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Rachel Monroe

Rachel Monroe

HR Analyst
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Rachel Monroe is an HR Analyst working on the compliance team at DCI. In this role, she assists with the development of affirmative action plans and EEO/VETS reporting.

Rachel joined the team in August 2016, after receiving her graduate degree in May 2016. Rachel received her Master of Science degree via the Industrial/Organizational Psychology track and a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Missouri State University.

During her first year of graduate studies, Rachel worked in the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at Missouri State assisting the student population with disability accommodation services. In fulfillment of her graduate degree requirements, Rachel completed a human resources internship at AMP New Zealand, a financial services company. During her second year of graduate studies, Rachel was awarded a Teaching Assistantship in the Psychology Department at Missouri State to manage the HELP desk (a statistical and research design consulting center for undergraduate and graduate students). Rachel has practical experience and working knowledge of data management and statistics, and skills with a variety of data analysis programs (e.g., EXCEL, SPSS, and R).

Rachel Monroe ’s Recent Posts

Between the periods of 2005-2007, OFCCP had several open compliance reviews with Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. establishments. In just the last month, three DOL administrative complaints for audits from this period were dismissed. Dismissals resulted from Pilgrim’s Pride bankruptcy filed in 2008.

In December of 2008, Pilgrim’s Pride declared bankruptcy, and proceeded through the process, effecting a bankruptcy plan in December of 2009. As part of the bankruptcy plan, the Court gave notice of Pilgrim’s Pride bankruptcy available to all relevant parties, requesting that all parties submit claims by June 2009. OFCCP filed a claim alleging discriminatory practices at Mount Pleasant and Lufkin, TX, factories in May of 2009. Pilgrim’s Pride then filed a Claims Objection Procedures Motion to OFCCP’s claims of discrimination to which OFCCP did not respond. As a result, the Court granted Pilgrim’s Pride’s objection, thus disallowing OFCCP’s claim. No other claims were submitted for other Pilgrim’s Pride establishments under review by OFCCP.

On September 15, 2015, one day after the Pilgrim’s Pride bankruptcy plan ended, the DOL filed the first of three administrative complaints with the Office of Administrative Law Judges for the Athens, AL compliance review. The next two complaints were filed for Marshville, NC, and Mount Pleasant, TX, in October 2015 and May 2016 respectively. A press release was also issued for the Mount Pleasant review in May 2016.

As a claim for the Mount Pleasant review was submitted during the bankruptcy plan, but ultimately disallowed, this administrative complaint was not able to move forward. Further, since OFCCP failed to file claims for the Athens and Marshville reviews prior to the bankruptcy notice period of June 2009, the Courts dismissed these complaints. OFCCP maintained they were not properly notified of the Bankruptcy case, thus timely claims could not be submitted in 2009. The Court found that this could not be possible, given that the Southwest and Rocky Mountain Regional Office filed claims in May of 2009 in accordance with the notice. Given that OFCCP is one agency, the court expected that if one region had sufficient notice then all regions should have had sufficient notice.

For more information on the full proceedings, please reference this document. This particular case serves as a helpful reminder to consult legal counsel for guidance during a bankruptcy period if there are open reviews covering a time period prior to bankruptcy.

By Amanda Shapiro, Senior Consultant, and Rachel Monroe, HR Analyst, at DCI Consulting Group

 

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As noted in a recent blog, 800 Corporate Scheduling Announcement Letters (CSAL or courtesy letter) were sent to contractor establishments on February 17, 2017. CSALs serve to give contractors advanced notice that one (or more) of their establishments appear in the list generated by the Federal Contractor Selection System (FCSS). DCI has noted a trend with the recent batch of CSAL letters: some CSALs are addressed to locations with open or recently closed OFCCP audits. In some cases, these locations also received CSALs during the last wave sent in 2014. This may not be representative of all letters, but it is unclear why establishments with open or recently closed audits would receive a CSAL.

As a reminder, if a scheduling letter is received for an establishment with an active audit, or an audit that closed within two years of the date of the new scheduling letter, you should reach out to OFCCP to administratively close the audit. A CSAL does not initiate an audit, thus there is nothing to administratively close or dispute necessarily. One thing to keep in mind is that if enough time passes and the scheduling letter is received two years or more from the close of the previous audit, then the audit can commence regardless of when the CSAL was received. If you have received a 2017 CSAL it is recommended that you reach out to your Consultant and/or Counsel to discuss.

By Amanda Shapiro, Senior Consultant, and Rachel Monroe, HR Analyst at DCI Consulting Group

 

 

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DCI has confirmed with OFCCP that a new round of CSAL letters were officially mailed as of February 17th. The letters were sent directly to establishments and “Frequently Asked Questions” resources have been updated on the Department of Labor’s website regarding the FCSS and CSALs.

Specifically, in referencing OFCCP’s CSAL and FCSS FAQs, we note the following new or revised FAQs:

  • Will the corporate headquarters of establishments on the scheduling list receive a CSAL?
    • No. CSALs are mailed to all establishments identified on the scheduling lists developed for a given scheduling cycle. Unlike previous years, OFCCP will not send notice to a corporation’s headquarters. Instead, the CSAL directs the establishment to forward the notice to corporate headquarters, if such is corporate policy.

Unlike previous years, OFCCP will not send notices to a corporation’s headquarters. CSALs will be mailed directly to all establishments on the scheduling lists with the direction that these notices be forwarded on to corporate headquarters. Other FAQs include:

  • How many establishments are on the current Scheduling List?
    • There are a total of 800 establishments on this first release of the FY 2017 Scheduling List.
  • How many industries are represented on the current Scheduling List?
    • Based on the 2–digit NAICS code, the first release of the FY 2017 Scheduling List covers 29 industries.
  • How many companies are represented on the current Scheduling List?
    • 375 distinct companies are represented on the first release of the FY 2017 Scheduling List.
  • How many Corporate Management Compliance Evaluations (CMCE) are included in the current Scheduling List?
    • The first release of the FY 2017 Scheduling List includes 30 CMCEs.

It’s important to note that 800 letters were sent, but those letters are only covering 375 companies. This means that some companies will receive multiple letters for multiple establishments. It’s also important to note that organizations may receive a corporate management evaluation letter at their headquarter facility. DCI is trending the 29 industries that are receiving CSALs and will provide updates as we learn more.

One additional point worth mentioning is that OFCCP clarified that a contractor’s establishment may be selected for a review outside of those listed on the CSAL by a Directed Review. The FAQ states that “these compliance evaluations may be scheduled by OFCCP when it receives credible information of an alleged violation of a law or regulations the agency enforces, including those deriving from individual of class complaints filed with the EEOC, or state or local fair employment practices agencies (FEPAs) that allege employment discrimination covered under the laws that OFCCP enforces.”

Corporate compliance officials should contact local HR representatives at their company’s facilities to ensure they are aware a letter from OFCCP may be coming in the next few days. Additionally, they should be aware that there may be a CMCE letter coming to their corporate headquarters.

By Rachel Monroe, HR Analyst; David Cohen, President; and Joanna Colosimo, Director of EEO Compliance, at DCI Consulting Group 

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Through our previous blog posts, we have kept our readers updated on changes to EEO-1 reporting scheduled to go into effect March 2018. Recently, President Trump put forth a regulatory freeze on new and pending regulations, which affects the revised EEO-1 regulations. This left many contractors wondering about the status of the EEO-1 Report for 2017. To address these concerns, on January 27, The OFCCP Institute sent a letter to EEOC Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic, and the Acting Secretary of Labor, Edward Hugler, requesting a review of revised EEO-1 report and answer the following questions for employers as quickly as possible:

  1. Will Component 2 in fact be implemented in 2018 as finalized?
  2. If Component 2 is eliminated, will the EEOC return to using the EEO-1 Report without Component 2?
  3. If EEOC returns to the EEO-1 Report without Component 2 will the survey be due by September 30, 2017 or in March 31, 2018?
  4. If the EEO-1 Report is due by March 31, 2018 rather than September 30, 2017, will the VETS-4212 report deadline be moved from September to March so that employers will be reporting on the same population for both reports?

To add more context on how we think this might play out, Victoria A. Lipnic, the recently appointed Acting Chair of the EEOC, has been against the added pay component of the revised EEO-1 Report, finding it burdensome to contractors and of little value. However, during a recently held Seyfarth Shaw, LLP sponsored panel discussion, she mentioned she was the only commissioner who voted against it and given the regulatory freeze, this regulation “would fall squarely under” the direction outlined by Trump.

It will be interesting to know how the EEOC and the Acting Secretary of Labor respond to the Institute’s letter. We will keep our readers informed on their response.

By Vinaya Sakpal, HR Analyst, and Rachel Monroe, HR Analyst, at DCI Consulting Group

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President Trump’s office issued a press release on January 31st, stating his intention to continue enforcing Executive Order 13672. This order was issued by President Obama in July 2014, amending Executive Order 11246 to extend protection from workplace discrimination to the LGBT population. This press release refutes speculation that President Trump would be rescinding this order entirely, however, it is currently unclear if there will be stronger religious exemptions to follow. President Obama’s original order did not include any religious exemptions. However, an order signed by President Bush amended EO 11246 to exempt religious organizations from non-discrimination on the basis of religion. This exemption is nearly identical to the language of the religious exemption in Title VII. Such exemptions, as currently written, state that religious organizations are able to “favor or prefer to employ individuals of a particular religion when making employment decisions.”

If President Trump intends to increase the parameters of the current religious exemption, there are a number of possible outcomes. First, the exemption could be broadened to all contractors and not just specifically religious ones. Additionally, a possible iteration of the exemption in the form of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, would allow religious contractors to require employees “to conform to a declared set of significant religious tenets.” In the coming weeks, it is possible that President Trump may draft a new EO focused on religious freedom. DCI will be tracking this issue closely to provide the most up to date information for contractors.

By Rachel Monroe, HR Analyst, and Jana Garman, Senior Consultant at DCI Consulting Group

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The EEOC delivered the final rule on affirmative action for individuals with disabilities in federal employment—an amendment to Section 501 regulations. This rule further clarifies the affirmative action obligations in recruitment, retention, and advancement of qualified individuals with disabilities. According to the rule, federal agencies must utilize programs and resources that identify potential applicants with disabilities from voluntary pipeline databases or by partnering with vocational rehabilitation agencies, for example. Agency staff must be trained and fully supported to provide applicants with reasonable accommodations, answer disability related questions, and oversee hiring programs. The regulation also requires efforts to ensure employees with disabilities have sufficient opportunities for advancement, through relevant training and mentoring programs. To assist in these efforts, the EEOC will provide the proper training and technical assistance to agency staff.

The rule raised the utilization goal percentage of individuals with disabilities from 7% to 12%. Additionally, it introduces a sub-goal of 2% for individuals with “targeted disabilities.” The rule also requires federal government agencies to provide personal assistance services (PAS) for employees with disabilities. PAS is defined as “non-medical services that help someone perform basic activities like eating and using the restroom.”

This rule does not change reporting for federal agencies, as no applicant or employee is compelled to answer the disability self-identification form. The EEOC expects agencies to conduct yearly workforce analyses to track progress towards goals. Additionally, failing to meet the 12% or 2% goal does not mean the EEOC will disapprove an agency’s plan. The EEOC states that the reason for this increase is to provide more opportunities for individuals with disabilities and be a model employer.  Along with empowering individuals with disabilities through the independence of employment, the EEOC believes that this ruling will reduce the amount of taxpayer funds allocated to disability benefits. Aiming for a timely implementation process, the rule will go into effect March 6, 2017, with an applicability date of January 3, 2018.

By Rachel Monroe, HR Analyst, and Macy Cheeks, HR Analyst, at DCI Consulting Group 

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The election has passed, and soon there will be changes at OFCCP. These changes primarily include a new politically appointed OFCCP Director and the shifts this new leadership will bring with it. Looking forward, we have noted recent changes in the agency’s leadership that will be in effect until the Trump administration.

  • Director Patricia Shiu left OFCCP on November 6,2016, 2 days before the presidential election. Upon her departure, Director Shiu stated that nothing is likely to change until a new Director is put in place, however, she indicated that the new administration is more likely to focus on finance and technology industries.
  • Tom Dowd, a current Deputy Director of OFCCP, will serve as the Acting Director of OFCCP until a new Director is appointed by President Trump.
  • Dr. Marika Litras was selected to serve as OFCCP’s Director of Enforcement by Director Shiu. Prior to this, Litras was the Director of the Division of Program Operations with OFCCP and has held several roles with the agency as a Senior Statistician, Director of Regional Operations, and Deputy Director of Program Operations. Director of Enforcement is a newly established Senior Executive Service level position with OFCCP and her responsibilities in this role will include:
    • Collaborating with the regions and National Office Divisions in planning and evaluating the overall enforcement program;
    • Working in partnership with the regions on cases referred to the Office of the Solicitor for potential litigation;
    • Managing and overseeing agency-wide enforcement strategies, investigative techniques and related resources;
    • Coordinating and participating in significant, complex, and multi-establishment investigations

Along with personnel shifts, DCI has noticed some continuing audit trends. We mentioned in a previous blog that OFCCP’s district offices are handling audits outside of their geographic enforcement zones. This trend has continued. We speculate that this may be an indicator of upcoming changes to OFCCP enforcement. Recently, OFCCP has considered “paperless audits” in order to streamline the process and reduce the administrative burden for both sides. Additionally, per their budget for FY 2017, OFCCP plans to establish two “skilled regional centers” in New York and San Francisco. These two centers will be tasked with handling large, complex discrimination investigations and providing new and efficient ways to support high-quality enforcement. Stay tuned for more updates on OFCCP and other industry trends.

By Vinaya Sakpal, HR Analyst, and Rachel Monroe, HR Analyst, at DCI Consulting Group

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Similar to the Massachusetts Pay Equity law passed earlier this year, California Governor Jerry Brown signed an additional anti-wage discrimination bill on Sept. 30th that bans using prior salary as a baseline for setting compensation. This law further strengthens the already stringent pay equity laws in California. Specifically, the law now states that employers cannot justify a disparity in compensation solely based on candidates’ prior salary.

The law states that employees performing “substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions” must be paid equally. Any differences in wage can only be justified by the following factors:

  • A seniority system
  • A merit system
  • A system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production
  • A bona fide factor other than sex, such as education, training, or experience

California’s law also aims at closing the wage gap regarding race and ethnicity. The law uses the same clause above to prevent employers from discriminating on the basis of race as well as gender.

The idea behind these laws is to eradicate prevailing unfair wage disparities in the market that get carried over when employers set compensation based on prior salary. According to the sponsors of the bill, many statistics on the wage gap between men and women have revealed the disparity (i.e. women earn 79 cents to every dollar men earn), and this wage gap is further widened when race is added to the equation (i.e. black women earn 63 cents to every dollar white men earn; and Latinas earn 56 cents to every dollar white men earn).

This law will go into effect January 1st 2017. Click here to learn more about the bill.

By Rachel Monroe, HR Analyst, and Vinaya Sakpal, HR Analyst, DCI Consulting Group 

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On August 1, 2016, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, signed “an act to establish pay equity.” The law passed unanimously in the House and Senate to remedy the gender wage gap. It clarifies the previously ambiguous definition of comparable work. The definition now includes consideration of similar skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions. In effect, this clarification holds employers to higher standards to provide equal pay.

Effective July 2018, the law also places unique limitations on Massachusetts employers by banning the screening of applicants based on wage or salary history. Specifically, it states that requiring an applicant to disclose prior wages, benefits, or salary history as a condition of moving forward in the application process is unlawful. In light of these limitations, employers with locations in Massachusetts should be aware of how their application and hiring efforts are conducted. It may become necessary for recruiters to undergo training so as not to violate these parameters.

Additionally, this law eliminates “pay secrecy” rules. This requirement is very similar to OFCCP’s pay secrecy rule and other state laws on pay secrecy that have been passed.  However, employers or employees are not required to answer questions about their compensation.

Finally, this law creates an affirmative defense for employers to encourage proactive analyses and compliance. Employers who conduct an appropriate “self-evaluation” of their compensation and use that analysis to “demonstrate reasonable progress” in reducing pay disparities may invoke this affirmative defense. While the law does not define the parameters for what a self-evaluation would look like, employers are permitted to design their own, as long as it is “reasonable in detail and scope.”

Many other states are currently following this trend of instituting tougher pay equity laws. It is incumbent upon employers to demonstrate their willingness to engage in “good faith efforts” to uphold the law. Going forward, employers should be mindful to involve legal counsel and compensation analysts in their review of their recruitment, hiring, and pay systems.

For more information on the Massachusetts Pay Equity Bill, the full text of the law can be found here.

By Macy Cheeks, HR Analyst, and Rachel Monroe, HR Analyst, at DCI Consulting Group

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Recent Blog Posts

Pilgrim’s Pride: Three Administrative Complaints Dismissed

Between the periods of 2005-2007, OFCCP had several open compliance reviews with Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. establishments. In just the last month, three DOL administrative complaints for audits from this period were dismissed. Dismissals resulted from Pilgrim’s Pride bankruptcy filed in 2008.

In December of 2008, Pilgrim’s Pride declared bankruptcy, and proceeded through the process, effecting a bankruptcy plan in December of 2009. As part of the bankruptcy plan, the Court gave notice of Pilgrim’s Pride bankruptcy available to all relevant parties, requesting that all parties submit claims by June 2009. OFCCP filed a claim alleging discriminatory practices at Mount Pleasant and Lufkin, TX, factories in May of 2009. Pilgrim’s Pride then filed a Claims Objection Procedures Motion to OFCCP’s claims

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