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July 10, 2002
Agency Criticized for Not Mailing EO Surveys
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woman who headed the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs during the Clinton administration has slammed her successors in the Bush administration for failing so far to send out this year's equal opportunity surveys.

"The EO survey is necessary and should be sent out as soon as possible," former OFCCP head Shirley Wilcher told compliance publisher Business and Legal Reports in an interview appearing in the July issue of BLR's Affirmative Action Solutions.

The EO survey, which stirred controversy among federal contractors when it became part of the OFCCP's revised affirmative action regulations in November 2000, asks contractors to submit information on hires, promotions, terminations and compensation.

Regulations provide that the surveys be sent out each year to about 50,000 contractors, which is roughly one-half of all non-construction contractors. The OFCCP is the federal government agency that enforces federal affirmative action regulations.

Wilcher charged in the BLR interview that "if this administration does not comply with the intent of the revised regulations, many (federal) contractors will not have the 'incentive' needed to identify and eliminate continuing problems of employment discrimination, including unequal pay as well as the glass ceiling."

She did not speculate on the fate of the survey but observed: "Of course, the real issue is the fact that for the first time, companies have been required to submit data regarding their compensation practices by minority status and gender. This has always been a sensitive issue ... But the wage gap is a reality."

With only 700 staff assigned to cover approximately 100,000 federal contractor facilities, the Survey was considered the most efficient means of "encouraging" companies to pay attention to the race and gender-related implications of their compensation practices, Wilcher explained.

Wilcher is now executive director of Americans for a Fair Chance, a consortium of civil rights organizations that advocates affirmative action and civil rights.

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