Getting Started - Understanding Federal Contractor Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Obligations
Whether you are new to this space, or a seasoned professional just looking for a specific item, this "Getting Started" article will help you zero in on the BCGi Resources you need.
There are two main sources for the equal employment opportunity (EEO) and affirmative action (AA) obligations for federal contractor employers: the "EO Clause"; and the AAP requirements.
Most federal contractors are subject to the EO clause(s) included in direct federal contracts and qualifying subcontracts through the 'flow-down' provision. Depending on the size of the contract and the number of employees, contractors might also be subject to additional AA requirements, in particularl the obligation to prepare formal, written affirmative action programs (AAPs), also referred to as affirmative action plans.
The EO clause is what confers jurisdiction on the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) to investigate complaints of employment discrimination and to review contractors' compliance with federal contractor EEO/AA obligations.
And there are three potential areas of regulation:
- Sex and race/ethnicity
- Disability status
- "Protected veteran" status
Most contractors that are subject to the sex and race/ethnicity requirements are also subject to the disability requirements, so those tend to be talked about together. Those contractors may or may not also be subject to the veteran requirements, though most contractors will go ahead and comply with all three "just in case." So here, we will assume that your organization is subject to all three regulatory areas, but will call out requirements that pertain just to the veteran regulations.
Finally, there are differences in requirements depending on whether or not you hold contracts (or subcontracts) for "supply and service" (non-construction) or construction, and some differences if a construction contract is a "direct" construction contract or a "federally-assisted" construction contract.
BCGi has developed a comprehensive "Compliance Scorecard" that isolates all of the "to-do" items from the EO Clauses and the AAP requirements. For each task, we highlight important information we think you need to know to get it done, along with links for further reading and for additional support materials.
EO Clause Requirements
The EO Clauses represent the "basic" requirements for most federal contractors and include:
- Basic affirmative action
- EO Clause "flow-down" requirement for subcontracts and purchase orders
- Posting the "EEO is the Law" poster
- Posting the compensation nondiscrimination policy
- Union notification of EEO/AA policy
- Including "EO taglines" in job postings and advertisements
- EEO-1 filing requirement
- Listing job openings with state job boards (veteran requirement)
EO Clauses for Supply-and-Service and Direct Construction Contractors
EO Clauses for Federally-Assisted Construction Contractors
The AAP requirements contain the obligations for federal contractors that are also required to prepare and implement formal, written affirmative action programs. The AAP requirements for construction contractors (direct and federally-assisted) are different than those for non-construction (supply-and-service) contractors with regard to sex and race/ethnicity, but are the same with regard to individuals with disabilities and "protected" veterans.
The non-construction AAP requirements include several reports and analyses:
- Organizational profile (typically a Workforce Analysis)
- Job Group Analysis
- Determination of Availability (internal and external)
- Comparing incumbency to availability and setting placement goals
- Data Collection Analysis (disability and veteran)
- Disability Utilization Analysis
- Veteran Hiring Benchmark
- Statistical evaluation of employment selection processes (hiring, promotion, termination, etc.)
- Statistical evaluation of employment tests and test validation
- Evaluation of compensation "systems"
The AAP requirements also contain several things contractors must do as part of the AAP, including:
- Designate a responsible official
- Identify potential problem areas
- Develop and implement "action-oriented programs" ("action plans")
- Internal audit and reporting
- Develop and post an EEO policy statement
- Subcontractor/vendor notification of EEO policy
- Review of personnel processes
- Review of physical and mental qualifications
- Evaluation of outreach and recruiting efforts