The Labor Department's plan to ease job-bias rules for federal contractors has passed through one checkpoint -- the Office of Management and Budget -- and now is stalled at the second -- the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The end-of-June release date has slipped to July 15.
The proposals satisfy virtually no one. Civil rights groups charge that the rules will gut affirmative action programs. But business leaders are dismayed that the Reagan administration has stopped so far short of the relief they expected. For instance, the tentative proposals call only for public comment on the issue of back pay as a remedy for discrimination. Business groups had hoped it would be eliminated althogether from the arsenal of Labor's Office of Contract Compliance Programs.
Among other things, the proposals would raise the threshold of affected contractors from those with 50 employes and contracts totaling $50,000 to 250 employes and contracts of $1 million. Civil rights groups complain this elimates too many small employers, But business groups point out that while three-fourths of the companies will be off the hook, according to Labor, more than three-fourths of the 26 million employes now covered will remain covered, since they work for larger contractors.