It’s all About Prevention: EEOC & OFCCP Compliance

May 23rd, 2014 by David Rothschild Leave a reply »

Human resources professionals need to keep track of many moving parts in the course of their job every day, from understanding what kind of talent is currently available to new developments in their industry. One crucial area where it is vital to stay on top of things is maintaining compliance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance.

Often it is too late for companies to comply with the EEOC or OFCCP once they are being audited, which underscores the importance of preparing for compliance ahead of time just as you would prepare your financials in the general accounting department.

Not only do you need to prepare to avoid problems with regulators, you have to address equal employment issues from a public relations standpoint.

For example, Google’s annual shareholders meeting was disrupted in May by angry demonstrators led by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, protesting the low number of blacks, Latinos and members of other minority groups hired by the search engine giant. In response to the criticism, Google announced that it would make transparent the number of minority employees it has hired, according to a recent report in the San Jose Mercury News.

Any private employer with 15 or more employees working 20 or more weeks each year is subject to federal law regarding Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Complying with these requirements includes treating everyone fairly no matter what their religion, sex, race, national origin or disability, noted a recent article in the Houston Chronicle. The best approach is to establish a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination and harassment. This means disciplining employees who fail to meet your anti-discrimination policies so you can prevent violations from occurring.

Part of planning ahead includes setting up a records retention program. You must maintain records (payroll, benefits plans and any records of your merit system) for a year after terminating an employee in order to remain in compliance with the equal employment regulations. Details about your pay rates must be stored for two years.

It’s also a good idea to verify that your applicant tracking system is always updated to the latest version. For example, the application tracking system from Newton has an enhancement to take into account all applicable changes to Section 503 and VEVRAA regulations. It improves the voluntary self-identification capability to accommodate the rights of war veterans, for example, and explains the application process better to your job applicants.

Prudent hiring managers will want to make every effort to plan ahead to avoid running into any pitfalls in complying with EEOC and OFCCP requirements as they recruit and take on new employees. This is essential both in terms of avoiding discrimination lawsuits and damaging your reputation in the marketplace.

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