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OFCCP & Government Contractors 2016: Effective Approaches to Compliance and Audits

Speaker(s): Chekisha A. Mitchell, Christopher B. Wilkinson, David B. Cohen, David S. Fortney, Diana S. Sen, Jeanne M. Mathews, Patricia A. Shiu, Robert O'Hara, Shafeeqa W. Giarratani
Recorded on: Feb. 3, 2016
PLI Program #: 150287

Jeanne graduated from Boston University School of Law and has held various positions with GE in the areas of labor, employment and benefits law for 20+ years.  She also did a cross-functional assignment as an HR generalist in GE Corporate Human Resources. 

In her current position as Executive Counsel-Labor & Employment Law, Jeanne provides advice and counsel to HR managers and lawyers across GE in all areas of employment law, with particular specialties in ADA, FMLA/other leave laws, OFCCP compliance, pay equity and discrimination/harassment.  She is also the L&E lawyer supporting GE Global Operations’ HR Client Managers in the U.S.

She is a member of the Advisory Board to the American Employment Law Council.  She served as Chair of the EEAC Board of Directors (now the Center for Workplace Compliance), a non-profit organization in Washington, DC focused primarily on educating its ~285 company members about complying with labor, employment and affirmative action laws.  She currently serves on the Executive Committee and as an officer on the Board of Directors for the McGivney Community Center in Bridgeport, CT.

She is admitted to the bar in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and as Authorized In-House Counsel in Connecticut. 

Chris Wilkinson maintains a broad litigation and advice practice in labor and employment, wage-and-hour, federal contractor compliance, equal pay, government relations, and administrative law. He represents multinational employers, advising and counseling on the full range of employment and compliance matters arising out of federal and state laws.

Chris’ current practice focuses on counseling employers and litigating pay equity matters arising out of federal and state claims. He helps clients navigate large-scale government investigations and litigation arising out of discrimination, retaliation, whistleblower, and other enforcement matters. He also investigates highly sensitive matters at the executive level, ensures legal compliance in diversity and inclusion efforts, and strategizes regarding labor and employment risks arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the former associate solicitor for civil rights and labor management for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Chris led the legal division responsible for the regulatory, policy, and enforcement matters for seven DOL agencies including the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Civil Rights Center, and Office of Labor Management Standards. In that senior executive role, Chris counseled the DOL on equal employment opportunity, enforcement, regulatory and policy initiatives and advised on a wide range of constitutional and statutory matters in federal courts including the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition to equal employment opportunity matters, Chris led union election and reporting enforcement work, counseled on transit labor certification matters, and advised on appellate matters related to labor union practices.

As a trial attorney and former counsel for Civil Rights Programs in the DOL’s San Francisco region, Chris litigated numerous complex class wage-and-hour, class discrimination, health and safety, and Sarbanes-Oxley and other whistleblower matters.

Chris serves as the president of the board of governors of the Washington Latin Public Charter School.

David B. Cohen is the founder and President of DCI Consulting Group, Inc. He provides consulting services to employers and management law firms on a wide range of human resource risk management strategies, particularly in the areas of EEO/affirmative action program development, systemic compensation statistical analyses, comprehensive human resources self-audits, and employee selection and test validation.

In addition, Mr. Cohen is the Senior Vice President for The Center for Corporate Equality and co-founder of The OFCCP Institute, a national nonprofit employer association that trains and educates federal contractors in understanding and complying with their affirmative action and equal employment obligations.

Recognized as a national EEO and affirmative action compliance expert, Mr. Cohen speaks frequently before corporate leaders from Fortune 500 companies, and at regional and national ILG conferences and OFCCP events. In 2006, he co-authored a book entitled “Understanding Statistics: A Guide for I/O Psychologists and Human Resource Professionals,” which was published by Wadsworth. Mr. Cohen is also the Associate Editor of the Applied HRM Research.

He also created DCI’s HR Equator™salary equity software, which enables companies to conduct systemic and other compensation analyses to comply with OFCCP and EEOC requirements.

Mr. Cohen has a M.S. degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Radford University and B.A. degree in Psychology from West Virginia University. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maryland Baltimore County at Shady Grove.

Diana Sen is the Regional Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) Northeast Region.  In this capacity she leads the agency's enforcement and outreach efforts in the Northeast, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  She is based in New York City. 

Diana is an experienced and highly skilled civil rights lawyer who has spent her career advocating for the most vulnerable populations in our country. She comes to OFCCP with significant experience in government, non-profit and private sector work.

Previously, Diana served as Senior Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF (formerly the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund) where she litigated major civil rights cases in the southeastern United States.  Prior to joining LatinoJustice, Diana worked as an attorney at the international law firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP in New York City for six years, specializing in general commercial and white collar litigation. The firm sponsored Diana for a two-year fellowship with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund where she helped establish the organization’s Atlanta office.  She is a Past National President of the Hispanic National Bar Association.  Diana is also serving her fourth year as Chair of the Civil Rights Committee of New York State Bar Association.

Diana received her J.D. from Emory Law School and her BA and MA in Political Science/International Relations from the University of Florida.

Mr. Fortney is a co-founder of Fortney & Scott, LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm counseling and advising clients on the full spectrum of work-place related matters, including employment discrimination and labor matters, compliance programs, government contracting, and developing strategies for avoiding or responding to workplace-related crises. Mr. Fortney’s broad-based practice includes equal employment opportunity requirements, wage and hour matters, federal contractor’s affirmative action and non-discrimination obligations, collective bargaining, and workplace health and safety. He brings experience from the public and private sectors, and he represents clients before federal and state agencies, including the U.S. Department of Labor’s agencies, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the National Labor Relations Board.

Previously, Mr. Fortney served as the chief legal officer and other positions at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. during the term of President George H.W.  Bush.

Mr. Fortney is on the Board of Directors of the American Employment Law Council, a co-founder of the Institute for Workplace Equality, and a Member of the ABA Council for the Labor & Employment Section.  Mr. Fortney has been recognized as one of the leading employment lawyers in Washington, D.C. by the CHAMBERS USA survey of America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in all years from 2005 through present.  He was selected for inclusion in the 2008 through present editions of The Best Lawyers in America, Washington D.C.’s, Washington D.C.’s Best Lawyers, and Super Lawyers.  Mr. Fortney received an AV rating (the highest level) by Martindale-Hubbell.

Patricia A. Shiu serves as the Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs at the U.S. Department of Labor. She leads a staff of 650 men and women around the country who are dedicated to protecting workers, promoting diversity and enforcing the law.

Established in 1965 by Executive Order 11246, OFCCP is responsible for enforcing this EO, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. As amended, these three laws prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran by federal contractors and subcontractors. On July 21, 2014, President Obama amended EO 11246 to prohibit discrimination for inquiring about, discussing or disclosing employee compensation.  Federal contractors and subcontractors are also required to implement affirmative action.

Director Shiu serves on the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force which has been charged by President Obama with enforcing violations of wage-based compensation discrimination and fulfilling, once and for all, the promise of fair pay. She also represents the Secretary of Labor on the federal Interagency Working Group of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Ms. Shiu served as Vice President for Programs at the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center in San Francisco. She represented workers in both individual and class action employment discrimination and harassment cases involving sex, race, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, immigration status, disability, and domestic violence.

As the Director of the Legal Aid Society’s Work and Family Project, Ms. Shiu advocated for the passage of California’s Family Rights Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and California’s Paid Leave Law. Ms. Shiu litigated wage and hour, work and family, and reproductive health hazard cases. She also litigated class action educational access cases for students under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act and disability laws.

Ms. Shiu began her legal career as an associate with Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro in San Francisco. She served as President of California Women Lawyers in 1987 and Vice President of the National Employment Lawyers Association. She is the recipient of many awards, including the Joe Morozumi Lifetime Achievement Award, the Abby J. Leibman Pursuit of Justice Award, and the Pacific Asian American Women Bay Area’s “Woman Warrior Award.” Most recently, the Williams Institute awarded Director Shiu its 2015 “Women in Leadership Award.”  Ms. Shiu is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and the University of San Francisco School of Law.

Robert O'Hara is the Director of Employment Law & Global HR Compliance at United Technologies Corporation (UTC) in Connecticut. 

Bob has functional responsibility for all employment-related cases at UTC and is responsible for Global Human Resource Compliance for 200,000 employees operating in 162 countries.

Bob leads the Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action processes at UTC and maintains close working relationships with the Legal and Global Compliance functions while playing a significant role in the broader enterprise-wide risk management and compliance function.

Bob joined UTC in 2001 in the UTC division of Pratt & Whitney as an Assistant Counsel and was promoted to Director of EEO & Employment at UTC Corporate in 2006.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Bob spent 13 years at the National Security Agency in a number of intelligence positions, including more than two years in the White House as the chief intelligence analyst on the National Security Council, as well as assignments in the Pentagon supporting the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the US Treasury Department. 

Upon earning his law degree, he joined Day, Berry & Howard (now Day Pitney) in Hartford, Connecticut as a Trial Attorney in their Commercial Litigation and Bankruptcy practice.

Bob has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and English from Walsh University, North Canton, Ohio, a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the Joint Military Intelligence College, and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center both in Washington, DC.

Bob is also currently the Chair of the Equal Employment Advisory Council, in Washington, DC, the premier organization representing the interests of more than 250 of the largest US Federal Contactors in the nation’s capital.

Shafeeqa Giarratani is a shareholder in the Austin office of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., and a member of the firm’s Board of Directors. She represents employers in federal and state court and before administrative agencies and regulatory agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Texas Workforce Commission, and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

She regularly handles litigation matters at both the trial and appellate level, in alternative dispute resolution and before governmental agencies. Shafeeqa has represented management in civil rights, wrongful discharge, Family and Medical Leave Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, employment tort, defamation, breach of contract, tortious interference and other employment-related charges and litigation.

She advises clients on appropriate handling of whistleblowers, regularly handles litigation in this area, and performs in-depth investigations of all types.  She also advises clients that are federal contractors on affirmative action, legislative and regulatory changes affecting employment matters for federal contractors and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP) compliance issues, from developing affirmative action plans to representing companies during the audit process.

Ms. Mitchell is Senior Counsel at The Boeing Company and a member of the Labor, Employment & Employee Benefits Group at Boeing’s Corporate Headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.   She provides legal advice and counsel to various business units, subsidiaries, and organizations, including, but not limited to, Compensation, Corporate Human Resources, Global Diversity & Inclusion, Office of Internal Governance, and Global Staffing.  Her practice includes Title VII, ADEA, ADAAA, FLSA, FMLA, Executive Order 11246, and various other federal and state employment laws.  In addition, she supports Human Resources for Boeing’s Canada and Latin America operations.  She also manages single-plaintiff employment and benefits litigation and conducts internal employment law training for management and HR professionals.

Prior to joining Boeing in 2005, Ms. Mitchell practiced employment law and general litigation with the law firms of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in Mclean, Virginia and Piper Rudnick in Chicago, Illinois.  Ms. Mitchell attended the University of Virginia and the University of Virginia School of Law, where she earned a B.A. in Foreign Affairs and her J.D.  She is licensed to practice in Illinois, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.