Hospitals Continue To Be Within The OFCCP’s Crosshairs

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On Feb 12, 2015, U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) underscored its intent to carry on to scrutinize hospitals, including nonprofit hospitals. The OFCCP discovered that Lahey Clinic Hospital in Burlington, Massachusetts had discriminated against 38 female housekeepers by having to pay them $.70 each hour under male housekeepers. Consequently, even though denying liability, Lahey agreed to initiate funds agreement using the OFCCP which will spend the money for affected women as many as $190,000 in lost pay, interest and salary adjustments.

The settlement adopted an OFCCP analysis that discovered that from 2010-2012, the Lahey Clinic had unsuccessful to pay for female housekeepers, who have been predominantly Haitian, Créole-speaking African Americans,in the same rate his or her male counterparts. OFCCP wisely didn’t include “Haitian, Creole-speaking African Americans” within the official description, getting been lately chastised with a federal court for alleging discrimination against “non-Asians,” a category a legal court found isn’t a protected category.

OFCCP Director Pat Shiu, part of President Obama’s National Equal Pay Task Pressure, had this to say of the settlement: “While 70 cents may not appear like much, during the period of annually it results in a $1,500 disparity….Workers don’t frequently understand how their pay compares with this of the colleagues, and discrimination such as this is frequently hidden. That is why OFCCP’s capability to audit and review contractors’ pay practices is crucial to closing the pay gap for good.”

The factors utilized by OFCCP within the Lahey Clinic matter have subsequently been modified and also the OFCCP has enforced much more stringent compensation evaluation methods. On Feb 28, 2015, the OFCCP issued Directive 307, which enables a situation-by-situation analysis to examine compensation, but doesn’t provide any number triggers or thresholds to supply guidance for employers. Considerably, the necessity that compared employees should be “similarly situated” remains so employers are very well-advised to consider seriously their federal contractor obligation to carry on compensation self-audits and also to make equitable adjustments if disparities are identified that can’ be described by consistently applied legitimate business factors.

The OFCCP has worked difficult to extend its jurisdiction over hospitals. Presently, hospitals whose only alleged federal contract connection is the acceptance of TRICARE or similar healthcare insurance for federal employees, are intending to enter the 2nd year of the five-year moratorium enforced through the Secretary at work. Secretary Perez notified the healthcare suppliers that the OFCCP would graciously forego its audits of those entities for 5 years. Oddly, this year’s National Defense Authorization Act had specifically precluded OFCCP coverage about this basis. OFCCP seems reluctant to relinquish its position and vows to carry on to pursue this industry.

 

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