The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs Issues New Round of Corporate Announcement Scheduling Letters

In December 2011, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (“OFFCP”) sent out a new wave of Corporate Announcement Scheduling Letters (“CSALs”) to those federal contractors that have at least one establishment scheduled for a compliance review through September 30, 2012. Departing from past precedent, OFCCP has sent this round of CSALs to the individual who certified the employer’s EEO-1 report as opposed to the federal contractor’s designated point of contact with OFCCP.

What is the CSAL?

CSALs give federal contractors advance notice of those locations slated for OFCCP audit in the coming months. It is important to note that receiving a CSAL does not mean the OFCCP has initiated its audit; rather, the CSAL only identifies the federal contractor’s location or locations that are likely to be audited during OFCCP’s fiscal year, which ends on September 30, 2012. Only upon receipt of OFCCP’s “scheduling letter” does it mean that the federal contractor is being audited. When a federal contractor receives a scheduling letter from OFCCP, the federal contractor has 30 days to respond to OFCCP by submitting, amongst other requested documentation, its affirmative action plan(s) to OFCCP.

What Does This Mean for My Company?

Until December 2011, OFCCP has only sent CSALs to those federal contractors that had two or more establishments which were scheduled for audit. However, in this most recent round of CSALs, OFCCP sent CSALs to federal contractors that have at least one establishment likely to be reviewed in the coming months. Given this change in policy, federal contractors are unlikely to be granted an extension of time in which to respond upon receipt of a scheduling letter.

Those individuals who certified their company’s EEO-1 reports should keep an eye out for any letters from OFCCP or the Department of Labor (“DOL”). Those federal contractors that received CSALs should use this advance notice to carefully review its affirmative action plans and immediately begin preparing for an impending OFCCP audit, which can be a long and grueling process and continue for many months.

Federal contractors slated for OFCCP audit in the coming months should focus particular attention on any adverse impacts and pay disparities within its workforce. Taking the time now to investigate your employment trends and practices can allow a federal contractor to address and potentially remedy any weaknesses prior to OFCCP taking a closer look at those practices. Being able to recognize and potentially remedy any shortcomings in your affirmative action plans can go a long way in demonstrating good faith efforts to OFCCP. This can help you avoid entering into a potentially costly conciliation agreement or worse, paying substantial monetary damages for non-compliance.

Given OFCCP’s heightened scrutiny into federal contractors’ affirmative action obligations towards protected veterans and individuals with disabilities, employers should also ensure that all job openings are posted with their local state employment services and that all relevant veteran and disabled recruitment sources are notified of employment sources.

Additionally, earlier in 2011, OFCCP proposed a new scheduling letter. While OFCCP is still awaiting approval of this proposed scheduling letter, expected in 2012, federal contractors should begin preparing to submit the more expansive information contained in the proposed scheduling letter. Among other items, OFCCP’s proposed notice asks for more in-depth compensation data, which includes, in addition to base salaries, all bonuses and commissions paid to employees. Therefore, federal contractors should begin preparing to submit this compensation data to OFCCP if they have received a CSAL.

What Should I Be Doing Now?

If you are the individual who certified your employer’s EEO-1 reports, you should be on the lookout for any communications from OFCCP or the DOL. If you are not the individual who certified your employer’s EEO-1 reports you should ensure that the responsible individual is keeping his or her eyes open for any potential CSALs or scheduling letters from OFCCP.

If you receive a CSAL or a scheduling letter from OFCCP, you should immediately contact Leech Tishman for assistance with preparing for the impending OFCCP audit. Leech Tishman’s Employment Practice Group has extensive experience working with OFCCP, the DOL, and assisting federal contractors though OFCCP audits and affirmative action compliance.

Please feel free to contact the Employment Group with any questions regarding OFCCP, the recent issuance of CSALs, OFCCP scheduling letters, or any other employment law issue.

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