DCI has recently seen an increase of audit “pre-requests,” in which a compliance officer requests that a contractor submit additional items to those found in the Itemized Listing. This request is made by OFCCP prior to receiving the contractor’s desk audit submission and asks for items that often appear in an early post-submission request, such as job listing evidence, copy of VETS reporting, copy of employee handbook, etc. It’s unclear whether these requests are consistently asked of all contractors audited through particular district offices; however DCI has seen some consistency of items in such requests.
There are some concerning aspects to these “pre-requests,” including the following points:
- Although these items are typically requested post-desk audit submission, there is no Office of Management and Budget (OMB)-approved form to request these items of all contractors. When requested before receipt and review of a contractor’s submission, these items appear to be a more indiscriminate solicitation, similar to an OMB-approved information collection request (ICR).
- Following the previous point, these requests are typically presented as though they are required as part of the desk audit submission and many contractors may not understand they can (and often should) request extra time to fulfill the request or explanation of why certain items are being requested.
- In spite of providing some helpful tips as part of these requests, some of the guidance provided by the compliance officer is incorrect or may be confusing. For example, we have seen guidance noting that hiring numbers with 1:1 selection to pool ratios, or small ratios, are not to be included in the submission. This implies that in all instances a 1:1, or small, hiring ratio would be incorrect or a violation of the regulations, yet we know that in some cases this scenario occurs for legitimate reasons; see this blog for additional exploration of this topic.
Because these “pre-requests” appear to be increasing in frequency, contractors are advised that if they receive such a request for an establishment, begin by engaging with the compliance officer. Outright denying access to requested materials is not recommended; however, DCI does recommend acknowledging receipt. Contractors should work with the compliance officer to determine a different submission date and/or politely request that OFCCP first review the desk audit package once delivered, before requesting items that are not a part of the OMB-approved scheduling letter and itemized listing.
By Jana Garman, Consultant, and Amanda Shapiro, Senior Consultant at DCI Consulting Group