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Attention Federal Contractors OFCCP Revises Manual to Implement Focused Review

June 15, 1999
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Related Topics: Miscellaneous Legal Issues, Featured Article
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Federal contractors and subcontractors should note that the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has revised Chapter 2 of the Federal Contract Compliance Manual (Manual) to implement the "focused review." The focused review is one of the four compliance evaluation methods authorized under 41 CFR §60-1.20(a) and 41 CFR §60-250.60(a).

Background.
Governing regulations authorize four compliance evaluation methods:

  • Compliance review;
  • Off-site review of records;
  • Compliance check; and
  • Focused review.

However, the OFCCP has said in the past that it would not utilize any of the four methods until the procedures for implementing that method were included in the Manual. In September 1998, the OFCCP revised Chapter 2 of the Manual to establish procedures for implementing the "compliance check" method; with that addition, the Manual contained procedures for implementing the "compliance review" and the "compliance check." Now the Manual contains procedures for implementing the "focused review."

How will the focused review be implemented?
The revisions provide that all compliance evaluations, except compliance checks, will begin with scheduling a compliance review. In most cases, the results of the desk audit (the first phase of a compliance review) will determine whether an onsite review (the second phase of a compliance review) is warranted. Thus, a compliance review may:

  • close after the desk audit;
  • continue with an onsite review that is focused on one or more issues; and/or
  • continue with an onsite review that involves an examination of several issues.

An OFCCP compliance officer may close a compliance review after the desk audit phase only if the officer ensures that no outstanding substantive issues exist. To this end, the officer or district director may send a follow-up letter to request additional materials for review during the desk audit. The revisions provide that examples of these materials include:

  • "information on protected veterans to address the extent of affirmative action efforts on their behalf";
  • "substantive documentation of good faith efforts for job groups where goals have been established"; or
  • "an employee roster in order to conduct appropriate compensation analyses."

The compliance officer must proceed with either a complete or focused onsite review if:

  • sufficient data has not been provided to conclude the review of the desk audit;
  • there are indicators of problems that merit an onsite investigation and those problems cannot be addressed through document submission; or
  • the contractor is among the "small percentage" of contractors that have been identified for a complete compliance review. These contractors will be identified at the district office level in accordance with neutral selection procedures. According to the transmittal, these neutral selection procedures will be "distributed under separate cover."

A focused onsite review should be conducted "if problem areas are identified in personnel activity, compensation, or unresolved good faith effort issues." If the compliance officer identifies additional problem areas during the focused onsite review, the officer or district director may decide that a complete onsite review is necessary.

Cite: 41 CFR §60-1.20(a) and 41 CFR §60-250.60(a).

SOURCE: CCH Incorporated is a leading provider of information and software for human resources, legal, accounting, health care and small business professionals. CCH offers human resource management, payroll, employment, benefits, and worker safety products and publications in print, CD, online and via the Internet. For more information and other updates on the latest HR news, check our Web site at http://hr.cch.com.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion.

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