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OFCCP’s individual sexual orientation bias claim is dismissed by ALJ due to voluntary compliance. ALJ also rejects AccuWeather’s jurisdictional claims


AccuWeather agrees to OFCCP’s request for an on-site investigation

After clarifying the jurisdictional issues and determining that AccuWeather is indeed a government contractor under E.O. 11246 and implementing regulations, the company agreed to comply with OFCCP’s request for an on-site to investigate a sexual orientation complaint. Since AccuWeather agreed to comply with OFCCP’s request, a DOL ALJ dismissed the OFCCP administrative complaint. In a previous decision issued ten days before the dismissal, the ALJ rejected arguments by the defendant, AccuWeather, Inc. that it was not a federal contractor subject to the OFCCP’s jurisdiction.

As noted in our previous blog [dated March 7, 2017], OFCCP filed an administrative complaint against Accuweather alleging that an employee was subject to a hostile work environment and terminated due to her sexual orientation. She alleged that a Vice President of AccuWeather called her derogatory names on the basis of her sexual orientation, and that the VP and employees working under him, interfered with her work performance by cutting her out of communications and refusing to follow her instructions.

OFCCP filed an administrative complaint against AccuWeather for denying access based on the argument that the company was not a federal contractor. On the jurisdictional issue, AccuWeather asserted that it held government of less than $10,000; however, OFCCP claimed that the total of the contracts exceeded $50,000. On March 3, 2017, an ALJ issued an order finding that the OFCCP had proper jurisdiction in its case because AccuWeather was a federal contractor within the meaning of the regulations.

One of AccuWeather’s jurisdictional arguments was that one of the contracts was between the Navy and AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions (AWES), a related company. However, the ALJ found that the alleged distinctions between AccuWeather, Inc. and AWES were neither noted nor accepted by the contracting representative of the Department of the Navy who issued the Navy contract to "AccuWeather, Inc." Moreover, the option year one modification of the Navy contract was sent to AccuWeather, Inc. and signed by a representative "on behalf of AccuWeather, Inc."

On March 9, the OFCCP informed the court that the company had agreed to comply with the OFCCP’s requested on-site investigation, and as such, a hearing in the case would not be necessary. Accordingly, on March 13, the ALJ dismissed the complaint due to AccuWeather’s voluntary compliance, thereby cancelling the March 21, 2017 hearing date.

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