From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
Ondray T. Harris, former deputy chief of employment litigation at the Justice Department during the George W. Bush administration, is now leading a Labor Department office that audits federal contractors for workplace nondiscrimination and affirmative action compliance.
Harris began serving as director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs effective Dec. 10, a DOL spokesman told Bloomberg Law. The position doesn’t require Senate confirmation, though some have argued that it should. Harris joined the Labor Department in late spring, serving as a senior adviser at the Employment and Training Administration.
As the DOJ’s deputy chief of employment litigation between June 2005 and May 2007, Harris litigated cases on behalf of the federal government and military personnel. He also directed and reviewed investigations for cases under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
Harris was later confirmed by the Senate to serve for three years as director of the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service. There, he oversaw 10 regions providing conciliation and conflict resolution services to communities where tensions arose from differences in race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and disability. In this role, Harris has reportedly said it’s “headquarters’ job to rein in the career employees out in the field” who acted “as advocates instead of mediators.”
He then became executive director of the Public Employee Relations Board in Washington. The five-member board is a quasi-judicial, independent agency that resolves labor disputes between District of Columbia agencies and unions. Harris resigned from that position in May 2013.
In his resignation letter, Harris said he was stepping down because he opposed what he considered to be discriminatory comments by certain board members regarding his hiring of employees who are white, conservative, or pregnant. The D.C. government, however, contended that Harris resigned because he violated a city requirement that officials maintain residency in the district.
Since then, Harris was a legal adviser and consultant until he joined the Labor Department this year. Prior to entering public service, Harris was a partner at LeClairRyan, where he practiced management-side labor and employment law.
He earned a law degree from Washington and Lee University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in history from Hampden-Sydney College.
Harris takes the helm of a DOL office that has been shrinking its workforce over the past six years and is facing a potential budget cut. The Senate has already directed the OFCCP to submit a plan to “consolidate and right-size the agency.” The office has six regional offices and about 49 district and area offices.
The OFCCP enforces Executive Order 11,246, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The agency also provides similar protections to disabled individuals and covered military veterans under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 4212 of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act.
During the Obama administration, the agency received criticism from some employer representatives and Republican lawmakers for what they viewed as burdensome rulemaking and lengthy, deep-dive audits of contractor employment data, especially with respect to pay practices. The office annually audits about 1 percent to 2 percent of about 200,000 federal contractor locations, though that number has been declining.
Worker advocacy and civil rights groups have applauded the agency’s efforts to combat systemic discrimination. The agency collected a record amount in back pay and interest from discrimination settlements with contractors in fiscal 2017.
The OFCCP this year weathered a possible merger with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That controversial proposal died in Congress this past fall, but could conceivably arise again in the future.
— Ben Penn contributed to this story.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga in Washington at email@example.com
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)