The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) will use a significant portion of its yearly budget to conduct audits. The OFCCP is responsible for enforcing equal opportunity and non-discrimination in employment based on race, sex, religion, color, national origin, disability or veteran status for businesses contracting with the federal government.
Over the years, government contractors have come to fear governmental audits of their affirmative action plans. There are numerous horror stories about multi-million dollar claims and large settlements resulting from unlawful employment discrimination.
Audits can be highly arduous, however, and with a little preparation, the negative effects can be drastically reduced. Here are a few tips for preparing for an onsite audit with the OFCCP.
• Make sure that affirmative action plans are up-to-date, signed and implemented.
• Review all personnel records, interview notes and any disciplinary actions.
Before an audit, the designated affirmative action officer should review the affirmative action plan to gain a complete understanding of the goals, objectives, and implementation. Reviewing the plan will also facilitate familiarity with the company’s problem areas as well as its strengths; this gives the officer the opportunity to address problem areas and seek counsel if necessary by reviewing the following points.
• Identify any actions taken to correct problem areas, ensuring sufficient explanation when actions taken were unsuccessful, reviewing all signatures and making sure dates are correct.
• Review interviewing, selection and hiring processes.
• Be prepared to discuss hiring practices, including internal and external recruiting efforts and selection procedures.
• Be able to provide job descriptions/information used in advertising job openings and explanations of the process used to update them.
• Have thorough explanations if recruiting efforts fail to represent minorities and females.
• Develop a rapport with the OFCCP investigator, showing the company is committed to affirmative action and equal employment.
• Take a tour of the facility to ensure that all EEO posters and appropriate notices are displayed and visible.
• Before the audit interview, review the affirmative action plan with managers and inform them about the nature of the audit, advising them on appropriate actions and comments.
• Review I-9s to make sure they are completed correctly.
Dana Lake-Streams is a senior human resources analyst at Berkshire Associates in Columbia. She can be contacted at 800-882-8904, ext. 1215, and email@example.com.