Best Practices, Proposed Regulations and Surviving Audits Emphasized Throughout Compliance Track Sessions at DirectEmployers 2012 Annual Meeting & Conference

The DirectEmployers 2012 Annual Meeting & Conference (DEAM12) offered a track specifically designed for HR professionals responsible for OFCCP compliance. Members, consultants and attorneys discussed best practices, preparing for proposed regulations, what OFCCP does with data and diversifying candidate pools while navigating compliance requirements.

Although attending provides more information and networking opportunities, I wanted to go back and share some highlights from each session and identify a key takeaway or action item that you can apply to your strategies and teams. (Please note that the information below is not intended to serve as legal or other advice and readers should always consult with counsel before taking any actions.)

Jolene Jefferies of DirectEmployers, accompanied by Marian Monnig of Sprint and Stacy Bayton of CASY/MSCCN, kicked off the compliance track by outlining how employers can prepare now for Section 4212 and Section 503 proposed regulation changes. Marian shared proactive measures implemented by Sprint’s Compliance Team to help attendees see how recommendations could be applied from an employer’s perspective.

Takeaway One:
Employers should conduct a gap analysis now by addressing the following questions:

  • How prepared is your company to meet all the requirements as proposed in the regulations?
  • Is your company doing more than merely posting open positions?
  • What can you start to do NOW in anticipation of the final rule?

Cindy Bruner and Laura Harlos, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air walked through their candidate attraction roadmap for 2012-2013 in addition to key metrics, internal and external outreach methods, and their diversity and inclusion strategy.

Takeaway Two:
Five tips to build a diverse pipeline of candidates:

  • Have a solid plan (External, Internal)
  • Know your AAP and company goals
  • Understand you levers and resources
  • Automatic outreach helps free you
  • Measure effectiveness (Diversity Scorecard)

On the second day Lisa Kaiser, Kairos Services and Shafeeqa Watkins Giarratani, Fullbright & Jaworski L.L.P. gave a unique perspective with their presentation, “Behind the Scenes: What Does the OFCCP Do With Your Data?” They explained how the OFCCP builds a database using all data sent by the contractor, the numbers OFCCP uses to run its IRAs and the various analysis used to review things such as hiring patterns and favored and disfavored groups.

Takeaway Three:
To prepare for an audit:

  • Review adverse impact by AAP, job title and grade
  • Decide now how data will be submitted in desk audits and any “extra” factors that will be provided
  • Review outliers and determine explanations
  • Establish defensible pay practices
  • Document pay decisions
  • Investigate complaints promptly
  • Train, train, train!

Mickey Silberman of Jackson Lewis gave attendees a look at the shifting landscape of compliance. He highlighted that the EEOC’s primary enforcement objective is to, “Eliminate Systemic Barriers in Recruitment and Hiring.” He walked through a sample adverse impact analysis and illustrated how good results can still trigger the OFCCP to further investigate results as evidence of adverse impact against non-minorities. He also examined three recent hiring discrimination settlements.

Takeaway Four:
Strategic disposition codes can help employers clarify:

  • When? What stage did the candidate fall out?
  • Why? Why did they fall out?
  • Who? Who made the decision?

The last day of DEAM12 brought two more sessions around compliance. Jeff Baker and David Scheffler of Pinnacle Affirmative Action Services asked employers to consider whether their applicant tracking system (ATS) is putting their company at risk during a future OFCCP audit.

Takeaway Five:
Five things to review to be better prepared for an audit:

  • Disposition codes
  • Recruitment steps
  • Applicant history
  • Definition of an applicant
  • Job postings

Candee Chambers of Cardinal Health and Beth Ronnenburg of Berkshire Associates concluded the compliance track by taking a closer look at successful OFCCP audit management. Candee and Beth covered pre-audit notification preparation, data verification, detailed AAP settings review and AAP results review.

Takeaway Six:

  • The culture today with the OFCCP is more of a ‘we vs. them’ approach
  • They have an expectation that they will find discrimination in one form or another in each audit
  • Audits will extend for an unlimited period of time so the CO can revisit areas already discussed and agreed upon
  • OFCCP is now acting as a true enforcement agency
  • Build relationships with your Compliance Officers helping to shift to a more collaborative relationship away from the ‘we vs. them’
  • Remember, we should all have the same goal: Proving our companies are not discriminating!

Thank you again to all of our amazing compliance track speakers. If you want to demonstrate your compliance expertise, please visit the presenter section of the DirectEmployers 2013 Annual Meeting & Conference (DEAM13) website. Members can access all DEAM12 presentations in Pipeline and connect with fellow Members including presenters Marian Monnig, Candee Chambers and Jolene Jefferies.

We want to hear from you. Please comment below and tell us what keeps you up at night regarding OFCCP compliance?

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