June 02, 2017
President Trump's budget proposes merging the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to create "one agency to combat employment discrimination," but thus far it has not been well-received by either civil rights groups or employers. According to OFCCP's budget proposal: "After full integration of the two agencies, there should be seamless sharing of enforcement data and expertise, operational efficiencies, expanded compliance assistance to employers, improved customer service, and fully aligned policy." The merger would impact every aspect of the OFCCP's operations including compliance evaluations, compliance assistance, and policy. Although President Trump could transfer authority granted to the OFCCP in Executive Order 11246 to the EEOC with a stroke of a pen, Congressional approval is likely required to transfer authority for Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act. Opponents of the merger are concerned about the fact that each agency has a separate mission, one being affirmative action, the other being nondiscrimination. Moreover, employers are concerned that the merger of both functions into an independent agency could exacerbate the excesses each agency has displayed by creating a powerful super-agency. These were the concerns we heard when we raised the issue with several of our member companies. Separately, the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, chaired by Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), held a hearing to discuss the need for more responsible regulatory and enforcement policies at the EEOC. Chairman Byrne expressed concern over the EEOC’s flawed enforcement efforts noting: "At the end of 2016, the EEOC had more than 73,000 unresolved cases. Thousands of individuals were still waiting for answers on the discrimination charges they filed. This is completely unacceptable."