OFCCP? It’s Documentary, My Dear Sourcer!

11 05 2009

If you source candidates via the Internet, you need to be aware of EEO, AA, and the OFCCP.

I know, when it comes to the professional world, the superabundance of acronyms sometimes seems overwhelming—like a bizarre case of alphabet-induced vertigo. Even so, IMHO, the DOL’s FAQ page does have a rather WYSIWYG approach to the QAs pertaining to ASAP compliance with the ESA’s OFCCP regulation of EEO data for the CS. Check it out! It’s not just fluff.

Who or what is the OFCCP? It is a branch of the U.S. Department of Labor whose responsibility it is to monitor the compliance status of and resolve complaints against all employers having contracts with the Federal Government (Stony Brook University Glossary Of Affirmative Action Terms).

Since early 2006, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has been enforcing their February 6 ruling, which sets down explicit regulations on the collection, storage, and reporting of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) data for Internet applicants. The new regulations are specifically for contractors who do work for the Federal government, but I think the old adage holds true here. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. It is just another part of the long-established, national effort to eliminate prejudice in the hiring process, and the precepts behind it apply to us all, whether we are “Federal contractors” or not.

We Candidate Sourcers (CS) can actually see our part in all this when we familiarize ourselves with the rationale behind the OFCCP and its mission. I think the Department of Labor does a fine job of laying out the overall particulars of Executive Order (E.O.) 11246, which strives for equity in the arena of federally contracted employees. You can find the particular particulars relating to our neck of the woods as you peruse the Frequently Asked Questions page of the Department of Labor (DOL) Web site.

Because the OFCCP’s intent is to ban discrimination and to ensure that all individuals have an equal opportunity to become employed “without regard to race, color, sex, national origin, disability or status as a Vietnam era or special disabled veteran” (OFCCP Mission Statement), its star E.O. aims to prohibit Federal contractors from making unfair employment decisions on such bases. Furthermore, the Executive Order Program has an EEO Clause, which essentially requires contractors to take affirmative action so that everyone who applies to them for a job will be treated equally and without unfair bias.

Failing to adhere to OFCCP regulations is a serious matter and can land an employer in a lot of hot water. An audit, which could stem from either a discrimination claim or disparate ratios of minority vs. non-minority personnel within an employer’s organization, can be nightmarish…or it can be just another hurdle in the road. The difference lies in your preparation for such an occasion.

Like practicing preventive medicine (exercising good daily health habits and going to those regular check-ups), you have the power to adopt proactive measures as you source your candidates. Let me count the ways…. Save and archive, the following:

  • the search date
  • information about external databases and other sources you use to find resumes or names
  • all search criteria (include string search terms and any Boolean restraints)
  • the position you seek to fill, with full job details
  • resumes or job applications you view (especially of the candidate who meets basic qualifications or are considered by the contractor)
  • tracking notes related to each candidate (concentrate on prequalifying interview notes, whether you use e-screen, telephone, or other)
  • any notes concerning your rejection/prioritization of resumes

If it seems like a lot, consider various types of software that can automatically track this stuff for you. There are some good ones worth the expense, and as researchers, you will probably find one that suits your pocketbook. Weigh monetary cost against the time and frustration you save yourself.

The rest is up to your client, who should have a customized Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) in place. No one could reasonably challenge your selection of search criteria, as long as your terms are neutral and appropriate to the job description. Of course, there is always the expectation that those criteria do not produce disproportionate gleanings based on race, gender, or ethnicity.

So then, we can surmount this seeming beast by willingly and intelligently complying with those elements of it that even hint at directly affecting us, the CSs of the recruiting industry. Ready? Onward Ho (OH)!

 

Darlene Lamoureux is the owner and President of Data Mining & Solutions, LLC. Prior to starting DMS, Darlene was a stay-at-home wife and mother, striving to supplement her husband’s income by independently contracting short-term, computer-based projects and working in other modes of temporary employment because her availability to her family is very important to her. Starting DMS is a natural result of her collective academic and work experiences, affording her the ability to manage her God-given privilege to be at home and care for her family. Darlene has more than 25 years of research experience in a wide array of areas including academics, computer fluency, and cultural issues. She has done extensive research relating to adult education and distance learning and has helped to develop assessment items for a nationally recognized organization that specializes in career planning and workforce development.