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OFCCP Prepares to Send Out Another Wave of 10,000 Mandatory Equal Opportunity Surveys

  • December 17, 2004

In a move that surprised many in the federal contractor community, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has announced that it will send another wave of 10,000 mandatory Equal Opportunity Surveys by the end of December, 2004 to randomly selected federal contractors who have not been previously selected.

The Survey was developed at the end of the Clinton administration in 1999 and, ever since, has been the subject of controversy. The Survey requires submission of extensive and sensitive applicant, workforce and compensation data. Companies have often complained that the Survey is too cumbersome to complete and also fails to serve any useful purpose. Civil rights advocacy groups, on the other hand, assert that the Survey is a valuable tool in uncovering discrimination. In light of those disparate views, in 2002 the OFCCP hired a consulting firm to help analyze whether continued use of the Survey is warranted. Hoping for the results of the consultant's study before the end of this year, OFCCP Director James admitted waiting "until the last minute" before deciding whether to send this latest wave of Surveys. Unfortunately, for both the OFCCP and federal contractors, the consultant's work will not be completed until sometime in early 2005. The OFCCP now is rushing to comply with regulations which mandate that a substantial number of Surveys be sent out annually.  

SPECIAL NOTE: Like previous waves of Surveys, the Surveys for each company will be sent in a single package to the company's corporate office and addressed to the same generic job title, "Chief Executive Officer." The actual name of the person who is the CEO (or equivalent position, such as President) will not be included. Therefore, it is imperative for corporate human resources or in-house counsel to notify the CEO's office about the Surveys and to obtain the Surveys as soon as possible.

Once received, companies must diligently complete the Survey or needlessly risk raising the OFCCP's ire. The OFCCP has threatened to bring enforcement proceedings against companies that refuse to provide the required information.

The Survey requires a company to submit wide-ranging and often burdensome workforce data, including a "fixed-date" workforce "snapshot" and 12 months of extensive personnel activity data – applicant flow, new hires, promotions and terminations – for all full-time employees. The Survey continues to utilize an extremely broad definition of "applicant" and requires the submission of highly sensitive compensation information. Such information can permit the OFCCP to conduct rudimentary pay analyses and identify adverse impact trends in a company's employee selection process.

©2004 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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