OFCCP Requires Federal Contractors to Submit Equal Opportunity Surveys

The U.S. Department of Labor.s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is the federal entity responsible for ensuring that federal contractors comply with the equal employment opportunity and affirmative action aspects of their government contracts. OFCCP administers and enforces Executive Order 11246 which prohibits federal contractors who annually do more than $10,000 in Government business, and certain government sub-contractors, from discriminating against employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The organization is also responsible for the enforcement of Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterens' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, which protect job applicants with veteren status from employment discrimination by federal contractors and subcontractors. The regulatory authority for OFCCP is found at CFR Title 41 Chapter 60: Public Contracts and Property Management.

Enforcement Mechanisms

To enhance its enforcement capabilities, OFCCP recently created the Equal Opportunity Survey (EOS) to gather employment-related information from federal contractors and sub-contractors. The EOS requests detailed information concerning the employer's affirmative action plan, as well as summary data on personnel activity and compensation, broken down by gender, race and ethnicity.

The Survey, which may be electronically submitted via the Internet, is designed to increase voluntary compliance by allowing contractors to readily identify potential problems and areas that might benefit from affirmative action. For example, assume the Survey shows men are being hired in a significantly higher proportion of cases than women given their relative application rate, the employer might want to analyze its recruitment and hiring practices to ensure there are no discriminatory reasons why females are less frequently selected. In short, the Survey forces employers to audit their own employment practices, assess the relative success of their practices and affirmative action efforts, and remedy any identified problems.

Evaluations

The EOS is also designed to allow OFCCP to focus its limited resources on those employers most likely to be out of compliance and thereby lessen the likelihood that contractors who are, in fact, complying with OFCCP requirements will be scheduled for evaluation. OFCCP will, in this respect, analyze submitted Surveys to identify establishments for compliance evaluation and ensure those evaluations are tailored to the problem areas specifically identified in the Survey. OFCCP assures contractors that any findings of violation that result from an evaluation scheduled through the EOS process will not be based solely on the contractor.s Survey responses.

The Federal Contractor Compliance Manual (FCCM) is a useful resource for background and guidance on evaluation procedures and standards. The manual provides definitions and describes the processes for desk audits, on-site reviews and complaint investigations.

For more information concerning the EOS, to retrieve a copy of the FCCM, and to learn more about OFCCP regulation, employers can visit the OFCCP's website and proceed to DOL Agencies, Employment Standards Administration. The OFCCP maintains six Regional Offices in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, NOrtheast, Pacific, Southeast, and Southwest and Rocky Mountain zones. The national office has three divisions responsible for oversight of Management & Administrative matters, Policy, Planning & Oversight matters, and Program Operations.

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