OFCCP Launches Hotline to Receive Reports Regarding Contractors’ Prohibited Race and Sex Stereotyping

The U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced its new hotline and email address to provide a forum to report noncompliance with Executive Order 11246 as well as President Trump’s recent executive order, which curtails certain employee diversity and inclusion training.

As recently reported, on September 22, 2020, President Trump issued an unprecedented “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” (Executive Order 13950) in an effort to “to combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating” through a variety of measures. Executive Order 13950 significantly limits the diversity trainings federal contractors may offer and requires contractors to add contract provisions prohibiting “race and sex stereotyping” in their subcontracts and purchase orders, among other requirements. Executive Order 13950 also directed the OFCCP to create a hotline where employees could report suspected violations of Executive Order 13950’s requirements, in addition to violations of long-standing Executive Order 11246, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and national origin, and prohibits inquiring about, discussing or disclosing one’s compensation or the compensation of others.

Employees may file complaints when a federal contractor “is utilizing training programs in violation of the contractor’s obligations under those orders.” The OFCCP is charged with investigating such complaints. On September 29, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that the OFCCP has established a hotline and email address to receive and investigate the complaints. The OFCCP’s new Complaint Hotline to Combat Race and Sex Stereotyping can be reached at (202) 343-2008 or by email at OFCCPComplaintHotline@dol.gov. Employees also may file complaints regarding training programs via the OFCCP’s preexisting “How to File a Complaint” webpage.

Executive Order 13950 became effective immediately, but the requirements apply only to federal contractors who enter into federal contracts on or after November 21, 2020. However, the announcement also cautions that “training programs prohibited by the new Executive Order also may violate a contractor’s obligations under the existing Executive Order 11246.” Importantly, if a contractor fails to comply with Executive Order 13950, its contract may be canceled, terminated or suspended in whole or in part, and the contractor may be declared ineligible for further government contracts. Although this controversial Order will likely be challenged on both procedural and constitutional grounds, affected employers should adhere to its requirements and watch closely for further developments.