OFCCP has posted two new resources on their Section 503 Focused Reviews web page to assist contractors with what to expect during the course of a compliance evaluation. The Sample On-site Guide and Sample Section 503 SCER (Standard Compliance Evaluation Report) contain information about the types of questions that will be asked, as well as policies and other documentation they will gather during the course of the focused review.
The sample On-Site Guide outlines the major take-aways for compliance officers as they prepare for the on-site review portion of the Section 503 review, including:
- Asking for the individuals responsible for the reasonable accommodation process;
- Understanding the process in which applicants apply for jobs;
- Collecting a blank application and screening questions, which ensures the proper self-identification form is being used;
- Collecting information about workplace policies and employee-lead groups.
The On-site Guide also outlines on-site activities that OFCCP is expected to perform, including the following:
- An entrance conference;
- A facility inspection, similar to a typical OFCCP evaluation, but with emphasis on Section 503 notices and postings; this also includes checking for the “EEO is the Law” poster and supplement, as well as observing facility specific disability access points such as ramps and elevators;
- Accessing employee handbooks and documents;
- Conducting employee interviews of special emphasis groups, reasonable accommodations committees/boards, employees who requested a reasonable accommodation, other employees, a short-term disability coordinator, individuals responsible for outreach and recruitment of IwDs, and individuals who screen applications, among others;
- A review of employee files;
- And a review of job descriptions for ensure compliance with 60-741.21(a)(7).
The On-site Guide directs compliance officers, under the heading of “Data Analysis”, to review personnel files for employees who indicated they requested a reasonable accommodation. Compliance officers are expected to review salary and promotion history to determine if disparities exist between the employee and other, similarly situated employees. There is not detailed guidance on how a compliance officer is to conduct this ‘data analysis’ nor does this section reference regulatory guidance on how to do so. DCI has written prior blogs on the limitations for conducting a robust data analysis for salary or adverse impact on this population.
Standard Compliance Evaluation Report (SCER)
The sample SCER is an internal OFCCP reporting document that the compliance officer must complete during a compliance evaluation. This Section 503-focused SCER contains similar information to those used in routine compliance evaluations, such as background information on the contractor and a checklist of AAP requirements. The Section 503 version also contains detailed questions around the contractor’s reasonable accommodation policies and employment data (note: the example not only includes percentages for individuals with disabilities, but also females, minorities, and protected veterans). What is interesting in the copy of this SCER is the reference to data for a certain geographic area (similar to the Census availability data found in Minority/Female AAPs). It also includes a section for Veteran and IwD geographic availability, presumably. This section is distinctly separate from the contractor’s employment data section. DCI ponders if this was simply a mistake borrowing from a former SCER, or if OFCCP is planning on utilizing the Disability Employment Tabulation data for the purpose of a compliance review. Example below:
Additionally, the SCER outlines the disability utilization goal “problem areas” including the compliance officer’s notes on the contractor’s action-oriented programs, progress, findings, and resolution. There are sections in the SCER dedicated to the assessment of each outreach effort, as well as the assessment of the totality of efforts, including a section instructing the compliance officer to examine the three-year trend in applicants and hires found in the contractor’s 44(k) analytics.
The final section outlines the ‘discrimination investigative results’ section for compliance officers to complete. DCI is curious if the salary and promotion ‘data analysis’ section noted in the On-Site Guide is applicable for this section of the SCER, and how OFCCP compliance officers will accurately and effectively evaluate such decisions in alignment with their regulations, outside of anecdotal evidence.
These resources are truly helpful for contractors that are anticipating a Section 503 Focused Review, as well as any contractor anticipating a compliance review or wanting to internally evaluate their program. These resources provide insight into the type of questions compliance officers will ask during the course of the desk audit and on-site review. DCI will continue to report out any trends they find during the course of these reviews, especially in terms of the enforcement of the discrimination investigative results section.
By Joanna Colosimo, Director of EEO Compliance, and Amanda Bowman, Associate Principal Consultant