing them in line with current Title VII jurisprudence. The current rules were written in 1970, and do not reflect sex discrimination principles that have evolved over the past four decades.
In a statement, OFCCP director Patricia A. Shiu said the agency was bringing the guidelines “from the ‘Mad Men’ era to the modern era.”
The announcement coincided with the White House Council on Women and Girls inaugural “United State of Women” Summit, which focused on gender equality, and included a broad discussion of economic empowerment.
Some highlights of the new rule include:
- Contractors must provide workplace accommodations to employees due to pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions.
- Contractors are prohibited from paying workers differently because of their sex.
- The rule prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex relating to benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and profit-sharing or bonus plans.
- Sexual harassment is prohibited.
- Contractors are prohibited from setting requirements for jobs based on an applicant’s sex unless they can demonstrate that the requirements are a bona fide occupational qualification. A similar prohibition relates to height or weight qualifications.
- The rules make clear that sex discrimination includes gender identity.
The rules go into effect August 15th. While the procedures of many federal contractors already conform to the new rules, it is a best practice to review recruitment, hiring, and training policies to ensure compliance.
For more information regarding this or other labor and employment issues, please contact Jo Bennett, a member of Schnader’s Labor and Employment Practices Group.
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