Being a federal contractor means enjoying excellent compensation and long contracts. Unfortunately, it also means following a lot of rules, with the chance of facing hefty fines if you don’t. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is the U.S. Department of Labor’s civil rights agency. Its goal is to evaluate and investigate the companies that do business with the Federal Government to ensure they are living up to their obligation to not discriminate when hiring, firing, promoting, transferring, laying off or compensating employees. The OFCCP uses compliance evaluations, or audits, to make sure contractors are meeting these requirements. Doing your due diligence with candidates, along with using a thorough preferably digital, process to track applicants, can make all the difference when preparing for an audit.
Get Your Paperwork in Order
The best way to prepare for an audit is to keep records of all your employment documents, including recruitment materials, job postings, resumes, compensation and other employee records. Luckily, accordingly to SHRM, the most recent OFCCP directives are leaning towards more desk audits and fewer onsite audits. If your company receives a letter from the OFCCP, you have 30 days to submit your affirmative action plan (AAP) and supporting documents.
The letter will outline the documents you'll need to submit to the OFCCP. For example, a Compliance Check, you'll need,
- AAP results for the preceding year
- examples of job advertisements, including listings with state employment services
- examples of accommodations made for persons with disabilities
The audit will be performed at an OFCCP staff person's desk and then it will be determined if an onsite evaluation is needed.
Look For Holes in Your Recordkeeping
- Inadequate records to defend applicant flow and interview practices
- Discriminatory decision-making processes for hiring, promotions, terminations, etc.
- Compensation disparities that can't be explained
Complete and accurate recordkeeping will not only provide the OFCCP the information it requires, but your audit will be processed faster, helping to ensure you won't be visited for a couple of years.
Solidify Your AAP and Recruiting Practices
Affirmative Action Programs (AAP) are a top compliance requirement for the OFCCP. AAPs include policies, practices and procedures that contractors implement to ensure equal opportunities in the workplace. An AAP goes hand-in-hand with recruiting as all federal contractors must not discriminate against any candidate who meets the minimum requirements. An OFCCP auditor will look at your recruiting practices to make sure they meet compliance, like including an EEO tag line. If job postings include language that specifically targets or excludes a certain demographic, there may be grounds for a failed audit. Compliance changes often and the OFCCP publishes Compliance Assistance Guides so contractors can stay on top of what's required of them.
An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is an invaluable tool to ensure your company is ready for an audit. A paperless system helps to accurately document recruiting processes and report on recruitment outreach activities. BirdDogHR ATS features will help you with your AAP reporting, IWD and VEVRAA federal contractor compliance and will also pre-populate your voluntary surveys with specific language, including your EOE disclaimer. Don't get caught off-guard when your letter arrives.