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Equal Employment Opportunity Requirements of a Federal Contractor or Subcontractor

By October 17, 2017 November 19th, 2019 Construction Law, Employment Law

Any construction company doing at least $10,000 of business with the federal government as a contractor or subcontractor is required to (1) ensure that it does not discriminate against any employee or prospective employee based on sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran, and (2) take affirmative action to ensure equal employment opportunity.  This means that all hiring and employment decisions, policies, programs and practices must be done in a manner so as to employ, train, retain and promote minorities, women, qualified individuals with disabilities and covered veterans.

Under the law, federal contractors and subcontractors must comply with 16 steps to ensure they use good faith efforts to meet affirmative action goals.  The 16 steps broadly require written equal opportunity policy development, dissemination, internal and external physical postings and continued review; implementation of discrimination complaint procedures; periodic meetings and evaluations with supervisors, managers and others with employment decision making authority; active recruitment efforts; detailed and diligent employee and applicant file maintenance; on the job training opportunities; promotion consideration and evaluation; and adverse impact analysis of the company’s policies.  The foregoing is just a summary, and it is critically important that all construction contractors review and implement the 16 steps found in 41 CFR Part 60-4.3(7)(a)-(p).  The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) monitors compliance with these requirements through an audit process.

Note that construction companies employing 50 or more employees with a government contract or contracts valued at $50,000 or more are additionally required to create and maintain an affirmative action plan.  The plan includes both a diagnostic component that analyzes the company’s workforce and a procedures component intended to identify specific programs and policies that apply the company’s good faith efforts towards affirmative action.

The U.S. Department of Labor, through the OFCCP, is intent on ensuring equal treatment for minorities, women, individuals with disabilities and protected veterans.  Review of outreach and recruitment efforts, pay differentials, representation of protected classes in each area of the workforce, reasonable accommodation efforts and internal manager and supervisor training are just a few of the many areas that the OFCCP is currently focusing on for compliance purposes.  Government contractors and subcontractors must (1) be diligent and continuously examine and update all hiring, retention and advancement practices, (2) publish and post equal employment opportunity information and taglines, (3) maintain detailed, comprehensive employment related documentation, and (4) generate genuine ongoing affirmative action efforts in order to avoid violations of applicable law. 

Author Faith E. Harrison

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