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I recently had the pleasure of presenting a session on “Recruiting Essentials for a Diverse Talent Pipeline” at HudsonMann’s client conference during which we discussed the different types of outreach partners, which ones are “must haves” in a talent acquisition specialist’s recruiting arsenal, and the various tax credits and hiring incentive programs offered by state workforce agencies to employers.

There were several questions asked during the presentation that we did not have the time to answer due to time limitations. They were fantastic questions, so we are taking the opportunity now to address them.

Q: If there is a hold on a position posted in a state job bank that favors veterans, what about other protected groups? Isn’t a veteran hold a discriminatory practice against non-veteran groups such as persons with disabilities?

The state employment service delivery systems are required to provide priority of service to veterans under the Jobs for Veterans Act (JVA). One of the provisions of the JVA which was codified at 38 U.S. Code § 4215 – Priority of service for veterans in Department of Labor job training programs, established a priority of service requirement for “covered persons” such as veterans and eligible spouses, including widows and widowers. “Priority of service” as defined in this section means that covered persons shall be given priority over a non-covered person in receiving training, employment, and placement services, giving veterans and other covered persons the right to take precedence over non-covered persons in obtaining services.

Unlike race and sex discrimination regulations where it is illegal to discriminate against a person of any race or sex, disability and veteran protections are one-directional. There are no protections for not being a veteran or for not being disabled.

One may argue that this particular practice which favors veterans may indiscriminately impact other protected groups. However, if we take an adverse impact approach, we might find that the precise opposite is true for people with disabilities because veterans tend to have disabilities at a higher rate than the population as a whole.

That said, it has the potential to adversely affect the employment opportunities for women, because a smaller percentage of veterans – only 1 out of 8 – are women. The same could apply to minorities. Unfortunately, there are statutory exclusions that may make it difficult to challenge under Title VII because of a provision in Section 712 of the Civil Rights Act that states: “Nothing contained in this title shall be construed to repeal or modify any Federal, State, territorial, or local law creating special rights or preference for veterans.”

Q: Where can you find a list and descriptions of Military Occupational Codes (MOCs)?

A: Fortunately for all of us, there is a great website we can use that offers a “military crosswalk” and best of all, this is offered free of charge to the public! The website’s name is O*Net OnLine. O*Net is a project of the Department of Labor/ETA which collects and maintains a database of information on occupations in the labor market.

O*Net has mapped out the positions in the military to positions in the private sector that utilize the same skills and work experience. Using the Crosswalk Search, you can look up the civilian occupation equivalent of an Experimental Test Pilot in the Air Force or an Ordnance Specialist in the Army.

Q: Is it acceptable to include “Documented Disability Required” on Government Contract positions that require this to meet requirements? (i.e. Source America AbilityOne contracts)

A: The AbilityOne Program originated from the Javits–Wagner O’Day Act (JWOD), which is a federal law passed in 1971 which established an independent federal entity, the “Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled” and required all federal agencies to purchase specified supplies and services from nonprofit agencies employing persons who are blind or have other significant disabilities. The program grants noncompetitive contracts to non-profit affiliates and community programs, and requires as a condition of the contract that 75% of the labor used in fulfilling the contract be performed by people who are blind or have other significant disabilities.

Source America and the National Industries for the Blind are two of the central non-profit agencies that work with AbilityOne, and they in turn oversee other non-profit agencies receiving contracts from AbilityOne. Prior to hiring an applicant with a disability onto the contract, the agencies are required to assist the individuals in applying for Vocational Rehabilitation services, which would require a documented disability to be eligible, and this is likely the reason why they are stipulating that at the front end in the job description. Specifications like this are allowed in very narrowly defined cases provided that the employer can support that this is a bona fide qualification for the job.

Q: Are the Work Opportunity Tax Credits (WOTC) or other wage reimbursement hiring incentive programs applicable to non-profit organizations? What type of tax credit applies?

A: Per the IRS Guidelines, tax-exempt employers may claim the WOTC under the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (the PATH Act) for qualified veterans. This applies to veterans hired after December 31, 2014 and before January 1, 2021.

For other workforce programs, this may vary from state to state. It is best to check with your state to determine your nonprofit eligibility for tax credits for these hiring incentive programs.

Q: As federal contractor, if you are to post with state job bank, but the job is one that can be located remotely anywhere, does posting in the state where the home office is located meet the standard or would we need to post in all 50 states?

A: One of the Frequently Asked Questions on OFCCP’s VEVRAA page addresses remote positions specifically. The FAQ states that “…when a vacancy announcement indicates that the opening is for a remote job to be performed entirely by telework, there is no fixed place where the job ‘occurs.’ The contractor may, therefore, satisfy the job listing requirement for a remote job by listing the opening with an ESDS in any area where qualified candidates might be found.” Thus, if the home office state is part of your recruitment area, and you are entertaining candidates coming from that state, then per the FAQ, listing your position to that area/state ESDS would satisfy the listing requirement.

Q: We are a federal contractor posting our jobs to the Employment Services Delivery System/State Job Bank. Do we need to contact the ESDS to request a veteran hold?

As a federal contractor, one of your responsibilities under VEVRAA’s Equal Opportunity Clause when you list your jobs with them is to notify the ESDS of your federal contractor status and request the priority referral of protected veterans to your jobs. Fortunately, most of the ESDS/State Job Banks provide employers the ability to indicate that they are a federal contractor in their employer profile when creating their ESDS employer account. Employers also have the ability to check a box during the process of posting a job on the ESDS to indicate that the job is a “federal contractor job listing” or FCJL. When designated as such or if the employer profile states the employer is a federal contractor, all jobs posted by that employer are automatically placed on the state ESDS veteran hold. There is no need to request it; the process happens automatically provided the above stipulations are indicated. In the 18 states where they do not have an automatic veteran hold, you may reach out to the ESDS to inform them that you are a federal contractor and that you are requesting priority referral of protected veterans to your jobs.

Q: How often do we need to provide the contact information of the person responsible for hiring at our company locations to the ESDS and do we need to keep copies of these letters?

A: The VEVRAA regulation requires that covered federal contractors shall make the following disclosures to the employment service delivery system/state job bank: a) that you are a federal contractor; b) that you are requesting priority referral of protected veterans for your job openings; c) provide the name and location of each of your hiring locations within the state; and d) the contact information for the person responsible for hiring at each location.

Per the regulation, these disclosures should be provided simultaneously with the contractor’s very first job listing. In addition, whenever any of the above information changes (i.e. the opening of an additional facility or a change in the name of the contact person), the contractor must provide updated information with its very next job listing.

It is advisable to keep copies of the notifications you send so you can provide documentation to prove compliance in the event you are audited by OFCCP.

A big thanks to everyone who attended the conference! If you have a federal contractor compliance question, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Circa is here to help you!

Author

Roselle Rogers
Vice President, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Circa
Roselle Rogers, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Circa with responsibility for leading its DEI strategy and thought leadership initiatives. She is a subject matter expert in HR and OFCCP Compliance, affirmative action, EEO, and diversity; and frequently speaks on these topics at various HR conferences and webinars, educating and keeping federal contractors abreast of trends and recent developments in OFCCP/AA/EEO compliance. Prior to this role, Rogers was responsible for the company’s HR, compliance, business operations, and sales support operations, contractual and legal affairs, corporate training, and strategic initiatives. She has more than 30 years of HR experience and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and SHRM - Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). She is a member of the Milwaukee and Chicago chapters of the Industry Liaison Group (ILG), a presenter on the Circa OFCCP webinar series, is the lead editor of the weekly Circa publication, The OFCCP Digest, and an in-house expert on the online forum Ask the Experts. She served as a Director on the Metro Milwaukee SHRM Board, chaired the Metro Milwaukee SHRM Certification Committee, and facilitated the SHRM SPHR/PHR Certification program. Roselle is a graduate of the University of the Philippines with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resources Development from the Ateneo de Manila University. She currently volunteers her time as the Vice President/Secretary of the Milwaukee Industry Liaison Group and President-elect of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Wisconsin.

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