The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) recently published its Active Case Enforcement (ACE) protocol. The protocol gives to federal supply and service contractors a new road map of the various types and trigger points for compliance evaluations.

Retroactively effective to January 1, 2011, ACE requires that all (not just some) contractors selected for compliance evaluations receive enhanced attention upon initial submission to OFCCP of their written affirmative action programs (AAPs) and related documents.

Key Highlights

Among the highlights of OFCCP's newest directive:

  • Compliance checks are back. ACE categorizes each compliance evaluation as one of four types: compliance review, off-site review of records, compliance check, or focused review (such as compliance with disability and veterans' regulations).
  • As a quality control measure, every 25th compliance evaluation will be a full compliance review (desk audit, on-site, off-site analysis).
  • A compliance evaluation that begins as one type can transition to another type, depending on the "indicators" of discrimination found by OFCCP.
  • OFCCP will investigate both in-dividual and class discrimination allegations. A "class" may consist of two or more individuals.
  • Contractor establishments who undergo a compliance evaluation un-der ACE are exempt from another compliance evaluation for 24 months from the date of closure of the compliance evaluation.
  • ACE does not apply to construction contractors.

What To Expect

The ACE protocol comes on the heels of OFCCP's recent announcement that its FY 2012 budget will be used, in part, to attack contractors' misclassification of employees as federal contractors, to develop a methodology for electronic submission of AAP data, and to create a publicly-available, searchable web-based compensation tool to be used to identify indicators of pay disparities.

It is indeed a new day at OFCCP! Contractors and subcontractors are strongly encouraged to ensure that their AAPs and employment practices will survive OFCCP's scrutiny.