If your company is one of the 1,000 federal contractor establishments (including prime contractors and subcontractors) that received a corporate scheduling announcement letter (a “CSAL”) from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (the “OFCCP”), you probably already know that, as a federal contractor, your company has many employment obligations beyond those applicable to employers in general. You should also be aware that the OFCCP, in sending these CSALs — which it is not required to do — is actually giving companies some extra time to make sure their practices are up to snuff. While not every company who has received CSALs will end up being audited, these letters provide companies a golden opportunity to review and, if necessary, correct their practices before the OFCCP comes knocking.
So what happens next? If you received a CSAL, you will have at least 45 days until the official scheduling letter arrives (which may not arrive at all if it turns out you’re not on the OFCCP’s audit list). Once that scheduling letter arrives, you must submit your Affirmative Action Program within 30 days. Given that things move pretty quickly once the scheduling letter arrives, it is highly advisable that contractors who have received a CSAL take advantage of the extra time, and conduct an internal review of their affirmative action programs now.
Conducting a review is especially important if the task of preparing your company’s affirmative action plan has historically been delegated to human resources consultants or lower level employees in your human resources department. Too often plans erroneously find disparities in the expected number of minorities or females in specific positions because the consultant relied on incorrect demographic information or conducted a flawed statistical analysis. Correcting these mistakes before you are audited is essential. Otherwise, your own affirmative action plans could be used against you in litigation.
And what if your company has not received a CSAL? The OFCCP may still initiate a review based on a contract award or individual complaint. While there may not be the same urgency to review your plans, if your company has not done so in the last several years, it may not be a bad time for a checkup.