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The key to surviving a compliance review, or audit, is in preparing the AAP—way before the scheduling letter is received. Remember, a compliance review focuses on the activity from the 12 months prior to the development of the current AAP. So audit survival starts with not forgetting the past. Here are eight ways to do just that:


  1. Develop your AAP on time and accurately! Scrub your data before your AAP is developed, and check for missing or inaccurate information. Some common errors are missing or inaccurate race/ethnicity and gender codes, and old job titles. Other frequent issues that should be checked are:


    • Applicants and hires—are all of your new hires included in your applicant data with the appropriate pool of applicants? Are there any jobs filled with one applicant and one hire? If so, research why there was such a limited applicant pool. What disposition codes are being used and are they accurate? Do you have applicants who applied to one job and are hired to a different job?

    • Promotions and transactions—do your promotions reflect the company definition of a promotion? Do you have employees who are promoted to and from the same job? Is that transaction a promotion or a merit increase in the same job?

    • Termination reasons—are those who were terminated for cause, or involuntarily terminated, accurately reported? Is there back-up documentation for every involuntary termination? If an employee resigned, do you have a resignation letter?

  4. Know your policies and have copies ready. The compliance officer is trying to find out as much as possible about how things work at your company. All employment decisions for individuals or groups are fair game. Common requests include copies of policy statements about: compensation, leave of absence (military, disability, maternity), promotion, termination, layoff or reduction-in-force, religious observance/practice, request for accommodation for disability, requirements for medical exams, EEO/Non-discrimination/Anti-harassment policy statements, and contract clauses.

  7. Define your processes and be able to explain them. Some common inquiries include the processes for: requesting self-identification of race/ethnicity, gender, disability, and Protected Veteran status; reviewing physical and mental job qualifications; reviewing an applicant’s job qualifications; reviewing and responding to requests for accommodation; and returning from leave.

  10. Review your annual compensation equity analysis and prepare to explain any differences. A compensation equity analysis is not just about paying a fair market wage or salary. It’s an in-depth examination of pay as it relates to gender and race/ethnicity. Consider factors such as length of company service, length of time in current job, education, previous experience, starting pay, performance, or other nondiscriminatory factors to explain differences in compensation among similarly situated individuals. Have information ready to provide to explain differences.

  13. Communicate with managers and supervisors. First, ensure they are informed of placement goals and action programs as soon as the AAP is developed. When a scheduling letter is received, inform them about the compliance review and how they may be involved including providing explanations or information about their employment selections, compensation differences for their employees, how they handled complaints of harassment or discrimination, or their role in the termination of an employee.

  16. Pay attention to dates. Note the date your company received the scheduling letter. These letters are sent with a return receipt so OFCCP knows when it was received. You have 30 (calendar) days from that date to provide your AAP and all other required data. Say goodbye to requests for an extension because those days are in the past. If your company has an unavoidable issue, then contact the compliance officer or the District Director immediately and work out a solution. Once the audit is underway, officers increasingly rely on email to communicate with you and often set deadlines that are three to five days out. Let the officer know if you cannot meet the deadline for submitting additional materials and suggest an alternate date.

  19. Outreach and recruitment. Be able to submit proof of job listings and outreach and recruitment efforts for the applicable time period. OFCCP will likely request copies of all job openings that were listed with the appropriate State Employment Center closest to the job location. They may also request job descriptions to see how closely the listing matches them. Prepare a description of outreach efforts and activities that focused on Individuals with Disabilities and Protected Veterans, and include copies of all correspondence with organizations with which relationships were established.

  22. Ask for help. A compliance review almost always requires a team response. Engage legal counsel and/or your AAP consultant immediately after receiving a phone call or the scheduling letter indicating a compliance review. Identify others to help with items outside of your area of expertise such as Labor Relations for copies of notices sent to unions, or Purchasing for copies of purchase orders or contracts.



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