Affirmative Action

Why You Want To Be Prepared

Compliant AAP - check. Audit assistance - check. Your Vigilant team is ready for it all.

Every year, the OFCCP selects an assortment of federal contractors and subcontractors for random compliance reviews (audits). The agency also conducts audits in response to employee complaints, and prior to federal contract awards of $10 million or more. 

It’s not enough to just have a plan on file—the government requires your AAP to be implemented. If you’re audited and the OFCCP says you’ve failed to follow all the required steps, they’ll require you to fix your processes and submit periodic reports documenting your compliance. More importantly, if the agency determines that applicants or employees were selected for jobs disproportionately from their presence in the available pool of candidates when analyzed by race/ethnicity and gender, you may be ordered to pay lost wages. The OFCCP also reviews compensation of current employees, and may order you to adjust their pay if wage disparities exist based on race/ethnicity or gender.

Our job is to help you create and implement a compliant AAP so you’re prepared if your company is audited. Your Vigilant team is available throughout the year for ongoing questions, planning, and reassurance. We’ll also provide updates on important affirmative action developments as they occur. In the event of an audit, we take the lead on your behalf, providing counsel and negotiation with the agency, if necessary. We’ll work together to protect your federal contracts.

Why you want to be prepared for an affirmative action audit
If you already have your AAP in place…

You can use the 30-day notice period before a random audit to carefully review all your data again, write necessary explanations, and gather your supporting information. If you’re starting from scratch, those 30 days turn into a mad fire drill.

If you don't have a current written AAP in place…

Without a current AAP, you don’t know how you’re doing in your affirmative action efforts so you don’t have the opportunity to take appropriate corrective measures. By the time the audit letter arrives, it’s too late to do much more than damage control.

If you manage to put together an AAP in 30 days…

Even if you manage to throw together an AAP in 30 days, you’re not out of the woods yet. One of the required reports in an AAP includes a review of how you did in the annual percentage placement goals for race/ethnicity and gender that you set in the previous year’s plan. Another required report provides a three-year lookback on applicant and hire data for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. So even if you put together an AAP in 30 days, you’ll have to admit to the agency that you didn’t keep up with your obligations. This starts the audit on the wrong foot, and means that you’re guaranteed to be cited for a recordkeeping violation.

What does the OFCCP look for in an audit?

During the audit, in addition to reviewing and questioning your data, the OFCCP may scour your employment records, interview managers and employees, and contact rejected applicants. Some audits are resolved in a few weeks, while others can drag on for a year or longer. If the agency finds evidence of discrimination, it may order you to:

  • Give “back pay” to affected employees or applicants (this is the amount of wages the agency calculates the individuals would have earned if you hadn’t discriminated against them)
  • Pay interest (compounded quarterly) on that back pay
  • Change your personnel policies and practices
  • Send detailed reports to the agency for a specified period of time (typically two years)
What happens if my company fails to have an AAP?

The OFCCP will likely require you to enter into a conciliation agreement, in which you promise to implement required procedures and submit periodic reports to the OFCCP. Employers who refuse to cooperate are subject to being debarred from working on federal contracts and subcontracts. Check out the OFCCP’s website for more examples of why it’s so important to maintain a current affirmative action plan and have the right processes in place.

Let's chat

If you're ready to discuss your affirmative aciton obligations and how Vigilant can help, contact us. You can also check out our blog for affirmative action updates.