Using Applicant Reports to Help Your Company During an OFCCP Review
Part 1 of 2
It’s a different world out there for companies going through OFCCP reviews. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is in a much changed mode from its approach of several years ago. OFCCP is now heavily focused on issues concerning veterans and persons with disabilities. Much of the focus concerning veterans and persons with disabilities is centered on the outreach efforts that companies are making to find and hire members of these protected classes and the documentation that companies have to demonstrate this outreach. The agency is also heavily focused on issues concerning how employees are paid. OFCCP routinely asks for extensive data on some or all employees contained within an affirmative action plan to determine whether there are any pay disparities that may suggest compensation discrimination.
With these new focus points for the agency, it is easy to forget that OFCCP has not abandoned its long-standing interest in determining whether there are disparities based on race or gender in the hire of applicants. OFCCP continues to routinely ask for documentation of processes and decisions where a class of applicants appears to have been the subject of discrimination. These requests are made more burdensome by the fact that OFCCP may focus on possible discrimination involving a small number of applicants and by the fact that OFCCP may ask for information on disparities involving not just minorities and females but ANY racial subgroup and either gender. Thus, a situation where there is a disparity involving the failure to hire a few white males may be of interest to the agency just as a situation where there is a disparity involving the failure to hire a few Hispanics or a few Native Americans may be of interest to the agency.
This continuing interest on the part of OFCCP involving disparities in hiring, combined with the agency’s interest in issues concerning veterans and persons with disabilities, means that applicant reports produced for OFCCP are one critical key to the success of a review. An effective applicant report should be able to demonstrate the following things:
In part 1 of this series, we’re going to look at ways that companies can use applicant reports to ensure that applicants were properly considered for openings. In part 2, we’re going to look at ways that companies can use applicant reports to demonstrate their outreach efforts.
There are multiple parts to determining whether applicants were properly considered. First, the company must know which applicants were considered for particular positions. For example, it is not enough for a company to know that there were many applicants for engineering positions. It is likely that each engineering position had a specific set of qualifications, and each engineering position had a defined applicant pool. In this situation, an applicant report must have a way to show which applicants were considered for each individual engineering position, rather than assuming that all engineering applicants were considered for all engineering openings. As another example, it is not enough for a company to know that many applicants applied for production openings. Different production openings may require different skill sets and applicants should be evaluated against the relevant skills for specific open positions. An applicant report must have a way to show which applicants were considered for each individual production opening. The use of a requisition number assigned to each opening can be helpful to differentiate applicant pools from each other.
Helpful tip no. 1: All openings should be assigned a requisition number, and applicants should be required to apply for specific requisitions.
Helpful tip no. 3: Set parameters for how applicants are required to apply. This should include both the method of application and the time frames for applying.
Helpful tip no. 4: Track information on all candidates who withdraw from consideration and the manner in which these candidates withdrew.
The analysis involving race is more complicated. Traditionally, OFCCP was interested in whether minority applicants were hired at the same rate as white applicants. Now, OFCCP is interested in whether all racial subgroups are hired at equivalent rates. Thus, if the rate of Hispanic applicants hired is greater than the rate of white applicants hired and greater than the rate of black applicants hired, OFCCP may want information on why whites and blacks were less likely to be hired than Hispanics.
Helpful tip no. 5: Determine which class was the most favored class when reviewing rates of hire and compare other classes to the most favored class. Note that whites and males may not be the most favored class in some applicant-hire analyses.
Helpful tip no. 6: Review applicant-hire statistics by looking at the results for individual requisitions, focusing on whether there is a disparity for any particular race or gender.
In part 2 of this article, we’ll look at the ways that companies can use applicant reporting to show that there has been effective outreach to minorities, females, persons with disabilities, and veterans.
For more information on OFCCP’s affirmative action regulations and on approaches for creating effective applicant reports, please contact me at [email protected].