Law Office of Dale M Rodriguez
EEO/AA & AAP Legal Services

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"Employ Law On Call"
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Compliance Services

 

    EEO/AA oversight of federal contractors has undergone a sea change with the new Administration and Congress. These changes have brought to the forefront significant legal issues that, previously, lurked in the background and rarely concerned federal contractors. Entrusting your compliance with, and retention of, valuable government contracts in the hands of non-lawyers is, in this new climate, a strategy that carries more risk than ever before. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, it is a strategy that can be "a penny wise and pound foolish." Legal counsel, trained in the law and knowledgeable about the actual and potential legal issues attendant with government contract compliance issues and audits, provide the legal knowledge, abiilty and representation skills to guide you through this changing and challenging reality.

    Why is it your advantage to use legal counsel to handle all of your EEO/AA and AAP matters? The risk of financial harm to federal contractors has increased significantly over the past year; avoiding or minimizing that harm involves important and complicated legal issues and concepts that  attorneys are trained to deal with. Because the recent economic downturn and credit crunch has affected virtually every business sector in the country, the federal government, under the ARRA stimulus package, is now the single largest source of business capital in our economy. In this economic climate, avoiding government contracts in order to keep government workplace regulations out of your business may not be realistic.

    Government workplace regulations for federal contractors may impact your company's economic bottom line in three critical ways: (1) non-compliance resulting in the denial, suspension or loss of your government contract along with possible disbarment; (2) your company being compelled (under the threat of losing your contract or court order) to pay significant money to alleged victims of unlawful employment discrimination; and (3) the allocation of significant manpower and company resources to implement and remain in compliance with EEO/AA regulations.

    Minimizing this economic exposure nearly always implicates legal issues and concepts. For example, if your company has multiple operating entities or locations and only one of those entities/locations is involved in a federal contract, a critically important decision needs to be made at the outset as to how to handle the other entities/locations in the AAP. This decision has potentially serious economic and legal implications down the road if and when the OFCCP commences an audit. Another example is providing too much information that allows the OFCCP to build a case that might not otherwise exist (or, even worse, to refer matters to sister agencies, like the EEOC and Homeland Security, resulting in another expensive round of government entanglement). Another example is anticipating negative audit outcomes from overzealous or misguided OFCCP officials and implementing a strategy at the outset to minimize the serious damage this can cause. Another example is negotiating resolutions of audit issues and discrimination findings with OFCCP and DOL officials to bring closure on terms that are financially and legally palatable. 

    Beyond the foregoing, AAPs contain serious legal trap-doors that non-lawyers are ill equipped to anticipate or avoid. For example, in recent opinions, the US Supreme Court and over half of the US Courts of Appeals have issued rulings stating that race or gender based employment actions taken under the umbrella of seemingly valid AAPs can constitute direct evidence of unlawful discrimination in violation of Title VII - talk about a "catch-22." In other cases, federal courts have held that companies with AAPs who fail to adequately investigate or address possible unlawful discrimination instances in their workplace may violate anti-discrimination laws simply by reason of their failure to act ("adoption of an AAP is a two way street on which the employer may reap certain benefits but on which a protected employee may use the AAP as a sword to attack an employer's alleged discrimination...Voluntary adoption of an AAP is...a commitment to identify and eliminate discrimination in the workplace." Mormon v John Hancock Mut. Life Ins. Co., 672 F.Supp. 993 (E.D. Mich. 1987)). While proper form and implementation of an AAP is important, failure to administer and apply the AAP in a way that anticpates, avoids and minimizies legal liability can undo the entire effort and come with an expensive price tag. 

    The bottom line question you have to ask yourself is this: can your company afford to risk putting its entire AAP effort, and lucrative federal contract, in the hands of a non-lawyer? Attorneys have the legal training, experience and licensure to protect your federal contracts, shield your workforce, and defend your business from unwelcomed government intrusion on a level that non-attorney EEO/AA or HR "consultants" cannot match.

    The goal of our Firm is to provide you legal counseling, guidence, advice, preparation and representation that is grounded in solid legal training and experience. In order to help meet, and overcome, the challenges presented by the reinvigorated and aggressive government oversight of federal government contractor workplace policies and practices, we offer the following services, with reasonable fee structures (including flat fees in many instances) tailored to your specific situation:  

- analysis & implementation of best workplace policies & practices 

- compliance with government workplace reporting requirements, such as EEO-1
   and VETS-100 forms

- analysis of government agency jurisidictional issues and, where justified,
  contesting federal agency attempts to impose jurisdiction over your workforce

- internal audits and investigations to uncover and resolve workplace legal issues

- preparation of EEO policies & AAPs to attain compliance with both OFCCP and
  EEOC mandates

- full representation and guidence for all OFCCP audits and/or EEOC
  investigations, including negotiating and settling outstanding issues to allow a
  closure that minimizes financial exposure without jeopardizing your federal
  contract

- complete litigation defense of AAPs and EEO/AA workplace policies, practices
  and actions arising out of government audits and investigations

- consultation, guidance and assistance with various other government workplace
  regulatory requirements, such as I-9's, E-VERIFY and federal labor law matters

    We consult with and utilize the services of a network of professionals, often at no extra charge to you, to assist with non-legal aspects of government compliance. For example, we utilize a highly experienced human capital software professional to analyze your human resources software and assess compliance with government data capture and retention requirements, as well as the transfer of that data into a goverment accepted electronic format. In short, we offer a comprehensive, one shop solution for federal contractors subject to government workplace regulations.

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