Businesses that have contracts with the federal government can expect the Labor Department to specifically audit their efforts to provide religious and disability accommodations to workers, according to the agency’s top contractor watchdog official.
The agency will be considering “accommodations-focused reviews,” which will “look at both disabilities accommodations and religious accommodations,” Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Craig Leen said during a virtual event on Monday. The agency’s general audits analyze federal contractors’ hiring and pay practices for statistical indicators of race or sex discrimination, as well as their outreach and recruitment efforts.
The agency, under Leen’s direction, has initiated several categories of focused on-site reviews, including ensuring federal contractors are complying with equal employment opportunity obligations related to hiring workers with disabilities and veterans.
Leen has been an advocate for workers with disabilities during his time as the agency’s leader, often speaking of his two children, both of whom have forms of autism. He said this focused review program is “close” to his heart.
“We encourage people to seek accommodations, and they’ll generally be granted,” he said. The program will “carefully look at these areas” to ensure contractors are following the law.
The agency also will be “publishing guidance” focused on religious and disability accommodations, he said.
Leen acknowledged that this could be his last public speech as the agency’s director—his nomination for the role of Inspector General at the Office of Personnel Management is set up for a full Senate consideration. He’s headed the OFCCP since 2018.