Financial Reform Bill Establishes Diversity Requirements for Financial Regulators

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was signed into law today, mandates by year-end that federal agencies working with financial firms establish an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI). Government agencies affected include the Treasury Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. These agencies will be required to hire a director responsible for developing and implementing the standards outlined in the act, 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.”

How could this affect your business? Contractors and corporations doing business with these government agencies will be required to prove they (and their subcontractors) have fairly included women and minorities in their workforces. Metrics will be developed to assess whether such contractors and subcontractors complied with the act, or if they have failed to make a good faith effort to do so. Companies found to be in violation of the standards in the Dodd-Frank Act could find themselves with contract terminations based on these infractions.

The list below outlines the government agencies obligated to follow the guidance set out in the act:
• Departmental Offices of the Department of the Treasury;
• Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation;
• Federal Housing Finance Agency;
• Federal reserve banks;
• Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System;
• National Credit Union Administration;
• Office of the Comptroller of the Currency;
• Securities and Exchange Commission; and
• Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

If you are a consulting firm or a business partner with any of the above agencies, you should consult as soon as possible with a knowledgeable employment lawyer. An employment lawyer can help you determine how the new rulings will apply to your business and assist your company in protecting itself from being in violation of any of the Dodd-Frank standards.