Thirty days – calendar days – is a very short time to get a submission together for OFCCP, but it's not the time to cut corners. One of the most effective ways to avoid a protracted review is to ensure that the data you submit is comprehensive, accurate, and is internally consistent. You do not want to be correcting data after it has already been sent to OFCCP, as OFCCP tends to presume that corrected data is submitted to hide a problem discovered after the "real" data was received.
Ensure Comprehensive Data
First, ensure that your data includes everything you need for analysis. Review your original data used to complete the Affirmative Action Plan. There are several questions you need to consider:
- Did you include everyone that should be included? OFCCP requires the inclusion of any people who work more than three days. Part-timers and seasonal workers should also be included. Don't neglect the top of the organization. The CEO must be included, too.
- Are you missing any data? In Excel, use a filter to see where missing data may be located (race, disability status, etc.). Make every effort to "fill in the blanks" – even if the field is "unknown."
- Is your compensation annualized? The salaries of part-time employees must be annualized to ensure proper comparison to full-time employees. If the pay scale is different for employees who are part-time, you will need to make note of that in your submission.
- Did you use the new census data? Affirmative Action Plans which cover periods beginning January 2014 (and later) must use the new 2010 census data for availability estimates. This can be accessed at: http://www.census.gov/people/eeotabulation/data/eeotables20062010.html
- Are job groups appropriately established? Titles should have similar levels of responsibility, rates of pay, and opportunities for advancement. Also, job groups should not include more than one EEO-1 category. Organizations with fewer than 150 employees may use EEO-1 categories as job groups. It's OK to have a job group with one person in it, if they are truly distinct. For example, if your only service worker is the janitor, you will have one person in that job group.
- Are job titles distinct? Job titles should not exist in more than one job group. If they do, it's best to add a clarifying term to distinguish dissimilar positions which have the same job title.
Internal consistency is critical. Ensure that employees in one data set have the same descriptive information on all other data sets.
Start with the Beginning of Year (BOY) data, add the hires, take out the terms, and see if it matches the End of Year (EOY) data. Verify the following:
- Everyone on BOY (and Promos) is on Terms or EOY
- Everyone on EOY (and Promos) is on BOY or Hires
- Everyone on Hires is on EOY or Terms
- Everyone on Terms is on BOY or Hires
Ensure that the hire and applicant data is internally consistent, too. Verify that all hires are on the applicant list, and all applicants are included for all hires that started during the data year (the year of data used for analysis). This sounds obvious, but many contractors pull their applicant data based on the data year. For a calendar year AAP, hires who begin employment in January will likely have applicants associated with that position who applied the previous calendar year. Likewise, there will be many people who applied during the data year whose ultimate selection(s) began the following data year.
Finally, be sure to annotate your anomalies in your initial submission. If you have one employee whose position was eliminated, and they are now paid considerably more than their current counterparts, make a note of that when you submit your compensation the first time. If the anomalies in your data are not explained when you submit your data, OFCCP will likely ask for a broader range of data than if the anomalies had been explained. Further, it puts you, the contractor, in a defensive position very early in the process.
"Getting it Right the First Time" is a strategy that may involve an additional investment of time and resources on the front end, but the savings on the back end are exponential. If you help OFCCP understand your data, they will have fewer questions, and consequently fewer additional data requests. This will also reduce the possibility of an on-site investigation and keep the length of the audit to a minimum.
For more information on how to reduce exposure in OFCCP audits, please contact Marilynn Schuyler at Schuyler@SchuylerAAP.com.
Please note: nothing in this article is intended as legal advice or as a substitute for any professional advice about your organization's particular circumstances. All original materials copyright © Schuyler Affirmative Action Practice.