OFCCP and EEOC merger in Trump's budget proposal is likely 'dead on arrival'
- The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, recommended merging the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), reports Bloomberg BNA. The foundation made the recommendation to promote government efficiency, and the idea was included as part of President Trump's 2018 budget proposal.
- Federal contractors and some former Department of Labor officials find the merger unsettling, says BNA. They cite the differences between the EEOC and OFCCP as reasons for keeping the agencies separate. The EEOC enforces workplace anti-discrimination laws under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The OFCCP enforces anti-discrimination mandates for federal contractors. The merger's proponents cite the agencies' overlapping areas as justification for a consolidation.
- The likelihood of this decision sticking is currently low. Law360 notes that it may indeed be "dead on arrival," as both worker advocates and business groups are against it.
The EEOC is the DOL's anti-discrimination enforcement arm, while the OFCCP lays out the mandates for employers who contract with the federal government. If the Trump administration is actually able to consolidate and streamline these bodies, the real test of the decision will be in the way services are provided. Experts told SHRM that it's likely compliance would become more onerous for employers if the two bodies were housed under one roof.
But the recoiling on both sides of the aisle, on top of the slim budget allotted for the decision, makes it rather unlikely this proposal will go anywhere. For one thing, the missions of the OFCCP and the EEOC align but differ in key ways. The EEOC focuses specifically on workplace discrimination and individual complaints, while the OFCCP focuses more on affirmative action and doesn't function on individual notices. Combining them could dilute the purpose and goals of both, and would likely create confusion for employers.
At any rate, the proposal is a good barometer for the lengths the Trump administration is willing to go to deregulate and streamline. Healthcare is likely to be the place it may bring about the greatest change, but that is currently in limbo right now as well.
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