OFCCP Ask the Experts
OFFICE OF FEDERAL CONTRACT COMPLIANCE PROGRAMS
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  • Outreach & Apprentice Program
    Asked by Anonymous - Jan 28, 2016
    We would like to start an Apprentice program to help fill our needs for the very difficult to fill security system technician position. I have the basic outline of what we need (qualifications, program outline, union requirements). We’d like to partner with a veteran agency and a state workforce agency to find qualified candidates who would interview for the one of 3 positions we’d like to fill this year. Aside from looking at the list on the LocalJobs site and randomly reaching out to a contact, do you have an idea of how we could develop this program? I’d anticipate that we’d be looking for 2-3 Apprentices each year. We currently have identified one candidate, a disabled military veteran, that we believe would be a great fit. I want to find more great candidates and get this unique career opportunity in front of others.
    Answered by Jacquelyn Peterson from Local JobNetwork™ - Feb 02, 2016
    Congrats for starting an apprenticeship program. Not having started one myself, your question interested me so I did a few Google searches and found these resources that perhaps you can pull from.

    Office of Disability Employment Policy has an apprentice outline:
    ODEP's outline

    Department of Labor has an FAQ section about apprenticeship programs:
    DOL's FAQs

    I'm uncertain of where you are located, but "technical colleges" are a great resource to recruit from. I included one from MATC. If this is not in your location, perhaps you can still connect with the coordinator for tips.
    Local technical college

     
  • Candidates move to an as yet undefined position
    Asked by Anonymous - Jan 28, 2016
    We have a candidate that has applied for one position with us. Based on the interviews we think he is a good fit for our compay, but we do not have a specific opportunity facing us (another candidate was better suited to the position he originally applied for). As the interviews progress we may create an opportunity that will fit his skill set. If we were to move forward and hire him, what is the best way for us to account for that (from a tracking/compliance perspective). This situation presents itself occasionally here at our organization and now seems like a good time to try to do it the “right way”, at least as it relates to being a federal contractor.
    Answered by Jacquelyn Peterson from Local JobNetwork™ - Feb 02, 2016
    I believe the underlying concern that you are raising is the potential for the 1:1 hiring ratio, which isn’t necessarily wrong; however, it depends on its reasons. Below are – general ideas – of what is typically non-defensible and defensible regarding the 1:1 hiring ratio.

    Non-defensible:
    1) Did not follow the affirmative action plan as it was outlined by conducting positive recruitment and outreach
    2) Did not keep records of applicants that applied

    Defensible:
    1) Not all jobs must be listed with the employment service delivery systems (ESDS) as there are some exclusions (e.g. internal positions, positions lasting 3 days or less, and management/executive positions)
    2) The internet applicant definition was not met by individuals
    3) A temporary employee transitions to a permanent employee; thus, the job was not posted onto the ESDS so there is no other potential selection pool
    4) Layoff recalls for union workers

    Hopefully this helps guide you in the right direction as you move forward with your great hire! Good luck.

    Answered by Bill Osterndorf from HR Analytical Services - Feb 10, 2016
    So, let me approach this from a slightly different perspective. What it appears you're doing is taking a candidate from one applicant pool and you are choosing to port that candidate to another applicant pool. It further appears you're going to have an applicant pool of one for this second position.

    There are many many problems with this kind of situation. What you're doing is basically cherry-picking a candidate from one pool and giving no consideration to anyone else who might be qualified. This has three different sets of issues:

    1. There was no outreach done to find other candidates who might be just as viable for the second position as the candidate you have chosen. With OFCCP's current (excessive) focus on outreach, the agency would question why there were no recruitment efforts.
    2. There are a number of technical requirements that are not being followed in your decision to hire your chosen candidate. For example, as Jacquelyn suggests, there would be no listing of the position with the local state employment service (i.e. the local Employment Service Delivery System).
    3. There is a serious question as to who is in the applicant pool for this position. While you want to pluck one candidate from an original pool for this second position, OFCCP could appropriately argue that ALL candidates from the first pool are potential candidates for the second position, and must be dispositioned accordingly. Since you have created an opportunity for your chosen candidate, it may be hard to demonstrate that there were clearly defined minimum and preferred qualifications for this second job. If there were other candidates in the initial pool who had qualifications similar to your chosen candidate, OFCCP would potentially look at the demographics of persons in the original pool to determine if there is some kind of adverse treatment of candidates based on race, gender, or some other protected classification.

    In essence, what you have in this situation is a process breakdown. The best solution would be to open a new position, define the minimum and preferred qualifications for this position, list this position with the local ESDS, advertise the position (even if for just a short time), and encourage your chosen candidate to apply for the position.

    I realize this extends the time frame for hiring your chosen candidate. However, it's not impossible that you will find a better candidate by opening this position to other individuals. Just as important, you will limit the kind of problems that may present themselves during an OFCCP compliance review.

    If you decide not to open a new position, then you would probably need to consider all candidates from the original pool as candidates for the new position, and you would need to disposition accordingly.

    If it turns out that you had intended to open a second position to other candidates where your chosen candidate would simply be one among several candidates, then the most critical thing to do is to ensure that you encourage your favored candidate to express interest in the position rather than add that candidate to the pool yourselves. Letting HR move candidates between positions causes various record-keeping and substantive problems. It's best to require that persons who want to be considered for an open position must actually apply for that position.

     
  • Webinar Followup New for 2016
    Asked by Terry S. - Jan 27, 2016
    What type of language is required on the form used to conduct the 5 year re-survey of employees to identify disabilities that have occurred since their last self identification. Should there be an area that will allow employee to choose to "not reply" to the survey?
    Answered by Debra Milstein Gardner from Workplace Dynamics, LLC - Jan 27, 2016
    Terry - For the fifth year re-survey, you must use the OFCCP mandated form again and send it to all employees. For years in-between one and five, all you have to do is inform employees (via letter, email, etc.) that if their status as an individual with a disability has changed, they should inform you.

     
  • EEO Tagline
    Asked by Anonymous - Jan 21, 2016
    What should be included in an EEO tagline on job postings? Is it enough to say that an employer is an EEO/Affirmative Action Employer or should we include our EEO statement that includes "Employer does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law?"
    Answered by Bill Osterndorf from HR Analytical Services - Jan 21, 2016
    For purposes of this question, we're going to assume that you're covered by all the affirmative action laws (i.e. Executive Order 11246, VEVRAA, Section 503). If you're not covered by one or more of these laws, the answer below would be different.

    It is not sufficient to say "EEO/Affirmative Action Employer". The revised vets and disability regulations make it clear that must be some reference to those statuses in taglines. An acceptable tagline would be "EEO/Affirmative Action Employer-Vets/Disabled". This tagline is somewhat awkward, as it leaves out two of the protected classes that have traditionally been included in taglines (i.e. minorities and females). Thus, you may want to include more than just vets and disabled in taglines.

    Unfortunately, OFCCP has interpreted their new sexual orientation and gender identity regulations so that if any one category covered by Executive Order 11246 is included in taglines, ALL categories must be included. Thus, if you are going to include anything about minorities and females, the tagline must say something like "Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. This company considers candidates regardless of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or veteran status."

    You are NOT required to include age as a protected classification in your advertisements. While age is a protected status under federal law, there is no requirement for federal contractors, federal subcontractors, or other employers to include age as a named protected classification in job postings. You are also not required to say "or any other characteristic protected by law."

    With all this in mind, your EEO statement that begins "Employer does not discriminate...." would be acceptable to OFCCP and might be helpful to applicants. Technically, you are not required to include "age" or "any other characteristic protected by law" or the words "affirmative action" in taglines. However, the language you have provided sends a strong signal to applicants about your willingness to consider a broad cross-section of candidates.

    My answer is valid as of today (January 21, 2016). With the changes that continue to be made at OFCCP, this answer might be different in the future. It's worth keeping an eye on OFCCP's website for changes to taglines that the agency might suggest or require.

     
  • Job Descriptions
    Asked by Anonymous - Jan 14, 2016
    Good Morning,

    We are currently revamping our job descriptions (below is an example of one) and we realized that our job descriptions were pretty lengthy. From a legal standpoint, what exactly do we have to list on our job descriptions before posting? If you take at the JD below, we have our EEO statement at the top; followed by the Job Summary, etc.

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!


    Teller (Part-time) Appleton-1511860

    Description


    Equal Opportunity Employer

    The employment policy of Associated Banc-Corp, and its subsidiaries and affiliates (“Associated”) provides equal opportunity to all persons. We support a diverse and inclusive work environment where colleagues are respected, treated fairly, and given equal opportunities to perform to their fullest potential. We believe it is only with a diverse and inclusive workplace that the organization can truly perform at its best, carry out its vision, and make a difference for the communities we serve.


    JOB SUMMARY

    Provide our customers with fast, friendly customer service by always adhering to common courtesies with every customer. Efficiently and accurately process customer transactions while adhering to all required policies and procedures. Higher performing tellers also support the sales process in the branch by identifying customer needs, promoting current offers and referring customers to other colleagues for assistance with financial solutions.


    As a valued colleague of Associated Bank you play a critical role in delivering an exceptional customer experience during every interaction. Expectations for this position require the ongoing focus on building solid and long lasting relationships by engaging all customers in a positive manner. Colleagues should provide customers a positive experience that includes undivided attention, straightforward and knowledgeable service and insure that the customer’s best interests are our number one priority. Consistency around customer experience guidelines is key and expected from all of our colleagues. Our goal is to simplify the customer experience and deliver outstanding service to every customer, every time.


    KEY RESULT AREAS
    Customer Service (50%)
    Operational/Procedural Activities (40%)
    Referrals (10%)

    JOB ACCOUNTABILITIES
    1. Attract and retain customer relationships by extending a warm welcome and common courtesies to every customer and by providing accurate and timely service, which includes, but is not limited to, cashing checks, accepting deposits and withdrawals, handling loan and credit card payments, dispensing monetary instruments and bonds, within established guidelines to ensure an excellent customer experience at every point of contact.


    2. Balance and proves cash daily to maintain accurate transactions processed. Identifies payees and verifies signatures and endorsements, remains up-to-date on all security procedures.


    3. Answers telephone inquiries and provides information in accordance with company policies, while delivering a exceptional customer experience.


    4. Protect the Bank's financial interests by complying with internal and external policies, procedures, and regulations.

    5. Learn the bank’s products and services to retain and enhance customer account relationships. Identify opportunities to resolve customer needs and refer the customer to Bank Colleagues who can help meet their needs. Share product and service promotions and new opportunities with our customers.

    6. Support and service fellow colleagues within and outside of the banking office by adhering to the company’s vision and values.


    7. Perform office and administrative duties such as: requisitioning supplies.


    8. Service the ATM machines, safe deposit area, vault and night drop, as assigned.


    9. In offices with Safe Deposit functions: monitor access to safe deposit boxes, open new safe deposit accounts, maintain lease agreements, and answer any questions to ensure client satisfaction and safety.


    Qualifications


    QUALIFICATIONS:
    Required Education: Currently enrolled in high school coursework working towards high school diploma or equivalent.


    Preferred Education: High School or equivalent combination of education and experience


    Required Experience: Demonstrated customer service skills and computer experience.


    A.Based upon both job expectations and level of knowledge and experience, may be asked to complete additional educational training.

    B.The interpersonal skills necessary to make a good first impression, relate to and empathize with other people, and maintain a friendly, cheerful, and courteous demeanor throughout the day.

    C.Need to work flexible hours - mornings, early evenings and some weekend hours.


    Preferred Experience: Less than 2 years Demonstrated customer service skills, 6 months of cash handling experience, computer experience, and sales and/or retail experience.
    Special Skill Requirements:
    Verbal Communication
    Written Communication
    Mathematical
    Other: Attention to detail
    Operate Office Equipment
    Microsoft Office

    Other Duties and Responsibilities
    Performs other duties as assigned.

    Job Requirements
    Adherence to Company policy and procedures is required.
    Perform duties in accordance with the Vision & Values of Associated Banc-Corp.
    Regular attendance is required.
    Basic math and reading skills, and attention to detail.
    Use of basic office equipment (e.g., photocopier, voice mail, "fax" machine, calculator, multiple line telephones, typewriter, computers etc.).
    Represent the organization in a professional and positive manner.
    Maintain credit exception approval percentages within corporate approved guidelines

    IND123
    Answered by Bill Osterndorf from HR Analytical Services - Jan 24, 2016
    You had asked "From a legal standpoint, what exactly do we have to list on our job descriptions before posting?" I need to say that to get a true legal impression of your job descriptions, you should work with either your inside or external legal counsel. The answer below is meant to some general impressions based on my work in the EEO/affirmative action field.

    Companies generally have wide discretion in what they must include in their job descriptions and job postings. There are very few specific limitations in the federal EEO laws that compel companies to include or exclude certain provisions. An obvious observation is that companies can't suggest that certain protected classes are discouraged or prohibited from applying. Beyond that, companies are allowed to develop job descriptions and job postings in a manner that helps them attract the best qualified candidates for their jobs.

    While companies may have wide discretion in what is included in job descriptions and job postings, there are certainly some best practices in this regard. For example, it is important to have defined minimum and preferred qualifications for a position. The federal affirmative action regulations suggest that basic qualifications for a job (which are essentially the minimum qualifications for a job) should be objective, non-comparative, and job-related. In your job description above, "Currently enrolled in high school coursework working towards high school diploma or equivalent" would likely be a good minimum qualification. It is easily understood by candidates, and allows both those involved in hiring and regulatory investigators to make a easy determine as to whether a candidate is qualified. Conversely, a qualification such as "The interpersonal skills necessary to make a good first impression, [and] relate to and empathize with other people" is not an effective minimum qualification, as it would be difficult for your organization to provide an objective standard about whether a candidate is able to make a good first impression or relate to other people.

    It is important when developing minimum and preferred qualifications to be careful with how qualifications are stated. Your job description above states that a preferred qualification is "Less than 2 years Demonstrated customer service skills, 6 months of cash handling experience, computer experience, and sales and/or retail experience." I would think that your preferred qualifications here are better stated as "At least 2 years of demonstrated customer service experience; at least 6 months of cash handling experience; computer experience; sales and/or retail experience." This issue with how years of experience is stated is something we see quite often in job descriptions, and some your company and others should watch when creating job descriptions and job postings.

    There is also value from an EEO/affirmative action perspective in having job descriptions and job postings that accurately and objectively define the essential duties and essential functions of a job. Your job description above provides a job summary, a list of "job accountabilities" and a list of job requirements. Some of this information appears to be duplicative, and if one of your objectives is to shorten your job descriptions, you might want to combine some of this information. On the other hand, by providing all of this detail, your company certainly is providing those involved in hiring and individuals interested in the position with enough information to make informed decisions about which candidates might be the best qualified candidates.

    There are attorneys and consultants who would suggest that all job descriptions need to have something that defines physical and mental qualifications for each position. While this is something that you may want to discuss with your attorney, it's not entirely clear that including physical and mental qualifications is helpful in a job description or job posting unless there actually are specific physical or mental qualifications associated with a position. We have seen to many job descriptions that have a section for such qualifications that routinely includes a line suggesting there are lifting or other physical qualifications that are not actually pertinent to the job. Such inapplicable qualifications should be avoided.

    This response is now quite lengthy, so let me close by addressing your EEO statement. Your EEO statement sends a powerful message to candidates (and those involved in hiring) about your company's interest in respecting the talents and interests of all employees. Your company should be applauded for setting a high standard in this regard. It is interesting to note, though, that this kind of EEO statement is not required by any state or federal law. If your company is covered by the federal affirmative action regulations, you must have an EEO tagline that meets certain specific requirements. I have addressed taglines in other postings so I won't belabor those requirements here. If your company is covered by other state or federal EEO laws that require a specific tagline, you should include that tagline. If your company has no specific regulatory requirements it must meet, you may include a lengthy EEO statement, a short EEO tagline, or no EEO tagline whatsoever. In this context, it is important to know what regulatory mandates apply to your organization in this regard, and to then meet these mandates.

    I hope this is helpful. It would be easy to write a book about effective job descriptions and job postings, but I hope these suggestions are valuable to you in the process of drafting new job descriptions.

     
  • State Posting Character Limits
    Asked by Anonymous - Jan 11, 2016
    When positions are posted to the Iowa State Job Bank, there is a character limit. As we are unable to list our entire job description on the state job bank due to these restrictions, will this cause an issue during an OFCCP audit?
    Answered by Marilynn L. Schuyler from Schuyler Affirmative Action Practice - Jan 11, 2016
    So long as the complete job description is provided when applicants log in to your system to apply for the position, it should not be a problem.
    Answered by Jacquelyn Peterson from Local JobNetwork™ - Jan 13, 2016
    We contacted the ESDS in IA and requested that they remove and/or increase their 1500 word limit.

    Similar to what Marilynn wrote, the representative said that he hasn't experienced any issues with having a job posting that does not include the entire description. He said, "as long as the position was posted and there was a link back to the employer’s website, that is sufficient."

    As a result, in IA, when we post jobs on behalf of employers, we include language that includes a link to the job description that states "see full job description."

    If IA increases and/or removes their word limit, we will let you know.

     
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