We’ve all had customer service experiences that were less than stellar. Whether it’s banking with your credit card company, dining at a restaurant or dealing with an insurance provider, sometimes getting courteous and effective service can be a challenge.
But it shouldn’t be a challenge to access your own government.
At the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs our goal is to help workers and their families by providing accurate information, addressing concerns and responding to inquiries as quickly and efficiently as possible. Our philosophy is two-fold: there is no wrong door for a person seeking our help; and there is no closed door for individuals trying to access our services.
So, for example, if a worker calls with a concern about pay discrimination we strive to make sure the individual receives useful information that helps them figure out if they are being paid fairly and, if not, how we can work with them to correct the problem. We also want workers to get consistent and accurate answers whether they contact OFCCP by phone or email, visit our website, or reach out to one of our field offices. The same answers, the right answers – every time, everywhere and for everyone.
“No wrong door” also means that we will do our best to make prompt referrals if the question we get is better suited to one of our sister agencies at the Labor Department or elsewhere in the government. So, a call from a worker who has concerns about safety issues in their workplace would be shepherded to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
We also believe that having a disability or not being a native English speaker shouldn’t limit a worker’s ability to access the services we provide at the Labor Department. That’s why OFCCP provides language support to callers in more than 140 different languages through the DOL National Contact Center. And we provide public education materials in up to 18 different languages. We also strive to make sure that everything we publish – from our website to our brochures and even our business cards – is accessible for people with disabilities. All workers ought to have confidence that there is “no closed door” when it comes to asserting their rights.
In order to continually improve the ways in which we serve the American public, we make it a point to listen– a lot. We recently conducted a listening session at our headquarters in Washington, DC, where we gathered insights from a diverse group of employers, researchers, workers’ rights advocates and community leaders. We are planning similar discussions in Chicago and Philadelphia later this month. Through these listening sessions, we are soliciting feedback on the usefulness of our public education and outreach programs. And, of course, we are always looking for new ways to expand our use of technology to efficiently manage and distribute information to the people and organizations that count on us.
Call on any DOL agency and be confident that you will be speaking with someone who can answer your questions or get you to the people who can. And if you aren’t quite sure where to turn, you can always call our National Contact Center toll-free at 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365).
We look forward to hearing from you!
Patricia A. Shiu is the Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.