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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Labor launches bias hotline ahead of interim rule

The Labor Department has launched its complaint hotline that is mandated in President Trump’s executive order banning certain bias and discrimination training by agencies and government contractors.

The launch of the hotline comes ahead of any interim rule or guidance. The link on the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs webpage opens an email. There is no form or other guidance on what the office wants reported.

The hotline email apparently has been open for a couple weeks.

The Professional Services Council has registered its objection to the hotline launching ahead of any rules or guidance. An interim rule enforcing the president’s Sept. 22 executive order isn’t due for another month.

“We’ve expressed that it is unwise and premature to open the hotline,” PSC President and CEO David Berteau told me.

The as-yet-published interim rule will include more details on the kind of contract clauses that agencies will need to include in procurements. Contractors will need to comply with those requirements. So it is unclear what people can file complaints about when they don’t know the requirements.

“How can you hold a company responsible for compliance with standards that haven’t been articulated or promulgated yet,” Berteau said.

I’ve reached out to the Labor Department for comment on the hotline. There is a lot that is unclear and it isn’t known yet whether any complaints have been filed yet.

As far as I can determine, there is no readily available guidance from Labor on the kind of information they want submitted or what they will do with it. I’ve also asked if there are plans to expand the hotline beyond an email such as a phone number or snail mail address.

The hotline email also doesn’t seem to be getting promoted by Labor outside the link on the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs website.

The Labor Department press office has acknowledged my request for more information and I’ll update this post if I hear anything back from them.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Oct 16, 2020 at 8:48 AM

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