Ellen Shong Bergman established the firm of Ellen Shong & Associates in 1983, following 10 years’ experience in equal opportunity and affirmative action compliance in both industry and government. She worked continuously in this area from 1973 until her retirement and the sale of her firm in 2012. She has accepted occasional consulting projects since and now serves on the Advisory Board for Local JobNetwork.
She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the University of Arizona College of Law, where she was awarded the Juris Doctor in 1975. She was twice chosen to represent U.S. employers as a delegate to the International Labor Organization in Geneva in the area of equal opportunity for workers with family responsibilities.
Mrs. Bergman began her career as an EEO practitioner in 1973 while on the legal staff of Tucson Gas & Electric Co. and worked in EEO/AA management with AMAX Inc., a Fortune 200 natural resources company for six years, half of that as corporate Director, EEO/AA. She left AMAX in 1981, having been recruited by the Reagan-Bush Administration to serve as Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, U.S. Department of Labor. She was the first Director of the agency to come from private industry and remains one of the very few appointees with that experience.
While at the OFCCP she insisted on agency adherence to Title VII standards, offered contractors the opportunity to establish liaison groups (ILGs) with the agency and she made the first Exemplary Voluntary Efforts ("EVE") Awards to government contractors who had exceptional action-oriented programs for individuals with disabilities, women or minorities. These, especially the Liaison Groups, are legacies of which she is very proud. ILGs continue to endure, increase, and provide substantial current opportunities for contractors to deal with the OFCCP outside the adversarial experience of a compliance review. She left the OFCCP in November 1983 to establish her consulting firm.
Ellen Shong & Associates, a firm that continues today under new ownership, is a compliance management consulting firm with a national practice specializing in equal employment opportunity and affirmative action matters. While its CEO, industries she represented included banking, pharmaceuticals, food processing, health care, communications, financial services, higher education, furniture manufacturing, utilities, insurance, research, distribution, construction, aerospace engineering, transportation, textiles, and heavy manufacturing. The firm’s clients included small businesses as well as those in the Fortune 200.
Client services provided included then, and still include, Affirmative Action Program evaluation and development and response to discrimination complaints. Under her direction the firm specialized in the design of selection policies, procedures and the concomitant recordkeeping that would allow employers to manage the selection process as well as to perform required analyses of all selection decisions. Mrs. Bergman’s personal practice emphasis was on representation before the OFCCP in complex discrimination matters, including allegations of discrimination in compensation and statistical cases involving hiring and promotion. This included managing agency data requests, compiling and refining data for submission, and rebutting allegations based on improper methodology or inaccurate analyses - sometimes by the employer itself and often by the OFCCP! Then and now the firm also negotiated Conciliation Agreements and prepared Progress Reports due under such Agreements.
Mrs. Bergman also provided litigation support to law firms, and served as an expert witness in cases involving discrimination and affirmative action compliance. She was a frequent and popular speaker at seminars and ILG conferences, conducted in-house training for her clients and wrote extensively to provide guidance for her clients and other government contractors.