Is Everyone Ready?

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)The OFCCP deadline for the newly etched in stone obligations (issued under VEVRAA and section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act) was March 24, 2014. This date applies to nearly all the new requirements in the final rules, with one important exception: those with AAP plans in place prior to March 24th can retain them in existing form until the end of their current AAP year. However by next year all AAP plans will have to use the new rules.

Changed veteran categories and disability provisions

One of the major changes are to be the creation of a “benchmark” by the OFCCP for the hiring of veterans. However, the OFCCP clarified that this benchmark is not a “goal”, much like those currently set in place as requirements for female and minority hiring. At the moment, it is not clear how these terms will differ in practice.

The current “other protected veterans” category has been changed to “active duty wartime or campaign badge veterans.” The term “protected veterans” is now used as a summary catch-all to encompass all the veterans groups covered by VEVRAA. A category for “pre-JVA veterans” (categories that existed before the 2002 Jobs for Veterans Act, such as Vietnam-era veterans) has been added to the nondiscrimination provisions of the final rules only. This is not in the AAP section. The term “disability” and certain nondiscrimination provisions of the Section 503 regulations have been revised to address the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA).

New language for “EEO tag lines” in job ads

All solicitations and advertisements for employees must state that all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to their protected veteran or disabled status and will not be discriminated against. The regulations do not say a generic “EEO employer” reference will suffice.

New Best Practices

First, ensure all critical HR personnel are aware of these changes and train them on how and when to make sure that they are implemented.

Second, audit and improve your corporate outreach and targeted minority recruiting efforts toward disabled and veteran populations by using specifically targeted minority community resources wherever possible. It becomes not only important but necessary to insure that your company efforts actually reach the targeted talent pool from which you are recruiting. This means not just talking diversity but being able to prove it. This is accomplished through proof as well as internal evaluation of your outreach programs.

Thirdly, insure that all applicants have equal access to any online application process. Consider incurring the cost of assistive technologies, which the OFCCP has codified as a “best practice.”

Fourth, re-evaluate current staffing procedures and resources both internally and externally. Will the current system handle the additional outreach obligations? Is the company’s AAP being updated to facilitate the new undertakings?

Last and certainly not least, adjust your budget accordingly. All of these new regulations will affect your corporate spending as they will increase your costs both in time and product. If your company has not recently reviewed and updated its job descriptions, now is the time. Outdated mental and physical requirements can create liability in an OFCCP audit.

About the Author

Mark Cohen has been working since 1995 to promote diversity and equality in the workplace through minority recruitment and community outreach. In his position as VP and Director of New Business Development at EqualityMagazines.com Mark has become a recognized authority on minority recruitment and compliance.

EqualityMagazines.com and its family of Diversity Recruitment Vehicles have been at the forefront of minority recruitment and compliance. Since 1997 they have been advocates of promoting diversity in America's workforce; bringing the vast and talented pools of African-American, Hispanic, veteran, and female workers to the companies that need them.