You may have heard that the OFCCP is getting ready to send a wave of Corporate Scheduling Announcement Letters(CSAL) to contractors that have been selected for an upcoming compliance review. And the news may be making you very nervous. I remember the first time I received a CSAL and I got so nervous at the thought of an audit. But when I realized that we were doing the right things and were prepared to respond, it really wasn’t so bad.
So, first, breathe. Remember, the CSAL is not a scheduling letter that initiates the audit; it is just advance notification that your organization has been identified and may possibly receive a Scheduling Letter sometime during the scheduling cycle.That doesn’t mean throw the letter away and forget about it until the actual scheduling letter arrives. The CSAL is an advance notice and you should use this time to begin preparing to submit your Affirmative Action Plan and supporting documentation so you are ready when the scheduling letter arrives. I have received scheduling letters within weeks to several months of the CSAL. I have also received a CSAL that was never followed up with a scheduling letter. On the flip side though, it is also important to note that you could receive a scheduling letter without receiving a CSAL in advance at all.
Now, take another breath. Use this time before the CSAL’s arrive and the time you have after you receive your CSAL to prepare to respond should the dreaded Scheduling Letter show up in your mailbox.
What you will need to Submit:
What I did not realize before my first audit was that there is a form letter and the list of requested items is standard. Here is a link to a sample Scheduling Letter. A list of everything you will be asked to submit as part of the initial desk audit starts on page 4. Items 1-6 are your AAP and items 7-11 are the supporting documentation that you will be required to provide. NOTE: This sample was created prior to the new regulations so the list may change slightly, but this should be a good starting point.
Once you submit, your auditor may ask for additional information too, such as:
- A copy of your Employee Handbook
- A copy of a job advertisement showing that you use the EEO tag line (I imagine this will be a point of emphasis this year due to the changes to the regulations)
- A copy of job postings for all positions listed with that state
- A sample job application
- Copies of VETS-100 or VETS-100a filings (another one I think will be a major point of emphasis)
- A copy of your blank Self-Identification Form (and another item that I expect many auditors to ask for this year)
- A copy of a Purchase Order that includes the required EEO/AA clauses
- A boilerplate contract, to show the company has advised vendors and subcontractors with 50 or more employees of their obligation to develop an AAP
- A list of employees who requested accommodations and the actions that were taken
- A list of employees who requested maternity leave and the actions that occurred
- Whether you have any positions that have medical restrictions or physical requirements and whether those requirements are reviewed
- Whether any employees requested any reasonable accommodations based on religion or national origin
This is not an all-inclusive list by any means, but all are actual items that I have been asked for in the past. It is imperative that you educate your managers and recruiting, contracts and purchasing personnel on OFCCP and the obligations that the organization has to comply with the regulations. As you can see from the extensive list above, it would be very difficult to fake your way through a desk audit. Once you receive the Scheduling Letter, you will only have 30 days to respond with your initial submission. If your auditor follows up with additional requests, which is very likely, you will have to respond in a timely manner.
One last piece of advice, if you have multiple locations, know that your CSAL and Scheduling Letter will most likely be sent to the facility that is being selected even if your HR Department sits elsewhere. It is important that your field offices know that any mail from the OFCCP needs to be forwarded to your attention immediately. You can request an extension, but the approval of your request will really depend on your auditor.
If your AAP’s are aligned with the calendar year, you should be wrapping them up about now. If they are not and you feel like you do not have the resources to make sure it gets done, reach out to a third party, like Helios. You do not want to receive a CSAL or a Scheduling Letter and not be prepared to respond. The consequences of not being prepared could be detrimental to your organization.