Maryelena Zaccardelli Photo

Maryelena Zaccardelli

Senior Counsel
Senior Director of Affirmative Action Plans & Contractor Compliance


Maryelena Zaccardelli is Senior Counsel in Michael Best’s Washington, D.C., office. She draws on her extensive background as an employment attorney, affirmative action consultant, and employee relations manager to assist clients in navigating the complex statutes and regulations governing compliance with the Equal Employment Opportunity, and Affirmative Action, laws and regulations governing pay equity and transparency, DEI, and federal, state and local contractor affirmative action. Clients rely on Maryelena’s more than 30 years of experience and ability to provide practical advice and compliance strategies tailored to their business and corporate environment.

On the affirmative action front, Maryelena works with the affirmative action subgroup to prepare tailored affirmative action programs and with the human resources personnel, company counsel, and senior executives in implementing legal and human resources strategies surrounding affirmative action compliance. Her lengthy experience as both an employment attorney and consultant make her uniquely qualified to provide this key strategic advice.

Maryelena also guides federal contractors (ranging in size from 50 employees to 50,000) through regular compliance evaluations and Corporate Management reviews conducted by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), including helping the contractor define the theme of the audit and initial submission, working with the company to provide effective responses to OFCCP inquiries, negotiating with the OFCCP if violations are identified, and providing assistance for successful fulfillment of the terms of a conciliation agreement.

In addition, Maryelena works with I/O psychologists and labor economists to analyze client compensation practices, both proactively and in connection with OFCCP or state labor agency audits and annual filings. She also works with multi-state employers as they design systems for compliance with state and local pay transparency requirements.


Maryelena’s extensive experience includes:

  • Advising human resources managers and counsel (both in-house and outside) on the research necessary when initial data analysis suggests potential discrimination and working to resolve any issues remaining after research
  • Working with HR professionals to create or revise existing policies, procedures, and processes necessary to implement affirmative action programs and to comply with new regulations and changing agency enforcement practices
  • Designing and delivering customized trainings on affirmative action, applicant tracking, DEI, sexual harassment, and general Equal Employment Opportunity issues for human resources professionals, executives, managers, and employees
  • Working with human resources professionals, labor economists, and I/O psychologists to analyze company compensation, both in response to OFCCP questions during compliance reviews and as part of the company’s obligation to analyze compensation annually
  • Working with a team of legal, economist, and organizational development professionals to defend a company against simultaneous challenges by multiple OFCCP district offices concerning pre-employment testing, applicant tracking, and compensation, including working with labor economists, an organizational psychologist, and negotiating with high level OFCCP and Department of Labor (DOL) employees
  • Tracking DOL, EEOC, and OFCCP regulatory and guidance changes and enforcement initiatives in order to provide advice and best practices to contractors


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