What is a Conciliation Agreement?
As a federal contractor, your Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) may be subject to an audit by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). The audit will begin thirty days after you receive the scheduling letter when you electronically submit your AAP, and the desk audit phase will begin. The OFCCP will evaluate your AAP and request additional documentation regarding any potential concerns, including any possible indicators of discrimination. If further data submission does not address all of the OFCCP’s concerns, they will escalate the audit to an onsite review.
Once an OFCCP audit finally concludes, the possible outcomes are as follows:
- The contractor receives a letter indicating that no violations were found during the compliance evaluation process. If the contractor receives this letter, the company will not be subject to another audit for at least two years from the date of the closure letter.
- The OFCCP identified violations during the audit. The violations will be spelled out in a Notice of Violations, which will require the contractor to enter into a Conciliation Agreement. A Conciliation Agreement is a formal agreement signed by the OFCCP and the contractor’s top official, which outlines all identified violations and requires the contractor to implement specific remedies and formally report to the OFCCP for a specified time, typically in six month or annual review periods.
Once a federal contractor enters into a conciliation agreement with the OFCCP, many obligations need to be met to comply with the formal agreement entered into when the document is signed. These obligations begin from the moment the top company official signs the form. The signing official and the company’s EEO officer must understand the violations and specific remedies outlined in the conciliation agreement. The signed document will detail particular timelines in terms of reporting requirements and progress report due dates. It is crucial to begin implementing the remedies as soon as the agreement goes into effect so that the progress report due dates will meet the conditions. The progress reports that will be due to the OFCCP will cover specific reporting periods outlined in the conciliation agreement. To be compliant, the progress reports must contain documentation that details the actions taken to address each remedy outlined in the conciliation agreement.
The OFFCP will analyze progress reports in terms of the following criteria:
- Whether the progress reports are submitted on time
- Whether the progress reports include all required documentation
- How the progress reports demonstrate compliance with each of the outlined remedies
Once the terms of a conciliation agreement with the OFCCP have been met, contractors must continue with the requirements outlined in the contract as part of their overall compliance with the affirmative action obligations of a federal contractor.