Tuesday, June 14, 2016

DOL Updates Sex Discrimination Regulations for Federal Contractors

Dana Halvorson

According to a June 14, 2016, news release from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), for the first time in 40 years, the agency is updating sex discrimination regulations and its “interpretation of Executive Order 11246 to reflect the current state of the law and the reality of a modern and diverse workforce.”

 The release goes on to include that, “The final rule updates OFCCP’s [the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program’s] sex discrimination regulations to make them consistent with current law. It makes explicit the protections against:
  • compensation discrimination; 
  • sexually hostile work environments;
  • discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions; and       
  • discrimination based on unlawful sex stereotypes, gender identity, and transgender status. 
The regulations also promote fair pay practices. The rule implements Executive Order 11246, which prohibits companies with federal contracts and subcontracts from discriminating in employment on the basis of sex.” The text of the Final Rule, which becomes effective on August 15, 2016, and a fact sheet on it can be found here.
 
As you know from previous correspondence, Medicare (Parts A and B) or Medicaid providers are not considered to be federal contractors. However, if a provider currently has VA patients and a VA contract, they are considered to be a federal contractor. AHCA has been advocating for VA Provider Agreements, which would help to ensure that our skilled nursing care centers are able to care for veterans in their communities.
 
Our centers already meet very strict compliance guidelines under the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Adding additional regulations on top of this is simply inefficient, redundant and takes staff time away from these veterans at the bedside. AHCA continues to work with our Congressional champions on getting VA provider agreements across the finish line, and taking those with VA contracts out of the scope of being deemed a federal contractor.

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