Federal contractors’ compliance efforts are understandably focused on compliance with Executive Order 11246’s Affirmative Action Plan requirements for women and minorities. Covered employers often pay little attention to the veterans and disability discrimination provisions also mandated under federal law. Many employers use a “boilerplate” veterans and disabled applicant AAP, and do not take affirmative steps to assure compliance with these requirements.
The new Administration’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) may be signaling changes in its enforcement priorities with respect to these requirements. In recent audits, OFCCP investigators are asking contractors about steps taken to assure that disabled applicants are able to apply for jobs with the company. Specifically, any Web-based job application should contain specific language setting forth alternative ways for disabled applicants to apply for employment. This could include a mailing address or use of TTY equipment as alternative means to submit applications.
For veterans, OFCCP investigators are asking contractors for specific information regarding initiatives taken to increase recruitment of qualified veterans. These steps can include participation in armed forces sponsored recruiting fairs or job listings, or advertisement of vacancies in military-related publications.
Employers that may be subject to OFCCP desk audits this year should not ignore their veterans and disabled persons AAPs. Even though OFCCP will still concentrate on women and minority recruitment, these collateral issues could result in an otherwise compliant employer receiving notices of violations.