Just a few months ago, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs unveiled an important change to the way it would alert employers that had been slated for audit. The Agency announced it would forgo the mailing of advance notification letters to employers advising them of likely compliance reviews. Instead, OFCCP said it would move to a web-based notification system, publishing the list on the Agency’s website. In an about face, however, Jackson Lewis has learned that on November 14, OFCCP mailed in hard copy 1,762 Corporate Scheduling Announcement Letters (“CSALs”) to individual establishments identified for upcoming compliance reviews.
The CSALs provide employers advance notice of the locations targeted for OFCCP audit. Only after receiving a “scheduling letter” initiating an audit must an employer respond within 30 days by submitting its affirmative action plan to OFCCP. The CSAL does not initiate an audit.
OFCCP confirmed this is the first round of CSALs for the current fiscal year which began October 1, 2012. There were no Functional Affirmative Action Plans (FAAP) and no specifically identified Corporate Management Compliance Evaluations (CMCEs) included in this latest round of CSALs. OFCCP has not decided whether there will be a second round of notices.
OFCCP also confirmed the CSALs were sent directly to the facility to be audited, and consistent with the last round of CSALs, notifications were sent to every facility slated for audit. Prior to the previous round of CSALs, OFCCP sent a notification to an employer only if two or more of its locations were selected for review. As was the case last time, the CSALs are addressed simply to “Human Resources Director.” Thus, it’s imperative that employers notify field personnel to look out for these OFCCP letters and instruct them to forward the letters immediately to the responsible corporate official.
OFCCP said it is continuing to work through the technology issues associated with the transition to a web-based notification system. In addition, the Agency acknowledged it is considering recent feedback received from employer associations over confidentiality concerns with CSAL information being made generally available to the public, including unions, plaintiffs’ counsel, and other potentially adverse parties.
With President Barack Obama’s re-election, we anticipate OFCCP will continue its aggressive enforcement efforts. The Agency’s growing reluctance to grant extension requests is one aspect of this get-tough approach. Accordingly, employers who receive advance notification of a compliance review should take advantage of the “heads up” time and start preparing for the compliance review now.