Affirmative Action Plan FAQ’s
Developing an Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) is an ongoing expense for federal contractors. For all but the largest companies, developing the in-house expertise required to prepare and conduct statistical analyses, as well as designing, implementing, updating, and defending the company’s affirmative action program cannot be justified.
Q. How do I select a consultant?
A. The AAP process can be overwhelming if you are not familiar with all of the foreign sounding reports, statistical analyses, legal terms, and never ending federal regulations; including the expectations in the event of an unavoidable OFCCP audit. Many contractors have said that the AAP process made them feel confused and overwhelmed. Our goal is to simplify the process for our clients.
At Career Resources, we believe that our clients should clearly understand that having an AAP, in and of itself, does not make them compliant. Rather, the determination of whether or not a company is compliant and will pass an OFCCP audit or face administrative and/or financial penalties is based on whether the commitments made in the AAP are implemented through the company’s systems, processes, and actions of managers. While teaming up with you on your AAP project, we will work with you to evaluate whether your systems and processes are compliant. If your systems and processes are compliant, your AAP will naturally be compliant.
When selecting a consultant, pricing is an important factor to consider. With tight corporate budgets, a human resources department can find itself with limited financial resources and may select a consultant based only on the lowest quote. Unfortunately, the quotes you will receive from affirmative action consultants can be all over the board making it difficult to use cost as a gauge in determining quality. As a rule, if the consultant is focused on selling you an Affirmative Action Plan which is guaranteed to be compliant, you should stay clear.
Other options when determining the best method of preparing your AAP include using an attorney or purchasing software to prepare the AAP yourself. As for using an attorney to prepare your AAP, the cost can be prohibitive. As for purchasing and using a software package, the cost, time, and lack of support and guidance are factors to consider. In addition, a software package cannot advise you in an audit or work with you to determine best practices. When selecting your AAP consultant,consider what the OFCCP focuses onin an audit as well as what your consultant is offering.
Q. How do I explain the need for an Affirmative Action Plan to my Executive Team?
A. The best place to start is with the regulations themselves and the ultimate consequences for not having an affirmative action plan.
Q. Who is required to have an Affirmative Action Plan?
A. According to the OFCCP, a service and supply contractor or subcontractor must develop an affirmative action plan/program for each of its establishments that have 50 or more employees and has a contract of $50,000 or more or has government bills of lading which total or can be expected to exceed (in any 12 month period) $50,000 or more. If your company serves as a depository of Government funds in any amount or is a financial institution that is a paying agent or issuing agent of savings bonds and savings notes in any amount.
Q. When should you begin implementing your affirmative action plan/program?
A. Your affirmative action plan/program must be developed within 120 days after the criteria above have been met and must be updated annually.
Q. Are there penalties for non-compliance?
A. Non compliance can mean many things and come in the form of both administrative and financial penalties, with the ultimate sanction being debarment from biding on future federal contracts.
Q. What are the hidden costs of not preparing an AAP or not implementing the AAP?
A. There are both hidden and realized costs associated with the EEO and Affirmative Action efforts of a company. Realized costs are easy to identify and for the most part are manageable. They are represented in time, effort and money spent on consultants, attorneys, and software. Hidden costs are represented by financial penalties associated with not strategically using your time, effort, and money and in the long run far outweigh your realized cost.
Q. How can we help with your Affirmative Action Plan?
A. With the Career Resources Value Solution
- The CRI Value Solution is a package of expertise, services, and training that designs and implements programs to bring your company into EEO-AAP compliance. CRI then mentors and trains your staff in the administration and execution of those systems to provide a long term, cost-effective EEO-AAP solution.
- Our top tier team of EEO-AAP professionals includes former Department of Labor Compliance Officers, seasoned and audit tested Sr. Staff, corporate diversity experts, federal contract experts, and legislative analysts. Our team delivers a comprehensive suite of services and solutions using a proven methodology that involves your Human Resources staff. The collaborative effort transfers knowledge to build your team’s expertise while it customizes the CRI solutions to your company’s requirements and objectives.
- Our team offers knowledge and experience comparable to the largest law firms at a fraction of the cost. The CRI solution, developed and executed by our joint teams, ensures your compliance with all relevant regulations. In an OFCCP audit, with the CRI Value Solution in place, your AAP will withstand OFCCP scrutiny.
- We monitor EEO and Affirmative Action legislation and agency enforcement trends to contribute ongoing support with regulatory bulletins, expert analysis, and up-to-the-minute alerts and recommendations throughout the year. We work with your team on the annual update of your AAP – without the burden and cost of developing and maintaining broad EEO-AAP expertise in-house.