OFCCP adjusts its approach in audits
Officials from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) recently confirmed several changes to affirmative action audits, during a meeting of the Northwest Industry Liaison Group in Seattle on November 19, 2010. Vigilant is a long-standing participant in these meetings with OFCCP and federal contractors, representing our members with affirmative action obligations. Among the information shared:
- OFCCP will no longer review I-9 forms during onsite affirmative action audits. A directive to this effect will be posted on the agency’s website.
- When asking for more specific compensation data after reviewing a contractor’s initial submission of their affirmative action plan (AAP), the agency is using a different list of requested information, deleting some items and adding new ones. The old “12-factor letter” now covers 13 factors, including “similarly situated employee groups” (SSEGs)—in other words, asking how you group your employees when making compensation decisions. Unless you actually make compensation decisions based on groupings of similarly situated jobs, Vigilant generally advises taking a job-title-by-job-title approach rather than creating artificial SSEGs.
- The focus of an audit has broadened beyond systemic discrimination. You’ll see more comparisons of individuals. For multi-location employers, OFCCP may also broaden enforcement beyond the single facility, to the entire company (i.e., signing a conciliation agreement that addresses issues on a nationwide basis).
If you have questions about these new developments, please contact your Vigilant affirmative action representative. The OFCCP’s new fiscal year began on October 1, and the agency is sending out a new round of corporate scheduling announcement letters (a courtesy heads-up to headquarters offices that specific locations are on the list of potential companies to be audited during the coming year). Make sure that any envelope with the U.S. Department of Labor on the return address is opened immediately, so you aren’t caught off guard!