New Report Casts Further Doubt on Labor Department Proposed Regulations
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Last year the Labor Department proposed a sweeping overhaul of its regulations governing the nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements that apply to federal contractors and subcontractors with respect to protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. It is important to emphasize that the laws imposing these obligations are not controversial, indeed, the U.S. Chamber fully supports the goal of increasing the employment rate of our nation’s veterans and individuals with disabilities. However, as detailed in extensive comments by the Chamber along with other groups, the two proposed regulations have generated significant controversy in part because of the dramatic new paperwork and recordkeeping burdens imposed (well over $2 billion per year), without sufficient evidence that the proposed regulations will actually increase employment.
Now comes a new report by the Center for Corporate Equality (CCE) that further challenges the Labor Department’s basis for overhauling the regulations. CCE examined some nine years of Labor Department enforcement data regarding 285,390 federal contractor establishments to see whether the data justifies the need for an overhaul of the regulations. Did they find evidence of rampant discrimination? No, to the contrary, they found precisely the opposite. In fact, in examining all non-discrimination complaints made to the Labor Department, CCE learned that DOL found an average of fewer than 7 discrimination violations based on veteran or disability status per year—and most of those were for technical violations like recordkeeping. This means that for each contractor establishment, only two one-hundredths of a percent are likely to have a violation.
CCE also exampled the 22,104 compliance evaluations conducted by the Labor Department over a five year period. In all of these audits, the DOL only alleged disability or veteran status discrimination in a total of 3 cases.
Clearly discrimination based on veteran or disability status is deplorable and the Labor Department should be aggressively pursuing those cases where it exists. But as this report shows, the data simply does not support imposing billions of dollars of new paperwork burdens on contractors.
Today, the Chamber and other groups wrote to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs asking for the findings to be considered as part of the regulatory process.