The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is a United States Department of Labor agency that aims to prevent federal contractors and subcontractors from following any type of discriminatory practices related to employment.
Every year the OFCCP selects numerous federal contractor establishments to evaluate whether or not they comply with affirmative action regulations. It conducts audits, also known as compliance reviews, to determine if nondiscriminatory hiring policies are being followed and that employment practices include taking affirmative action to ensure no hiring decisions are made based on sex, race, color, national origin, or religion.
If you’ve been selected for an OFCCP audit, it can be rather stressful, but by taking the time to organize, adequately prepare and maintain a plan of action, it can relieve some of the burden. It also provides a good opportunity for evaluating your practices and policies to make improvements moving forward.
Get Data and Documentation Together
The first thing you’ll need to do is ensure all your paperwork is in order and that your hiring data is gathered, which is a primary component of the compliance process. It’s a must that all employers proactively maintain data on their job postings and have it available for submission when an audit requires it. You’ll need all job advertisements and recruitment materials – if you work with job boards focused on OFCCP compliance, they can assist in both the maintenance and submission reports. Ensure that your Affirmative Action Plan has been updated, and all internal records, including personnel files, compensation data, and any other relevant procedures and policies, are organized and up to date as well.
Ensure There is a Clear Policy Explaining How Compensation is Determined
Compensation is a priority during an audit as eliminating compensation discrimination has been an enforcement priority aimed to help resolve disparities resulting from discrimination. You’ll need to ensure that you have a clear policy as to how your company determines compensation and lists any factors affecting compensation while also preserving flexibility for other factors that may legitimately affect a pay decision. If there are any questions as to how this is being handled, interviews may be conducted to gather more information about how the company’s pay decisions are determined.
Perform Spot Checks
Visit all worksites to ensure that the correct posters are displayed – while this may be overlooked, it’s a great way to make a good first impression.
Evaluate Recruiting Processes
Before the audit, be sure that all hiring requisitions are posted with the correct language and are in the right places as part of the evaluation of your recruiting processes. Federal contracts are required to post all employment openings with the appropriate Employment Service Delivery Systems (ESDS) where the job opening occurs.
Perform Your Own Audit
It’s important to perform your own internal audit of positions to be sure there are no obvious unjustifiable differences for employment opportunities of members of any race, ethnic group, gender, veterans, or those with disabilities.
Create a Team Staffed with HR Professionals, Legal Counsel, and Consultants
It’s important to have a team ready to go before the audit begins and maintain effective communication regarding a plan of action throughout. Typically, it should consist of human resources professionals, legal counsel, and professional consultants.