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March 10, 2009

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From Affirmative Action Solutions,
Published by Business and Legal Reports

Every employer covered by nondiscrimination and equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws is required to have an EEO policy. The policy should be in writing. If not, the OFCCP - federal Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs - may issue a technical citation in the event of an on-site visit. The policy should be signed by the chief executive officer or head of your company.

What should be included in your EEO policy?

Your commitment to federal antidiscrimination laws. Every EEO policy should state the corporation's commitment to federal antidiscrimination laws and include a statement that the company will enforce all laws that protect employees from discrimination in the workplace. There should be additional language that all personnel decisions affecting the terms and conditions of employment--including recruitment, hiring, training, transfer, compensation, promotion, terminations, layoffs, tuition assistance, and social and recreation programs--will be made without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, or veteran's status, except if a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) exists.

Your commitment to state antidiscrimination laws. The corporation's commitment to state antidiscrimination laws should also be added to cover any classes or characteristics of employees that are protected by the laws of states (and municipalities) in which your company operates. For example, some states have antidiscrimination laws that protect employees on the basis of sexual orientation, marital or family status, and the presence of any illnesses or genetic traits such as HIV/AIDs and sickle-cell anemia.

Other statements that must be included. Additional statements must be made that overall responsibility for the EEO plan has been assigned to an EEO coordinator and to confirm the corporate and contractor commitment to EEO and to the affirmative action program. Include the name, title, and contact information of the person and department that maintains and monitors the policy. This is the person and the office responsible for answering any questions and the site where any alleged violations are reported. The procedure for reporting any violations should be spelled out so employees know what to do and where to go.

The EEO Poster. Your policy that "Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law" should be posted on your premises where it can be readily seen by employees and applicants for employment. A sample EEO poster is available on the U.S. Department of Labor's website at http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/ compliance/posters/eeo.htm. (There's a link below.)


You must disseminate your EEO policy both internally and externally.

To disseminate the policy internally:

  • Include the policy statement in your contractor's manual, company publications, annual reports, and published statements.

  • Conduct special meetings with management personnel and with all other employees to explain the policy and the individual responsibility for its implementation.

  • Discuss the policy at employee orientation and management training.

  • Include the policy in union agreements and contractual provisions.

  • Publish articles on the EEO program's progress and success in company publications.

  • Make sure your company advertising and printed material reflects your company's EEO commitment and diversity.

To disseminate the policy externally:

  • Notify all recruiting sources of the policy and ask that women and minorities be actively recruited for all positions.

  • Expressly state your Equal Opportunity (EO) policy in all employment advertisements.

  • Incorporate the EEO clause in all purchase orders, leases, and contracts.

  • Notify minority and women's organizations, community agencies and leaders, and secondary schools and colleges of the company policy.

  • Send written notification of the policy to subcontractors, vendors, and suppliers. Request that they, too, comply.

Exemptions to the EO clause

All contractors are required to insert an EO clause in their contracts, except for very limited exceptions:

  • Transactions less than $10,000 are exempt if the aggregate value of government contracts during a 12-month period does not exceed $10,000. (A written AAP for women and minorities is not required unless the contractor has at least 50 employees and contracts worth more than $50,000.)

  • Contracts and subcontracts for indefinite quantities. An employer with open-ended contracts, requirement-type contracts, federal supply schedule contracts, call-type contracts, and a purchase notice agreement reasonably expected not to exceed $10,000 in a 12-month period is exempt.

  • Work outside the U.S. contracts and subcontracts to be performed outside the U.S. by employees not recruited within the U.S.

  • Specific contracts and facilities may be exempt within the discretion of the OFCCP director only when special circumstances in the national interest so require.

Links

  • U.S. Department of Labor posters

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Filed Under: Workplace Issues
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