Regulation

Social Engineering Run Amok in the Department of Labor

Government control is not the answer.

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A few years ago, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released two reports detailing enforcement and litigation abuses by the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, or OFCCP. Instead of holding firms accountable when they engage in real discrimination against their employees, the agency has become a government arm for securing high-dollar settlements on dubious grounds.

Congress has not moved to rein in this abuse, though that may change if one of the few companies that are finally standing up to the agency prevails against its abuser.

Created by a Lyndon Johnson-era Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces the federal government's affirmative action and anti-discrimination mandates on federal contractors. It typically does so through routine audits, which are often fishing expeditions. The behavior of its auditors has been widely criticized for decades. Complaints include allegations of arbitrary and abusive exercises of power, waste of resources, and intimidation. There's no good excuse for this type of bullying by a government agency.

Because the agency has the power to debar contractors—meaning the government will no longer do business with them—companies fear retribution if they defend themselves. One recent exception is Google, which decided that supplying 740,000 pages of documents at the cost of 2,300 man-hours and about $500,000 ought to be enough for the agency to review the firm's compensation practices. When OFCCP said it wasn't and Google needed to send over the names of its employees, OFCCP sued. Google won a victory in which a Labor Department administrative law judge—with every incentive to defer to the government—found that OFCCP's additional demands were "over-broad, intrusive on employee privacy, unduly burdensome, and insufficiently focused on obtaining the requested information."

This private-sector vindication, however, is an exception to the rule. OFCCP recently extracted its largest ever settlements from Goldman Sachs and Dell Technologies—$10 and $7 million, respectively—and, shortly before that, got $4.2 million from Bank of America. But those numbers pale in comparison to the $400 million OFCCP alleges that Oracle Corp. owes to female, Asian, and African American employees. The only thing more astonishing than the amount of money sought is the flimsiness of the government's case.

To prove its discrimination claim, OFCCP relies entirely on a statistical analysis that fails to reflect the labor market's great complexity. For instance, the government uses crude controls for employee education and experience, both of which have a large impact on compensation. For education, OFCCP considers only an employee's degree level but not whether the degree is actually relevant to the job performed. As for experience, it considers only the employee's age and time at Oracle, omitting both length at the current position—which is where the most useful experience is gained—and the relevance of prior work. OFCCP, in other words, thinks that any employees of the same age and with the same tenure with their current employer possess the same experience.

OFCCP's analysis also treats employees with the same job title as similarly situated, creating more grounds for discrimination claims. However, a software engineer working on databases does very different work than one who develops artificial intelligence. Yet if the worker in the higher-demand field, who can therefore demand higher pay, happens to be Caucasian or male, while the other is female or a minority, then the government concludes the pay disparity is due to discrimination by Oracle.

In short, the government fails to compare like employees to like, and it doesn't control for perfectly innocent variables that explain pay differences.

Thankfully, Oracle is fighting back. Unfortunately, the ideas driving the social-engineering agenda are spreading. In 2018, California instituted quotas for the number of women on corporate boards. And Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) proposes even more interference from the federal government, such as banning contractors from asking about salary or criminal history and requiring significant reporting on employee pay, broken down along demographic lines. For companies that contract with the federal government and employ about a quarter of the American workforce, such invasive requirements carry a hefty compliance cost for government contractors and taxpayers.

Quite a lot is riding on whether Oracle can fend off the government goliath. Given the size of the case, a government victory will almost certainly embolden the social engineers even further.

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  1. Too many bureaucrats with nothing to do, looking for something to do. Instead of waiting for trouble to come to them, they go looking for trouble and if they can’t find it they’ll make it. It works the same in every bureaucracy.

    I would say what we need is to drain the swamp, maybe elect a president who’ll appoint a Secretary of Labor specifically charged with cutting back the undergrowth in the DoL instead of a do-nothing status quo-er like Alex Acosta, and do the same with every department, roll back regulations and programs wholesale, just fucking go in there with a slash and burn team, but I won’t say it because I don’t want to sound like I’ve obviously been sniffing glue this early in the morning.

    1. Or maybe read the constitution, find no Department of Labor required of the federal government, and just leave it out of next year’s budget as something reserved to the states?

      1. Nancy Pelosi has been squawking that Trump claiming Article II gives him the power to do whatever he wants means that Trump thinks he’s above the law and this is just an intolerably horrifying thing to say, but if you look at the context of what he said Trump was saying that Article II gives him the power to do whatever he wants within the Executive branch. Which is true – the President isn’t just the head of the Executive branch, he *is* the Executive.

        When you hear these alarums over Trump threatening the independence of the Justice Department, the EPA, the DoL or whatever – you know you’re dealing with liars and/or ignorami. And yet courts have blocked Trump’s executive orders on repealing or restricting regulations promulgated by these agencies on the grounds that he didn’t follow proper procedures, procedures promulgated by these executive branch agencies themselves. Well, who’s the fucking boss here?

        And you’re going to hear this shit again with regards to the low-flow plumbing fixtures. These regulations were created in accordance with the law and proper procedure and if Trump wants to undo them, he’s going to have to follow the same laws and proper procedures. Bullshit. The EPA’s proper procedures on studies and findings and public notice and all that shit applies to the EPA issuing the rules, it doesn’t apply to Trump canceling those rules or ordering the EPA not to issue new rules.

      2. I doubt it will happen at this point, but I might just have an orgasm if a President were actually to outright eliminate an alphabet soup agency that Congress made part of the Cabinet.

  2. Not to mention, like, competency! I think everybody knows that a good chunk of those diverse employees in a lot of industries are literally just tokens hired so they can claim that at least some of their employees aren’t white or Asian males.

    The fact is that just off the majors chosen in a lot of industries it is impossible to fill all the seats the diversity lobby demands… But because they demand it they hire every chick or black guy that comes along, even though many of those people are such clear blow it cases if they were white or Asian men they’d just pass them up as they ought to do.

    Therefore you end up with incompetent tokens. They may hire them to look slightly better, but they’re not going to put them in positions of too much power unless they actually deserve it, and they’re not going to pay them the same as the Chinese guy who is 5x better at programming.

    The whole thing is retarded. Different people have different interests, which is why smart women go into fields that involve people (like medicine), and not engineering. Women prefer working with people according to every survey ever, whereas men are fine working on abstract stuff with less social interaction.

    People really need to accept the fact that people aren’t all the same, and that we’ll never have equal representation on all this crap. Ever. To even get remotely close requires Harrison Bergeron to be brought to life, and that’s just a fucking retarded idea.

    1. Heck, it’s illegal to not even try and search for them. Maybe this made sense to utopians who thought they could brute force racism out of existence, but I find it absurd how onerous regulation continues to increase the cost of business and decrease American prosperity for all of us yet we’re somehow the real racists for opposing it.

      1. Yup. This stuff has real costs in the real world.

        Imagine if major companies didn’t waste billions of dollars a year hiring incompetent people, and passing up better people for positions. They’d be saving money and getting more accomplished, AKA the world would have more progress.

        It gets real sketchy in stuff like, I dunno… Medicine. People are guaranteed to literally be getting killed by doctors that should have flunked out of medical school, but were admitted in the first place and kept in for reasons of diversity. Personally I wouldn’t trust any doctor who isn’t a white or Asian male at this point, because you just never know if the chick or minority male is actually competent and deserved their degree or not.

        This does a great disservice to the women and minority guys who actually ARE good enough too. It’s just retarded all around.

  3. LBJ and FDR. The gifts that keep on giving.

    1. LBJ and FDR. The gifts that keep on taking giving.

      FTFY

  4. Everybody knows that the scrub nurse in the operating room deserves as much pay as the neurosurgeon. Only blatant sex discrimination can account for the disparity in pay.

    1. Hey, the enlightened know that ANYBODY can be the surgeon if they want to, and claim equal rights. Otherwise, all kinds of discrimination.

      Same thing for who gets to fly the plane. Skills, experience, and certification are so last century racist.

      1. Boeing 737 max passengers hardest hit.

      2. Actually, I heard that black Jewish transgender lesbians in wheel chairs are actually BETTER surgeons than anybody else. It’s like science and stuff.

        You clearly need to get more woke comrade.

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  7. Hmmmmm one possible way to avoid accusations of “discrimination” on grounds of any of the various “distinctives” (age, race, sex, national origin, any of the various private proclivities ( religious affiliation, or lack thereof, sexual activity or preference, dietary preferences/restrictions, etc) is to simply not have spaces on the employment application to record such things.

    f we are TRULY a-racial, how can indicating one’s race help, or hinder? How can NOT indicating that “factor” be signficant? Age? That is a relatively meaningless number. I have known men in their eighties that can easily outperform others I’ve known in their forties, and do it all day long. I’ve known forty year olds who are far more clueless and inept than others who are sixteen. Again, of what REAL signficance is a prospective hire’s age? So why require it to be recorded as a a part of the person’s employment file?

    And same on down the list. Women can’t weld and rivet? Don’t tell that to any of them who built warships at Bremerton Naval Shipyard in the early 1940’s My own Mother was one of them. She is certain she knows who the “type” for the hypothetical “Rosie the Riveter” in the posters. She is convinced she worked with her.
    So, for most things, why even record sex? Yes, women can have babies and men can’t.. but then men DO often get leave upon the birth of their children. So what’s REALLY the difference?

    As long as we record and “crunch the numbers” for those distinctives, someone WILL discriminate, and others will accuse of discrimiation that nevr happened. And if anyone can make a royal hash out of the latter it would be our FedGov. One more alphabet soup FedGov agency that needs to be scrapped.

    Good lock to Oracle….about time someone takes a bullet for the rest of industry. And about time the Feds get taken down a peg or three…. far too big for their own knickers.

    1. Do you wanna know why?

      Because some groups are objectively BETTER than others at some stuff, which leads to differing outcomes.

      IIRC it was a territorial government in Australia, not national, but they passed a law that removed sex, race, I think even removed names (as they can be a tell), and maybe some other stuff from job applications. It may have only been for government positions, I don’t recall. Either way they noticed a dramatic drop in the number of female and minority hires, with white and Asian men taking all the gains. Basically the white and Asian men had better resumes, work experience, and just came off objectively better across the board with all that info removed.

      Of course hiring the best people for the job, if they happen to be white and Asian men, is literally THE WORLD THING EVAR… So they repealed the law or whatever and returned to being biased against whites and Asians based on their gender and race. Because being racist and sexist is HELLA woke if it’s against the right people!

  8. Progressivism and Socialism inevitably march toward totalitarian government control of everyone in everything.
    Every single “solution” offered by the Left for every single problem is “increase government authority”.

    The Left’s promise is that if we will just grant total authority to the government, the politicians and bureaucrats will never ever abuse that power, and the citizens’ lives will be freer and finer than ever before.

    That promise has never ever been kept, and never will be.

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