Hotline is Open to Report Contractors’ Defiance of New EO on Diversity Training

The Labor Department launched a hotline on Tuesday to report any non-compliance by federal contractors with the Trump administration’s recent ban on certain employee diversity and inclusion training. 

President Trump’s executive order last week, along with the supplemental guidance issued on Monday, cracked down on employee diversity and inclusion training for federal agencies, contractors, grant recipients and the military that is “rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country.” The order required Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to launch a hotline for complaints on contractors not following the order. It can now be reached at 202-343-2008 or [email protected]

The hotline can be used for the recent executive order as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity executive order, signed in 1965, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis on sex, race, skin color, religion, gender identity, national origin or sexual orientation. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs will investigate complaints and “take appropriate enforcement action and provide remedial relief, as appropriate,” said Trump’s directive last week. 

“OFCCP’s Division of Policy and Program Development will monitor the hotline. Complaints requiring an investigation will be sent to the appropriate Regional and District Offices for review and handling,” a Labor Department spokesperson told Government Executive. The hotline “accepts complaints 24/7” and complainants “will receive a response confirming receipt soon after.” The spokesperson did not say how many employees will staff it. 

Overall, the executive order requires that federal contractors not use employee training material that has any type of race or sex “stereotyping” or “scapegoating,” send each labor union or collective bargaining representative a notice (provided by their contracting officer) that outlines their commitment under the executive order and include provisions from the executive order in all subcontracts or purchase orders, unless given an exemption. If contractors don’t comply with the order, their contracts could be “canceled, terminated or suspended” in part or in whole and they could be precluded from future federal contracts.

“While the order is effective immediately, its specific requirements for federal contractors apply only to those with federal contracts entered into 60 days after the date of the order, or Nov. 21, 2020,” said the Labor Department on Tuesday. 

Some experts and former government officials were skeptical about the merits of this new directive. 

“This isn’t procurement policy, it’s base hate-mongering and political pandering,” Steve Schooner, procurement law professor at The George Washington University and former Office of Federal Procurement Policy official, previously told Government Executive. “Moreover, it does exactly the opposite of its purported policy goals: it’s inefficient, divisive, offensive and, frankly, beneath the dignity of the White House.” 

Similar to the contractor hotline, Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought announced on Sept. 16 that complaints on the “un-American trainings” at agencies could be sent to [email protected]

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