The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced on Friday, August 9, 2019, the appointment of Marcus Stergio to fill the ombudsman role in the agency’s national office. Stergio has varied experienced in dispute resolution and holds both a master’s degree in conflict resolution from the University of Massachusetts Boston and participated in Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation. Stergio’s role with the agency is to facilitate the resolution of disputes raised by contractors and other stakeholders, in conjunction with regional and district OFCCP offices.
True to its pledge to provide more compliance resources and increase agency transparency for federal contractors and subcontractors, OFCCP also announced its new Contractor Assistance Portal on Friday, August 9. Upon logging in to “Federal Contractor Online” with individual credentials, users are directed to a menu that offers frequently asked questions (FAQs); OFCCP news and events (in a calendar format); compliance assistance issues, such as components of Executive Order 11246 and EEO-1 reports; sample affirmative action programs (AAPs); required posters; and various methods of contacting OFCCP with questions.
While all of this information is already provided on OFCCP’s website, the “Ask OFCCP a Question” menu is new. Users can submit questions to OFCCP anonymously, publicly, or privately—and receive “verified answers”—on a variety of topics, including AAPs, supply and service and construction contracting, disability and protected veterans’ compliance issues, and “other” questions. OFCCP will post contractors’ questions and the agency’s answers to the site. OFCCP plans to continuously update this “online help desk” with new features and compliance assistance resources.
We anticipate that contractors and other stakeholders will find both the ombudsman and the Contractor Assistance Portal very useful in assessing and implementing affirmative action compliance obligations.