DOL Agenda Lists Imminent Actions on Persuader, OFCCP Affirmative Action Rules

The Department of Labor (DOL) on Dec. 21, 2012, released an updated agenda outlining the regulatory activities of its sub-agencies for the next year. The agenda includes items on reporting requirements for labor consultants, employers and associations, and affirmative action in federal construction, among other issues. 

According to its agenda, DOL will proceed with a proposed rule that would greatly expand the circumstances in which third party advice, used by employees to inform employees about their rights to collective bargaining, would have to be reported by both the employer and the third party (which would include attorneys and association staff). The disclosure requirement, as written, includes money paid for such services. The so-called “persuader” rule is listed on the agenda with a finalization date of April; however, DOL is not required to adhere to the timeline. In addition, the agenda has listed a date of November for issuing a proposed rule that will expand the LM-21 Reporting Form for consultants or “persuaders.” 

DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) plans to strengthen the affirmative action requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors regarding individuals with disabilities by April. DOL states the rule is intended to update existing requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, but does so by mandating arbitrary quotas (referred to by the agency as “goals”) for hiring disabled workers by all contractors with a government contract or subcontract of $50,000 or more and 50 or more employees. In addition, the proposal requires construction contractors to conduct job group utilization analyses and file written reports for the first time, despite a long-held exemption due to the unique nature of construction work.

In a separate rulemaking with a proposed rule date of October, OFCCP also plans to make major additional changes to existing affirmative action obligations for federal contractors in the construction industry. 

DOL’s Employment Training Administration plans to release a proposed rule by June that would revise the equal opportunity regulatory framework for the National Apprenticeship Act, and revise the actions construction contractors are required to take to implement affirmative action programs in areas of recruitment, training and apprenticeship.  

In addition, a proposal from DOL’s Wage and Hour Division that would have required employers to provide written “classification analyses” on workers’ status as exempt/non-exempt, independent contractor/employee, continues to remain in the agency’s “Long Term Actions.”