Tackling Affirmative Action (AA) Laws

September 15, 2012 in , , , ,

Affirmative Action (AA) regulations work hand in hand with those of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO). Affirmative Action guidelines were designed to administer equal employment policies, and to ensure that equal employment opportunities for covered veterans, individuals with disabilities, women, and minorities are recognized and executed in your business.

Federal contractors and subcontractors may be required to use Affirmative Action to prohibit discrimination and also take positive, results-oriented action to employ and advance the employment of minorities, women, disabled individuals, disabled veterans, and Vietnam-era veterans. Some employers are required to develop, implement, and maintain a written Affirmative Action plan.

The concept of Affirmative Action includes a number of laws and regulations designed to ease discrimination.

What laws and regulations are included in the concept of Affirmative Action?

Executive Order 11246 of 1965 states that employers with federal contracts or subcontracts of more than $10,000 are covered. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Federal contractors with at least 50 workers and contracts totaling $50,000 or more must develop and implement written Affirmative Action plans to identify and address any under-utilization of women and minorities.

Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 applies to federal contractors and subcontractors with contracts of $10,000 or more. Covered employers must take measures to employ qualified, disabled individuals. This Act also requires a written Affirmative Action plan from employers who employ 50 or more workers and have contracts of $50,000 or more.

Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) (as amended by the Jobs for Veterans Act of 2002) applies to federal contractors and subcontractors with contracts of $25,000 or more entered into before December 1, 2003, regardless of the number of employees. This Act also covers federal contractors and subcontractors with contracts of $100,000 or more entered into on, or after, December 1, 2003, regardless of the number of employees.

Overview for contracts of $25,000 or more entered into before December 1, 2003
Covered employers must take affirmative action in hiring and promoting special disabled veterans, Vietnam Era veterans, other protected veterans, and recently separated veterans (3 years) who serve on active duty or during a war campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized.

Overview for contracts of $100,000 or more entered into on or after December 1, 2003
Covered employers must take affirmative action in hiring qualified disabled veterans, recently separated veterans (3 years), Armed Forces Service Medal veterans, and other protected veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service in a war, campaign or expedition in which a campaign badge has been authorized.

Have an Affirmative Action Plan Ready

If your business is a covered employer, or anticipated growth is expected to place your business in this category, it will be important to create an Affirmative Action Plan (AAP). This management tool is designed to ensure that your business is in compliance with the regulations governing affirmative action.

Your plan should contain an investigative component that includes ways to evaluate the composition of your workforce compared to the composition of relevant labor pools. Include action-oriented programs with specific practical steps designed to correct any under-utilization of a protected class.

Effective plans may include internal auditing and reporting systems to measure progress toward achieving a workforce that is representative of the relevant labor pool. The plan should also ensure EEO by committing you as the employer to providing equal opportunities in every aspect of the employment process.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is responsible for enforcing Executive Order 11246 as well as other laws requiring written Affirmative Action Plans. The OFCCP also conducts compliance reviews where they will review an employer’s AAP. For more information, visit http://www.dol.gov/compliance/index.htm.

Affirmative Action is a part of our business landscape. Make sure you are prepared to meet the challenge and grow through a diverse workforce.

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