Ed. Note: This is part 2 of the series. You can find part 1 here By Derek Zeller
In my first post on this subject I brought up the new rules that affect sourcing and recruiting. In this follow up post I will talk about a few more things you should know. Some of this is, well, a little dry but as I said before this is not really funny stuff.
We all follow EEOC rules and reporting in order to make sure we are not discriminating in our hiring practices. Now we have some new rules to follow as an extra layer from the OFCCP. These are final rulings were based on new rules for attracting, recruiting, and gauging people with Veterans status and people with disabilities.
Hiring benchmarks and goals
One of the most controversial and significant aspects of the Final Rules was the establishment of annual hiring benchmarks for veterans and goals for individuals with disabilities.
Let’s start with hiring Veterans. Personally I have always gone out of my way to speak with, train, and hire veterans whenever possible. So I really saw no problem with the new ruling found here: http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/vevraa.htm
We have never had an actual number or goal to obtain before until now. Where did the number come from? Based on what I have read it was based on how you are to determine the benchmark: (1) use the benchmark equal to the national percentage of veterans in the civilian workforce (currently eight percent 8%), which OFCCP will update annually; or (2) develop a benchmark using five separate factors, some of which will rely on data to be made available on OFCCP's website.
Secondly we also have to pay closer attention to people with disabilities. The final ruling is found here: http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/section503.htm
Once again, not a problem for me as I believe as long as a candidate can perform the duties of the job then hires them! The benchmark though came up again: The Disability Rule establishes an annual seven percent 7% utilization goal for employment of individuals with disabilities. Contractors are required to evaluate the seven percent utilization goal at the job group level for each of their AAPs. If a contractor has less than 100 employees, however, the contractor can conduct a single utilization analysis for its entire workforce. Contractors who establish placement goals because their current workforce is under the seven percent utilization goal must identify problem areas and develop action-oriented programs to address the under representation of individuals with disabilities in their workforce. The OFCCP will periodically review and update the seven percent utilization goal.
Not a quota, but outreach will be required
So the first thing that came to everyone’s minds was QUOATAS!?!?! This seems like a form of discrimination in its own right as the EEOC has beaten us over the head that all people should be treated equally. They should. This ruling does not affect that. What it does do is set a goal to TRY and achieve. There is nothing I have found or that has been written about that would change this either. In fact, in several recent webinars, OFCCP has made it clear that they do not anticipate that contractors will meet the benchmark or utilization goal in the first year after the Final Rules go into effect. However, OFCCP has advised that contractors must undertake positive outreach and recruitment efforts to reach any areas where there is underutilization of veterans and individuals with disabilities in their workforce and must document those efforts.
HOWEVER, there is going to be reporting of efforts. So, like in my last post, MORE PAPER WORK!! Yay!!
Reporting outreach and recruitment efforts
We are now going to be required for the first time to conduct annual outreach and recruitment assessments for veterans and individuals with disabilities. With these assessments we need to show our successes AND failures with the efforts we did. This will now be added to the annual AAP report you should be doing every year. The OFCCP has forms that they sent out as templates or you can just come up with your own.
The report must include though these things: (1) the criteria used to evaluate the effectiveness of each outreach and recruitment effort used by the contractor; and (2) provide the contractor's conclusion on the effectiveness of the program. In addition, the criteria in the report must include an assessment of the annual hiring metrics data discussed for the current year and the two previous years.
ARE WE HAVING FUN YET?!?!?!?
Once the contractor determines that the totality of its outreach efforts was not effective, then it must implement alternative or additional outreach efforts to increase the numbers of veterans and individuals with disabilities in its workforce. As under the prior rules, the Final Rules allow contractors flexibility to determine which outreach and recruitment efforts they want to implement. OFCCP has expressed its intention to thoroughly review these outreach assessments during audits to determine if they are "reasonable." You should have at the very least these two things in place:
- Do not rely on the same ineffective measures and show in the process that you had success from a certain program or programs
- You should include some of the OFCCP's suggested outreach efforts, such as establishing relationships with local veterans and disability groups.
I think this will at least cover you if you get audited. However everything I have written has been either taken from the OFCCP website or it is my opinion on what is coming down the pipe thus far. People have been asking me questions upon questions since I spoke at Sourcecon 2014 in Atlanta. My answer has been the same. Talk to professionals in this space and get prepared. Use the FAQ section of the OFCCP website as well. All I wanted to do was raise awareness in the community. Hopefully I will not be writing a third part to this.