OFCCP Ask the Experts
OFFICE OF FEDERAL CONTRACT COMPLIANCE PROGRAMS
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  • 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.

     
  • Discontinuing Federal Contractor Status
    Asked by Anonymous - Jan 08, 2016
    Our company has decided to discontinue our Federal Contractor status as of April 1, 2016. We have no active contracts.

    What is the process that needs to be followed to do so? Can we still ask applicants to self-identify gender and race? What about disability and/or veteran status? Any assistance that you can offer is appreciated. Thank you!
    Answered by Jacquelyn Peterson from Local JobNetwork™ - Jan 08, 2016
    If you are no longer a federal contractor, then the obligations that you were previously relegated to no longer exist.

    Even so, keep in mind that certain employers – not obligated to the affirmative action requirements - are required to submit an EEO-1 report on race and gender after employment commences (i.e. on employees not applicants).

    Employers who must fill out an EEO-1 report with that data are private employers who are:


    1. subject to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972) with 100 or more employees EXCLUDING State and local governments, primary and secondary school systems, institutions of higher education, Indian tribes and tax-exempt private membership clubs other than labor organizations;

    OR

    2. subject to Title VII who have fewer than 100 employees if the company is owned or affiliated with another company, or there is centralized ownership, control or management (such as central control of personnel policies and labor relations) so that the group legally constitutes a single enterprise, and the entire enterprise employs a total of 100 or more employees.


    To read more about this, click here.
    Answered by Bill Osterndorf from HR Analytical Services - Jan 08, 2016
    There really is no specific process that needs to be followed. Agencies like OFCCP do not require companies to notify the agency when they receive federal contracts or subcontracts, and OFCCP does not require companies to notify the agency when they are no longer federal contractors or subcontractors.

    If you are sure your company will no longer being doing any federal contracting or subcontracting, you are not required to continue preparing affirmative action plans. You are also not required to continue to follow the myriad of federal regulations reserved for federal contractors or subcontractors. Please note, however, that you should not destroy your most recent set of affirmative action plans nor the records associated with these affirmative action plans until OFCCP no longer has the right to conduct a review of this information. We have had seen situations where a company discontinued its federal contracting, and OFCCP indicated that the agency still had the right to review information for the time frame when the company was a federal contractor or subcontractor.

    In regard to surveying applicants, you may continue to survey applicants for race, gender, and ethnicity. There is no prohibition against this kind of surveying, and if you are involved in an EEOC complaint, EEOC may demand demographic information of this type on your applicants.

    You may also continue to survey applicants for veteran status so long as you do not survey specifically for disabled veteran status. (See below on this point.) However, you may want to determine whether there is any value in surveying for veteran status. If you are using this information to help employ veterans or for some other positive purpose, you may want to continue surveying for veteran status. Otherwise, I'm not sure there is a good reason to do this surveying.

    The most important change you need to make involves individuals with disabilities. Federal contractors and subcontractors are required to survey pre-offer applicants for disability status. However, as a general rule, organizations that are NOT federal contractors or subcontractors are PROHIBITED from surveying pre-offer applicants for disability status. The ADA has not changed. It stills says that employers are to avoid surveying pre-offer applicants for disability status. Federal contractors and subcontractors basically have a special dispensation to do this surveying because it is required of them by law.

    Note that the prohibition on surveying for disability status extends to surveying for disabled veteran status. Thus, a company that is not a not a federal contractor or subcontractor would potentially be allowed to ask applicants if they are protected veterans (a general class that includes disabled veterans), but would NOT be allowed to ask if applicants specifically fall into the category "disabled veteran."

    I would strongly encourage you to work closely with your ATS vendor and recruiting team to deal with your decision to discontinue federal contracting. There are various things you will no longer be required to do along with a few things (such as surveying pre-offer applicants for disability status) that you will be prohibited from doing.

    As a side note, I totally understand your company's decision to discontinue any federal contracting or subcontracting. The federal affirmative action regulations have become hugely burdensome in the last few years.

     
  • Applications Question
    Asked by Anonymous - Jan 06, 2016
    What are the requirement for new hire applications? If the application is online do we have to have it match a hard copy application?
    Answered by Carey Freitag from Local JobNetwork™ - Jan 19, 2016
    It is advisable to have all new hires complete an employment application that has been reviewed by an attorney to make sure the application complies with the employment laws in your state.

    Whether or not you have applicants complete a hard copy application after completing an online application, is more a matter of preference. If your company’s online application is a brief version of your hard-copy application, one thought might be to have all applicants that are interviewed in-person complete the hard-copy application. The most important thing is be consistent in your practice and if one applicant that is interviewed completes the hard-copy application, then all applicants interviewed should complete the hard-copy application.

     
  • Posting Affirmative Action Plan
    Asked by Anonymous - Dec 31, 2015
    What do the regulations say about posting your Affirmative Action Plan for all employees to view. Do you just have to post the AA Policy statement, or do you need to post the actual plan document?
    Answered by Jacquelyn Peterson from Local JobNetwork™ - Jan 08, 2016
    The AAP has to be made available to employees upon request. In our experience, we have typically seen employers add it to the end of their anti-harassment policy stating something similar to:

    “An individual who wishes to access the establishment’s affirmative action plan can do so at XX time (e.g. during regular business hours Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and should contact this individual (e.g. Human Resource Director) to access the plan."
    Answered by Bill Osterndorf from HR Analytical Services - Jan 10, 2016
    Just to clarify something Jacquelyn said, certain portions of the AAP for protected veterans and certain portions of the AAP for individuals with disabilities must be made available to applicants and employees upon request. There is NO requirement in the federal affirmative action regulations to make the Executive Order 11246 AAP (i.e. the AAP for minorities and females) available to applicants or employees, and we strongly discourage organizations from doing so. That AAP has a significant number of statistical reports and other items that might constitute trade secrets or other protected information that organizations should not be releasing to applicants and employees.

    With the recent revisions to the regulations regarding veterans and the regulations regarding individuals with disabilities, there are now statistical reports that must be included in these AAPs. There is no requirement to provide these statistical reports to applicants or employees, and, again, we strongly discourage organizations from doing so.

    You asked whether your AAP needs to be "posted." There is no circumstance under which it needs to be posted (unless you are part of a university or other governmental agency that is required to post the AAP under state or local law). The AAP for veterans and the AAP for individuals with disabilities must be MADE AVAILABLE upon request for review by an applicant or employee. There is no requirement for posting. You are not even required to allow the applicant or employee to copy the AAP, nor are you required to provide a copy that the applicant or employee can keep.

    You SHOULD post the AA/EEO policy statement for applicants and employees to see. There are significant limitations on making AAPs themselves available, though.

    Like most things in affirmative action law, this requirement can seem somewhat confusing. Hope this helps.

     
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