An Affirmative Action program is a management tool designed to ensure equal employment opportunity. The programs are required as per regulations placed by the US Department of Labor. These regulations are described in Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam War era Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974. However recent developments in the US Department of Labor have resulted in new regulations be emplaced. These regulations have been specifically targeted towards Federal Government Contractors and their rules in complying with AAPs. As of August 24, 2018, the Federal Contract Compliance Programs or OFCCP (part of the Department of Labor) issued a new directive. Called Directive 2018-07, the directive’s intent is to verify whether contractors are complying with their affirmative action program (AAP) requirements. The new directive will include:
- Annual certification of compliance with AAP requirements by contractors.
- Revising the neutral scheduling method to increase the likelihood of compliance reviews for contractors that failed to give certification.
- Compliance checks to verify contractor compliance with AAP requirements.
- Requesting the AAP from contractors that request extensions of time to give support data in response to a scheduling letter for a compliance review.
- Eventually, the annual collection of AAPs from federal contractors.
The directive is a result of an US government study that estimated that up to 85% of government contractors do not support current AAPs. The reason for such a high rate of non-compliance is due to limitations in previous regulations which relies on the government contractor’s voluntary and unsupervised compliance. However, the contractor can be specifically targeted for a compliance audit. In addition, OFCP suspects that many contractors engage in “back-end compliance” by waiting to receive notice of an OFCP compliance audit and preparing their AAPs right after.
The new Directive is a new proactive shift in OFCP procedure and government involvement in company regulation. However, with this new shift comes the possibility of government overarching policies. Whatever the case maybe it is definitely a benefit for those who depend on AAP’s for equality and protection.