Section 342 (Office of Women and Minority Inclusion) of the Wall Street Reform Bill
There has been great speculation about what section 342 of the financial services reform bill means, and there is no shortage of experts willing to chime in on what they think about the matter. One in particular reflects our views here at WomensJobList.com. Wayne D. Landsverk of the Miller Nash Law Firm in Portland emphasizes the need to get compliant now.
"The director of each Office of Women and Minority Inclusion is required by Section 342 to develop and implement his or her own standards and procedures "to ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the fair inclusion and utilization of minorities, women, and minority-owned and women-owned businesses in all business and activities of the agency at all levels, including in procurement, insurance, and all types of contracts." (Emphasis added.) Contractors, in turn, will be required to provide a written statement that they-and their subcontractors-have fairly included women and minorities in their workforces. Each OMWI will also develop its own standards and procedures to determine "whether an agency contractor, and, as applicable, a subcontractor has failed to make a good faith effort to include minorities and women in its workforce." And if the OMWI decides there has been such a failure, the director will have the ability to recommend that the agency terminate the contract; make a referral to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs ("OFCCP"); or take other appropriate action.
The bottom line is that all contractors, subcontractors, and providers of any kind of service to the financial agencies listed above, regardless of size, will be subject to scrutiny of their "fair inclusion" practices by each of these agencies under its own particular rules and standards. For providers, contractors, and subcontractors covered by other affirmative action requirements, such as the OFCCP, the new oversight by the Office of Women and Minority Inclusion will be an additional and potentially troublesome layer of rules and regulations.
During the six-month period before the OMWIs become operational and develop their own rules, businesses should review their existing contracts and subcontracts to determine whether they fall within the "fair inclusion" requirements of Section 342 and, if they do, consider what outreach and other diversity strategies they may wish to explore in preparation for the coming scrutiny."
The point to emphasize is that no one knows what "fair inclusion" means. There will be 20 new offices of Women and Minority Inclusion and each office will develop it's own standards. As a result, demonstrating your emphasis on women and minority recruiting, to the greatest extent possible, will be essential to preserving your business with the government and staying compliant with the law.
WomensJobList is a vital tool for many businesses interested in promoting women inclusion. The Federal Reserve Bank and the FHFA have used WomensJobList to promote women inclusion and help staff their Office of Minority and Women Inclusion.
For additional information or to receive a WomensJobList media kit please contact:
Meghan Kirk is the Director of Public Relations at WomensJobList.com