GAO Report Recommends Improvements in Federal Agencies? Oversight of Tech Industry

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) has issued
a report recommending improved oversight of the tech industry by EEOC and OFCCP
because of the lack of women and African American workers in the industry. The
GAO was asked to review the workforce trends in the technology sector and
oversight by the federal enforcement agencies.

The GAO reviewed trends in the gender, racial and
ethnic composition of the technology sector workforce and the oversight by EEOC
and OFCCP of tech companies’ compliance with equal employment and affirmative
action requirements. After analyzing the workforce data from the American
Community Survey for 2005-2015; EEOC EEO-1 Reports for 2007-2015; and OFCCP data
on compliance reviews for FY2011 to 2016; and interviewing agency
officials, researchers and workforce, industry and company representatives, the
GAO found that while the percentage of minority technology workers increased
between 2005-2015, there was no growth for women or African Americans.   Hispanic and Asian workers, however, made significant gains.  Women, African Americans and Hispanics make
up a smaller percentage in the technology workforce-math, computing and
engineering-as compared to their representation in the general workforce while
Asians have a higher percentage in the technology workforce than in the general
workforce.

The GAO also found that although EEOC and OFCCP have
taken steps to enforce equal employment and affirmative action requirements,
both face limitations. The EEOC is limited by its complaint based focus and the
lack of industry based data. The OFCCP’s regulations and its
establishment-based limit its ability to hold contractors responsible for
compliance.

In response to these concerns, the GAO made 6
recommendations:

  • The
    Chair of the EEOC should develop a timeline to complete planned efforts to
    clean IMS data for one-year period and add missing industry code data.
  • OFCCP
    should analyze its internal process data from closed evaluations to understand
    the causes of delays during compliance evaluations and change the process
    accordingly.
  • The
    OFCCP should require contractors to disaggregate demographic data for the
    purpose of setting placement goals in AAPs rather than setting single goals for
    all minorities.
  • OFCCP
    should assess the quality of the methods used by OFCCP to incorporate
    consideration of disparities by industry into its process for selecting
    contractor establishments for compliance evaluation.
  • OFCCP
    should evaluate its current approach used for identifying entities for
    compliance review and determine what modifications are needed to reflect current
    workplace structures and location or to ensure subcontractors are included.
  • The
    OFCCP should evaluate the Functional Affirmative Action Program to assess its
    usefulness as an effective alternative to an establishment-based program and
    determine what improvement could be made to better encourage contractor
    participation.

Fortney
Scott is reviewing this report in detail and determining what impact these
recommendations will make on the tech industry, EEOC and OFCCP. Please contact
your Fortney Scott attorney for more information.