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Being Heard: Federal Inquiries

You just completed the next appropriate step in the accommodation process, and to your disappointment, your case is either dismissed or otherwise not taken seriously. Where can you go from there? Is that it? Not necessarily. You can appeal your case to an external agency, as we've mentioned previously throughout the blog. In the previous 2 entries we, we discussed the main channels of reporting a complaint to a federal complaint. Today, we will talk about how to initiate and complete an inquiry with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

First, you will need to find the online form on the OFCCP website. In case you can't find it, I'll provide a link here. To navigate through to it through the site, load up the main OFCCP page and click on "Contact Us" in the top right corner of the menu, and from there choose "Ask OFCCP a Question" (see screenshot below):

Fill out the public intake form by clicking on the link with the blue box around it.

Once there, the process is pretty straight forward. Just answer all of the questions on the Public Intake Form; however, we will go through step-by-step as an example.

  1. Are you an employer or an employee? Employee.

  2. Do you think your question/issue involves an employer that provides goods and services to the federal government or has a federally assisted construction contract? Yes.

  3. Does your question/issue involve discrimination, equal employment opportunity, affirmative action, or pay/compensation based on race, color, national origin, gender, religion, disability, or veteran status? Yes.

  4. Please select the state in which your employer resides. The selected state should match the state listed on your paycheck from your employer. (Choose the state your job is at)

  5. While we need to collect some personal information to assist you, please be advised that should your question result in any contact with the employer, your identity will remain anonymous. (Fill in your contact information.)

Fill out questions 1-5, and this should end up at OFCCP.

If done steps 1-5 correctly, you should receive a confirmation that you've submitted your inquiry to OFCCP for further consideration. Print this page to PDF. It has a confirmation number on there so that you can refer back to your case if you need to ask about its status or have any additional questions regarding it.

However, you're not done here. Next, you will want to go back to the Contact Us page, and select "How to File a Complaint". There will be another form on this page that you need to fill out:

This step is arguably more important. Make sure you do it.

Follow steps 1-3:

  1. Step 1: a. Fill out the form on the link. b. Save it by printing it to a PDF.

  2. Step 2: a. Find your Regional Office by clicking on the link. b. Click on the e-mail link specifically labeled "Complaints E-mail" for your Regional Office c. Send your saved .pdf as an attachment in this e-mail, and briefly explain in the e-mail your situation (1 paragraph should be fine).

  3. Step 3 (Optional): a. Call your Regional Office to request an update on your status periodically.

You should be done for now. Follow-up periodically if you would like; however, you should shortly receive a confirmation e-mail from the OFCCP confirming that they are in receipt of your complaint.

A general rule of thumb is to follow-up every month with an e-mail, if you don't hear anything. If you are getting regular e-mail updates less than a month apart from each other, then you shouldn't worry too much. And with that, you should be done. Now, all you have to do is wait and conduct "business as usual". Try your best not to let your company or institution in on what you've done, and hope that OFCCP will have a quick turnaround with you. Like everything else in the federal government, the OFCCP is part of a bureaucracy. That, and it is likely that they are working on other cases besides yours, so be patient, and find a way to keep your mind off of the investigation until you're needed.

You have now passed the Rubicon and then some. From here on out, you have to keep a straight poker face, and not let anyone at the school in on what you're doing, unless you absolutely trust them. Even if you're trying to reach out to other targets, try not to directly contact them, and just put together a list of other people you know are being discriminated against. If necessary, and you trust them enough, you can ask them for basic information, such as e-mail and a phone number. If they ask why you're doing this, the best policy from there is honesty.

The last thing you will want to do is prepare for the perfection interview, which we will go over next time. With a little scrounging around, you can find resources that will provide you with a list of perfection interview questions. Thank you very much for reading this post, and good luck!

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