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2016 NILG Conference: 10 Affirmative Action Takeaways You Should Know

Earlier this month, HR Works, Inc. and other industry experts attended the National Industry Liaison Group’s 34th annual conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. Federal contractors and representatives from the OFCCP and EEOC came together to share news, discuss the regulations, and share best practices. Here are our top ten takeaway concepts:

LGBT rights remain on the forefront

The presence of transgender employees continues to increase in the workforce. To ensure a culture of inclusion and support, top management support is crucial. Don’t leave it to the LGBT individuals to educate their colleagues. Have resources available to all employees, and bring in experts to train the workforce in areas of sensitivity and harassment.

Focus on compensation

The OFCCP is continuing to analyze compensation from every angle. Documentation is key to protecting your organization. Track each type of bonus separately. Compare overtime eligible employees separately from those that are not eligible, and document employees who have been offered overtime but turned it down. If raises are based on performance, ensure that merit increases reflect performance reviews. Be prepared by analyzing your pay systems annually. Consult legal counsel if you think adjustments to compensation are necessary.

Document and assess

Does your AAP tell your organization’s story through written assessment of each local recruiting effort? Are you addressing underutilization through outreach and recruitment? Have you established effective ways of monitoring applicants or hires from local diversity sources? HR Works can provide you with tools to measure the effectiveness of your outreach.

Big numbers are bad numbers

Larger numbers are more likely to result in statistical significance, particularly when analyzing personnel activity and selection decisions for adverse impact. To safeguard against artificially high numbers, ensure applicants are dispositioned properly and are not being counted if they don’t meet the internet applicant definition. As steering cases increase, it is more important than ever to avoid general applicant pools especially for production, laborer, and operative positions. Let each applicant choose the position/requisition for which they would like to be considered – do not choose for them.

Can the new EEO-1 Report find practical utility?

That was the question posed by Commissioner Victoria Lipnic to NILG conference attendees, as she expressed doubt that the new wage and hour reporting requirements for employers with 100 or more employees would have any effect on the current wage gap. Comments and feedback were encouraged and could be sent to the Office of Management and Budget which is charged with ensuring the new EEO-1 Report achieves practical utility under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

Don’t leave any talent on the table

Patricia Shiu, Director of the OFCCP, stated that the regulatory agenda remains focused on hiring individuals with disabilities and protected veterans. Contractors were encouraged to set milestones and track progress beyond the minimum requirements.

Settle to avoid the blacklist?

The Final Rule for EO 13673: Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces is expected soon. If your organization is one of the estimated 22,000 contractors who holds a government contract of $500,000 or more, the impact will be felt across your organization as the proposed regulations require reporting of violations under 14 federal labor laws and many state equivalents. The question remains on whether federal agencies will use the order to their advantage by coercing private settlements from federal contractors so violations are not reported to the database.

 Low budget is contributing to low number of closed audits

The OFCCP is working under one of their lowest budgets in history and currently has just over 600 employees. As resources at the OFCCP decrease, Technical Assistance is decreasing and onsite audits are becoming rare. However, support data requests are becoming more detailed and compensation analyses are slowing down the audit process. As a result, less than 65% of the estimated 3,800 audits in fiscal year 2015 were completed within the year.

 Audit requests are increasing in scope and detail

The OFCCP is requesting more information to further its goal of breaking down barriers to employment and ending systemic pay discrimination. It’s becoming more common for the requests to include a wide range of data rather than specific points of interest. Requests may include all candidates who expressed interest in a position, job changes beyond the scope of the audit, and pay analyses. If employers claim that their pay analyses are privileged, auditors are requesting privilege logs or other documentation citing attorney-client privilege. If the request seems too broad, ask the auditor to pinpoint the area of concern to ensure timely return of requested materials.

Culture fuels harassment

Most companies strive for tolerance and acceptance in the workplace, but is your leadership setting the tone for inclusion within the organization? It’s reported that 30% of all charges filed with the EEOC are related to harassment. Employers need to stay aware of how their employees interact with each other and resolve any known issues, even if unreported. HR Works can help develop customized training for your organization that is effective for employees and supervisors.

Consider joining your local ILG for year-round information on affirmative action, equal opportunity employment, and non-discrimination. Visit the NILG webpage and click on “Regional ILGs” to find contact information for your local ILG.
The 2017 NILG conference will be held August 1-4 in San Antonio, TX. We hope to see you there!

HR Works is not engaged in rendering legal services. If legal advice is required, the services of a competent labor attorney should be sought.

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.