This year only 275 of the estimated 25,000 federal contractors are listed on OFCCP’s recently released pre-notice of audit, the Corporate Scheduling Announcement List (CSAL). (See Circa’s blog ‘The Saga of the Shrinking CSAL’.)
Perhaps your employer is not on this latest list. If so, don’t be tempted to let down your guard. Create your mandatory Affirmative Action Plans (AAPs); be ready for audit. For all we know, there will be another CSAL list published this year (this was common with past administrations). It is also likely that the OFCCP will soon require your employer to ‘verify’ that AAPs are complete. Contractors that cannot verify, i.e., certify AAP creation, will face a significantly increased risk of audit. In a more positive light, creating your Plans and meeting mandated pro-active review requirements is not only mandatory, it is an effective way to understand your employer’s diversity profile and develop ways to improve it.
If your employer is on the list, if you are new to OFCCP audits, or just want to brush up, Circa offers many resources you should review. Circa’s ’Are you Prepared?’ 90-second compliance assessment is a great ‘to do’ list. Circa’s ‘Responding to OFCCP Scheduling Letters’ whitepaper orients you to the range of audit-related requirements. For specific questions, email Circa’s ‘Ask the Experts’.
OFCCP’s own resources include the OFCCP’s Supply and Service Technical Assistance Guide (TAG) and the (shorter!) TAG for small federal contractors.
If your employer is on the July 2021 CSAL, be ready to explain differences between the current workforce at the facility and the employee profile shown on past EEO-1 reports. Also, if the population at your facility slated for review is below 50, request ‘administrative closure’ in lieu of submitting your detailed desk audit materials. (The OFCCP’s ‘methodology’ document on how it creates the CSAL states an intention to focus on large establishments. This buttresses the standard argument that ‘under-50’ locations are too small for meaningful statistical review.)
If you believe that your facility should not be audited (other reasons include closed facilities or facilities subject to an audit that closed less than 2 years ago), email the OFCCP at [email protected].
OFCCP will begin issuing the scheduling letters that kick off desk audits 45 days after publication of the CSAL (for the current list, this is mid-August). While the scheduling letter notes that you have 30 days to respond, the Agency grants one automatic 30-day extension, if you make the request and provide the AAP narrative (the non-data portion) within 30 days of receiving the request for audit.
Finally, as you focus on the technical aspects of audit response, ask yourself the bigger question: does program you manage ensures equal access? For this, the simplest analyses may be the best, particularly for complex organizations for which building-by-building ‘supply and service’ reporting does not reflect business organization. Consider performing a high-level, diagnostic ‘life cycle analysis’ summarizing your employee base (perhaps by line of business, EEO-1 job classification and grade) to determine patterns of underrepresentation. Analyze whether hires, promotions and terminations are making things better or worse. This is best done under legal privilege. Once conclusions are drawn and acted upon, your program is pro-active, and should make a difference in ensuring equal access.