OutSolve reviews audit trends for the new year
A new year brings new Affirmative Action Plans.
And those new 2016 plans are in the process of being scrutinized and reviewed by the OFCCP under a series of audits and compliance reviews OutSolve is seeing.
As part of an effort to keep customers abreast of the critical priorities in the compliance process, we’ve put together a trend map of what’s taken place over the past three months as the OFCCP undertakes its directives for the New Year.
While there hasn’t appeared to be a glut of new scheduling letters touching more contractors, the depth of each compliance review requires human resources staffs to dig deeper in an attempt to come up with the necessary data to prove they’re not discriminating.
In 2014, not only did the OFCCP double the initial data required on its audit scheduling letter, growing from 11 items to 22, the agency also doubled-down on its existing pattern of asking for additional information without giving specific examples or narrowing down the scope of potential problem areas.
Since December of 2015, OutSolve’s staff has received secondary requests for information (beyond the initial audit scheduling letter) on more than 85 percent of audits that have come in. In more than 70 percent of these cases, the OFCCP declined to specify any particular area of concern that prompted the additional request and instead asked for plan-wide data. While trending down from 2014 and early 2015, comprehensive compensation data is still near top of the list for common requests. And there are also frequent questions regarding applicant data and further breakouts regarding transactional data, most prominently featuring hire and applicant numbers.
But that’s nothing new.
However, the more pressing development from the OFCCP is asking for lengthy lists regarding proof of job listings, policy dissemination and outreach communication that have been seen in more than 75 percent of the audits undertaken by OutSolve over the past 90 days. These requests go well beyond listing simple evidence of contact with state unemployment services. The following requests were seen by OutSolve consultants consistently over the past 90 days:
- Policy ensuring accommodation for religious observance and practice
- Proof that employees were informed of location the AAP was available for review
- Description of pregnancy leave and pregnancy-related illness and how they compared to the accommodations for medical leave
- Proof of outreach to any protected groups with actual job listings
- Letters of resignation on voluntary terminations
- Copies of purchase orders
- Copies of self-identification forms
- Questioning whether the applicant log provided include all expressions of interest
So, as OFCCP compliance officers start digging less into complicated data and more into simple yes/no methods of compliance, it allows them to judge audits faster and make quicker decisions about whether a contractor is in violation of a particular law. These are also simple steps for contractors to follow and quickly get into compliance without any kind of system overhaul or exhaustive expansion of HR. Both compensation and adverse impact reviews are still relevant, but OutSolve’s experience shows a priority at this time is stay straightened up on documentation in order to significantly cut into the OFCCP’s most effective, straightforward and trending questioning.