Friday, March 30, 2012

US Labor Department Initiative Finds More Than $1.3 Million in Back Wages Due to 478 Underpaid Massachusetts Employees

From WHD News Release March 29, 2012:

BOSTON — An ongoing enforcement initiative conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor focused on the restaurant industry in Massachusetts has uncovered significant violations of the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. To date, investigations by the Boston District Office of the department's Wage and Hour Division have found $1,307,808 in back wages due to 478 employees of multiple establishments. In addition, the division now is assessing liquidated damages, payable to employees, when employers are found in violation.
"The restaurant industry employs some of our country's lowest paid workers, who are vulnerable to exploitation," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "In response to the extensive level of noncompliance we discovered, we will expand our efforts to bring the industry into compliance to ensure that employees receive the minimum wage and overtime wages required by law."
"Our investigations found that several restaurants violated the FLSA by paying employees flat salaries for all hours worked without overtime pay, failing to combine hours worked at multiple locations for overtime purposes, paying incorrect overtime rates to tipped employees, making illegal deductions from employees' wages and failing to keep accurate records of employees' hours," said George A. Rioux, the division's district director in Boston. "Even more serious, our investigations found an emerging trend of misclassifying restaurant workers as independent contractors in order to avoid minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping requirements of the FLSA."
The full article can be found here:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

OFCCP Publicly Announces Conciliation Agreement with FedEx

The OFCCP has a policy of publicizing settlements of discrimination and conciliation agreements but they typically do so through their website or through less visible means.  In an interesting move, the OFCCP held a press conference (view the press release) this morning to tout the effectiveness of their enforcement efforts. In terms of Pat Shiu’s comments regarding the “cost” of being a federal contractor, it seems that the “cost” may have to be tabulated in the court of public opinion, too.

The OFCCP was more than happy to announce the settlement of a conciliation agreement with divisions of FedEx (Ground and Post) for what the OFCCP calls “one of the most significant cases of discriminatory hiring practices” in OFCCP history. The conciliation agreement spanned 4 OFCCP regions, 15 states, 23 FedEx facilities and affects a potential pool of 21,000 qualified applicants, with 1,703 part time Package Handler job offers to women and minorities and a financial settlement of $3,000,000 to be distributed among 1,000’s of applicants who were denied employment. 

This announcement sends a clear message to large federal contractors, particularly those with high volume hiring decisions with standardized selection processes, that validation of all aspects of the hiring process has become increasingly more important. Federal contractors should not consider this decision as a one-fluke by the OFCCP; the OFCCP certainly thinks there are more broad sweeping investigations in store and has requested funding to support these investigations in their 2013 budget through Strategic Case Selection
Feel free to contact us if this brings up questions or concerns regarding your affirmative action planning and hiring practices.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Biddle's Dan Kuang to Speak at OFCCP Seminar "Compensation Matters: Best Practices for Fair Pay"

OFCCP Compensation Seminar Invitation:

Compensation Matters: Best Practices for Fair Pay

April 17, 2012. 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Alfred Alquist State Building Auditorium
100 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose, CA 95113

Experts provide advice for employers on compensation best practices. Learn best practice tips on how and why compensation matters to everyone who plays a part in determining wages for employees, from first line supervisors to company policymakers.


April 17 is national Equal Pay Day. Federal agencies have a renewed focus on employees' wages. Be proactive, prevent problems and learn how fair pay throughout the life cycle of an employee can improve your business' success.

Sion Belvin at or 408-283-5480

Thursday, March 15, 2012

OFCCP Webinar: Status of Pending Compliance Evaluations of Entities that Participate in TRICARE Networks

From the OFCCP Webinar Invitation:

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA) contains a provision relating to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program's (OFCCP) jurisdiction over TRICARE subcontractors. Please join OFCCP Director of Program Operations Tom Dowd and Counsel Consuela Pinto for a webinar to explain how OFCCP will enforce the law regarding such subcontractors in light of this provision.
Because the NDAA does not address OFCCP coverage unrelated to TRICARE, the webinar will explain how OFCCP is moving forward with compliance evaluations of entities that participate in TRICARE and also hold another federal contract or subcontract. The webinar also will explain how OFCCP is putting compliance evaluations of those entities for which a TRICARE subcontract is the only basis of jurisdiction “on hold,” in light of the fact that this issue is currently being litigated in the Florida Hospital case.
This event requires registration.

Topic: Status of Pending Compliance Evaluations of Entities that Participate in TRICARE Networks

Host: Brenda Williams Stewart

Date and Time:
  • Tuesday, March 27, 2012 2:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
  • Tuesday, March 27, 2012 11:00 am, Pacific Daylight Time (San Francisco, GMT-07:00)
  • Tuesday, March 27, 2012 12:00 pm, Central Time (Saskatchewan, GMT-06:00)
  • Tuesday, March 27, 2012 11:00 am, Mountain Time (Arizona, GMT-07:00)
To register for the online event
  1. Go to
  2. Click "Register"
  3. On the registration form, enter your information and then click "Submit".
Once the host approves your registration, you will receive a confirmation email message with instructions on how to join the event.

For assistance

You can contact Brenda Williams Stewart at:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

When are Contractors Required to Identify Veterans with Disabilities?

Many Federal Contractors are left confused regarding their responsibility to solicit Veteran data in the application process, specifically when they are required to identify Veterans with Disabilities. This responsibility is in direct conflict with the American with Disabilities Act, so contractors are left wondering “should I ask” and “when should I ask” for Veteran’s to self-ID.  The EEOC provides guidance for soliciting such information as well as providing specific steps/wording that an employer should use on their voluntary self-ID forms. See the EEOC 's FAQ responses below for guidance.


May an employer ask if an applicant is a "disabled veteran" if it is seeking to hire someone with a disability?
Yes. Although employers generally may not ask for medical information from applicants prior to making a job offer, they may do so for affirmative action purposes. See EEOC Enforcement Guidance: Pre-employment Disability-Related Questions and Medical Examinations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (1995) at An employer, therefore, may ask applicants to voluntarily self-identify as individuals with disabilities or "disabled veterans" when the employer is:
  • undertaking affirmative action because of a federal, state, or local law (including a veterans' preference law) that requires affirmative action for individuals with disabilities; or,
  • voluntarily using the information to benefit individuals with disabilities, including veterans with disabilities.
An employer also may ask organizations that help find employment for veterans with disabilities whether they have suitable applicants for particular jobs and may access websites on which veterans with disabilities post resumes or otherwise express interest in employment.
What steps should an employer take if it asks an applicant to self-identify as a "disabled veteran" for affirmative action purposes?
If an employer invites applicants to voluntarily self-identify, the employer must indicate clearly and conspicuously on any written questionnaire used for this purpose, or state clearly (if no written questionnaire is used), that:
  • the information requested is intended for use solely in connection with its affirmative action obligations or its voluntary affirmative action efforts; and
  • the specific information is being requested on a voluntary basis, it will be kept confidential in accordance with the ADA, refusal to provide it will not subject the applicant to any adverse treatment, and it will be used only in accordance with the ADA.
Information collected for affirmative action purposes must be kept separate from the application to ensure that confidentiality is maintained.
To read more about Veterans and American with Disabilities Act (ADA) click on the following link:

AAP Methodology & Training Webinar Series

May 3, 2012 (Part I - Methodology)
May 10, 2012 (Part II - Methodology)
May 17, 2012 (Part III - AutoAAP Software Training)
10:00 a.m. Pacific Time | 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time (each session is 2 hours in duration)
Description: The class is designed for the beginner or for the trained professional who needs a refresher covering the basic requirements for being compliant with Executive Order 11246, as amended; Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; and the Vietnam Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, 38 U.S.C. 4212.
The training presentation will be held in three sessions. Part I and II will focus on AAP methodology and Part III will focus solely on utilizing AutoAAP software to create Affirmative Action Plans
HRCI credits are available for Parts I and II. Registrants must attend each session in full to earn certification credits.
BCGi Platinum members may attend these sessions for free but need to register in order to gain access to the online class. (Join BCGi!)
Online Registration:
EXTRA SAVINGS: Become a BCGi Platinum Member and the AAP Methodology and Software Training webinar series is FREE, along with all of the Platinum Members-Only webinars that BCGi offers throughout the year.
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