Last week, I wrote about a report in Bloomberg BNA that the Trump Administration was thinking about letting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission “absorb” the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. The idea had some appeal for me because both agencies enforce variants on federal prohibitions against discrimination. But I admitted that I hadn’t thought it through, and invited discussion from others. So far, silence. :-(
But in Politico‘s “Morning Shift” from yesterday, there was some more on the pros and cons of such an idea. I’m reproducing it here for your consideration. (By the way, FUBAR is an acronym for “f***ed up beyond all reason/repair/recognition.”)
IS OFCCP TO EEOC FUBAR?: Next week’s Trump budget document may include a proposal to move the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That proposal, if included, won’t sit well with civil rights groups nor with – and here’s a surprise – the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has “very serious concerns” about such a move, Randy Johnson, senior vice president for labor, immigration and employee benefits, told Morning Shift. “OFCCP and EEOC have different primary missions,” Johnson explained. OFCCP’s job is “to advocate affirmative action and diversity,” while the EEOC is focused on non-discrimination.
Like the EEOC, OFCCP pursues discrimination claims, but that’s “a secondary purpose,” Johnson said. Johnson also said OFCCP and the EEOC have “very different procedures and remedies” and that “there is a fear in the business community that this newly formed grouping might result in the worst of all worlds from both agencies.”
Emily Martin, general counsel at the non-profit National Women’s Law Center, also opposes the idea. “EEOC is primarily complaint-driven,” she said, and “OFCCP works with federal contractors on the front end to ensure that they meet higher standards for workplace fairness and opportunity.” Jillian Rogers, a spokesperson for the Labor Department, neither confirmed nor denied whether the merger will be in DOL’s budget.
I still think these two agencies’ missions are similar enough that combining them makes some sense. But I have an open mind. And it’s not too late to give us your two cents!