The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has announced its intent to create a new Ombud Service within its national office to facilitate resolution of concerns raised from external stakeholders. The announcement, in the form of a directive, is yet another tangible sign by the agency that it wants to encourage voluntary compliance by federal contractors through increased transparency, communication, and cooperation between the regulated community and the agency.

Directive 2018-09, “OFCCP Ombud Service,” specifies the new service should:

  • Listen to external stakeholder concerns about OFCCP matters and suggestions for improvements;
  • Promote and facilitate resolution of OFCCP matters at the district and regional office levels;
  • Work with OFCCP district and regional offices as a liaison to resolve certain issues after stakeholders have exhausted district and regional office channels;
  • Refer stakeholders to the OFCCP Help Desk for routine compliance and technical assistance inquiries;
  • Accept and review matters referred directly by the national office; and
  • Have the discretion to reject a referral in appropriate circumstances.

The directive tasks the national office with designating or hiring a new Ombud, who will be responsible for designing, implementing, and executing the Ombud Service in accordance with the general policy outlined in Directive 2018-09. OFCCP has not provided a timeline as to when it expects the Ombud Service will be up and running.

Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.