From the Hotline: OFCCP Audits of Affirmative Action Plans

Question:  What should we do to prepare for an OFCCP audit of our Affirmative Action Plan and program?

Answer: If you have diligently completed your AAP(s) and have been working your action plans addressed in the AAP, then most likely the audit will go very smoothly.  If you approach these desk audits with confidence and in a positive manner, then the auditors are more willing to work with you to help you correct any deficiencies they might spot.  If, however, you have concerns about the state of your AAP, progress towards meeting goals, and any other concerns about what you think might happen in the audit, then please consult with your employment attorney or a local AAP expert for guidance in preparing for and responding to the audit results.

Here is a practical checklist with the various elements that should be in place prior to the audit:

  • Designate the person responsible for your Affirmative Action Program and make sure that person is prepared to work with the auditor to demonstrate his/her knowledge and commitment to the program.
  • Workforce Analysis – For each work unit, show the total number of males, females, minorities, and the job title, gender, race & ethnicity of the supervisor.
  • Job Group Analysis  — Arrange every job title into a group with other job titles which have similar duties, salary, promotional opportunities, etc.  State the percentage of minorities and women in each job group.
  • Availability Analysis  — For each job group, provide an estimate of the number of qualified minority & women candidates available in a reasonable recruiting area (external) and a separate determination of those within your company who are promotable, transferable, or trainable (internal).
  • Utilization Analysis – Develop a comparison of the percentage of minorities and women currently employed in each job group with those available externally and internally. This will identify any job groups in which you might be underutilized (i.e. have significantly fewer minorities or women than are available).
  • Placement Goals – Show this if the percentage of minorities or women currently employed in any job group is less than you would expect based on the availability rates.
  • Compensation Analysis – Do a preliminary review of total compensation to ensure that there are no vulnerable areas relative to minorities and women and their compensation in the same positions relative to employees not in a protected status.
  • Problem Areas (it is always better if you have them identified and show a serious effort to be working on them – don’t let the auditor find them first) – Identify your weak areas in the review of utilization analysis, personnel activity, compensation systems, etc.
  • Action-Oriented Programs (again, being on top of this first is better than the auditor telling you what you need to do) – Develop specific programs designed to meet placement goals or correct problem areas.
  • Periodic Internal Audits – Show that you have been regularly measuring the effectiveness of your AAP. We recommend quarterly reviews of all personnel activity.
  • Documentation in all areas and with all activities to demonstrate the company’s compliance efforts.
  • Open Job Postings – Show what you have been doing to comply with your AAP needs.  Document where you have posted jobs with appropriate employment services or online resources except senior management positions.  Appropriate services for the OFCCP auditors also include local employment service offices and state workforce agency job banks.
  • Documented contacts with all local minority, women, disabled, and veterans associations and have that information available as part of your outreach plans.
  • Have copies of your EEO-1 Reports and VETS-100 available for the auditor to review.
  • Show your accessibility for individuals with disabilities in your facility being audited, including parking and entrance, restrooms, application computers/kiosks, office accessibility, etc.
  • Demonstrate that you have recently reviewed your EEO policy with all employees and include in your new hire onboarding process materials to show the auditor.
  • If you haven’t already done so, audit your personnel files to ensure that confidential personal information is separated from the work file that you might present to the auditor.
  • Ensure that all required federal and state posters (including the EEO Policy statement) are posted in conspicuous employee gathering places (i.e. break rooms).
  • Have your Employment Verification Forms (I-9 Forms) ready for review (separately from the personnel files).
  • Have your Applicant Flow Logs ready for review.
  • Review all of your purchase orders and contracts to ensure that your EEO clause is included.
  • Show any communications, training programs, community outreach efforts, mentoring activities, etc for minorities and women and/or demonstrating the company’s commitment to affirmative action.
  • Make sure that senior management knows when the auditors will be in the office and are able to speak about the company’s commitment to the program and goals.

In addition, here is additional information outlining an employer’s responsibilities as a federal contractor under the OFCCP guidelines for affirmative action planning and including links to two sample plans. The first one is comprehensive: http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/pdf/sampleaap.pdf  and the second one is well formatted and was used for apprenticeship programs (but you don’t have to use that document for that purpose):  http://www.doleta.gov/oa/bul08/bul06_GNJ_AffirmativeActionPlan.pdf.