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Deputy Director Dowd will serve as Acting OFCCP Director following Shiu’s November 6 departure

By Cynthia L. Hackerott, J.D.

OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu will be leaving the agency, effective November 6, 2016, a DOL spokesperson confirmed to Employment Law Daily on October 25. Thomas M. Dowd, the agency’s career Deputy Director, will serve as Acting Director, effective November 7.

Shiu began serving as OFCCP Director on September 28, 2009, the first and only person appointed to that post in the Obama Administration. During her tenure with the OFCCP, Shiu also served on the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force and represented the Secretary of Labor on the federal Interagency Working Group of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Prior to serving as OFCCP Director, Shiu, an attorney, was Vice President for programs at the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center in San Francisco, California.

“Pat Shiu, a passionate and tireless advocate for equal employment opportunity for America’s workers and their families, has announced that she will leave the Department on November 6,” a statement from the DOL spokesperson reports. “Under her leadership, OFCCP has issued five final regulations, strengthened the Mega Construction Program, worked with the EEOC on a pay data tool, developed new leadership and mentorship training, expanded enforcement throughout the country, and created the Indian and Native American Employment Rights Program.”

The DOL spokesperson also provided an email message from Director Shiu to OFCCP staff, in which she stated the following:

“I am proud and pleased to announce that Secretary Perez has selected Tom Dowd to serve as Acting Director upon my departure, effective November 7, 2016. As you know, Tom has played a critical role in leading this agency since he first joined OFCCP in 2011. A seasoned and long-time leader within DOL, Tom possesses all the qualities of a great Acting Director: he is smart, practical, strategic and kind. Please join me in welcoming Tom in his new role, and thanking him for his continued service to American workers and their families.”

At the time of Shiu’s appointment, the official title for the OFCCP Director was “Deputy Assistant Secretary for Federal Contract Compliance” within the Department of Labor’s Employment Standards Administration (ESA). However, effective November 8, 2009, the Department of Labor abolished the ESA umbrella organization, but maintained the four component agencies—the OFCCP, the Wage and Hour Division, the Office of Labor Management Standards, and the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. Following that reorganization, these four sub-agencies began reporting directly to the Secretary of Labor as stand-alone agencies. Since that time, the DOL had referred to the position of OFCCP head as “Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs at the U.S. Department of Labor.”