Less than a week ago, the Labor Department confirmed that OFCCP is adhering to its plan to send out the 2002 EO Survey later this year, despite urging from employer advocacy groups to abandon the survey. According to other sources, Charles James, OFCCP’s Director, has also confirmed that the 2002 EO Survey will be sent out this year and that its components will remain unchanged. What has not been confirmed, however, is when OFCCP plans to issue the 2002 Survey, although it may be as early as Labor Day. Nor has the Labor Department indicated how many surveys OFCCP intends to send out.
In its first "round" of EO Surveys, OFCCP sent out surveys to approximately 49,000 federal contractors in January, 2001, which accounted for about half of the federal contractor employer community. In response to an outcry from the contractor community, OFCCP had to push back the deadline it had originally established for submission of the Surveys. Since that time, not only have employers criticized the EO Survey because of the time required to complete them, but also serious questions have been raised regarding the value of the information reported in the Survey to either OFCCP or employers themselves. It is not known whether the survey will be used in selecting contractors for some form of further compliance review or audit.
What does this mean to your company? If none or less than all of your company’s facilities received an EO Survey in the first round, you may well be among those who will receive surveys in this next round, which could be mailed out in less than six weeks. In addition to requiring detailed information on compensation, the survey also requires information on the tenure of full-time employees, broken down by race and gender, as well as data on employment activity, including applicants, hires, promotions, and terminations by EEO category. If this personnel information is not readily accessible, it will require a commitment of time and resources to gather it so that it can be reported on the survey. In addition, all of the data should be carefully analyzed before the survey is submitted to determine whether any of the data is adverse. This will afford you the opportunity to address any problem areas, and, if possible resolve them before it is submitted and analyzed by OFCCP. This is particularly important as to compensation data.
In addition, this survey also may ask for the date of the current year’s affirmative action plan for the facility receiving the survey. If you do not have current affirmative action plans for all of your company’s facilities, they will need to be prepared prior to the deadline for submitting the survey so that the date of the plan can be accurately reported on the survey. Again, completing this task may require a significant commitment of time and resources.
We urge federal contractor employers, especially those who did not receive EO Surveys for all or none of their facilities in 2001, to "get ahead of the game" and ensure your affirmative action plans are updated and current, and that your employment data is readily available, analyzed, and problem-free.
If you have questions regarding OFCCP’s EO Survey, or if you need assistance in preparing for an EO Survey or any other aspect of your affirmative action compliance, please do not hesitate to contact Rosemary Lumpkins in the Atlanta office at (404) 525-8622, or contact your Constangy attorney.