On August 24, 2018, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued three new directives, as “part of the Department’s efforts to maximize the effectiveness of compliance assistance outreach.” One of those directives, 2018-07, “Affirmative Action Program Verification Initiative,” addresses OFCCP’s concerns
over affirmative action plan (AAP) compliance. This directive was a result of a 2016 U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) report.
In this report, the GAO noted that although contractors must develop an AAP within 120 days of commencement of a qualifying federal contract, there is, in fact, no real process for ensuring that contractors are meeting this requirement or the one to update an AAP annually thereafter. In fact, according to the report, approximately 85 percent of contractors do not submit a written AAP within 30 days of receiving a scheduling letter, which suggests to the OFCCP that some contractors are not preparing AAPs until OFCCP selects them for an audit. As the directive states, the OFCCP believes contractors are not concerned about developing their AAPs because there is “a small likelihood of discovery” if a contractor does not prepare AAPs in a timely manner.
Therefore, under this directive, OFCCP proposes to establish a verification program that would initially be a certification review, followed by potential compliance checks, and, perhaps, the annual submission of AAPs to OFCCP for review. Furthermore, the directive notes that the verification initiative will allow the OFCCP to incorporate AAP certification information into its compliance evaluation scheduling methodology. This is designed to make it more likely that contractors that have not developed and maintained the required AAPs will be scheduled for a compliance evaluation.
It is important to note that while this directive lacks specifics, OFCCP is undoubtedly looking at making AAP verification as a fundamental part of its compliance efforts moving forward. As such, contractors that have never prepared an AAP or ones that are not completing an annual update should begin planning accordingly for this new initiative. If you need assistance with developing or updating your AAP, the MBA Human Resource Services department can help you.
The MBA will continue to monitor this initiative and provide details as the OFCCP prepares its public outreach and education campaigns.