As the last few days before the new veteran and disability regulations go into effect, we wanted to take moment in our Countdown to March 24th Effective Date: Are you Ready to Flip the Switch series to help you clarify (and check-off) the obligations with respect to the various EEO notices, policy and posting requirements under the new rules.
The 5 notices to keep track of, each with different notice/posting requirements, are:
1. The EEO Clause (41 CFR 60-300.5(a) and 741.5(a).
The EEO Clause sets out the core affirmative action obligations. It is present in prime federal contracts, and must be disseminated by contractors to others. Each contractor must incorporate (at least by reference) the EEO Clause into covered subcontracts and purchase orders, as covered in this blog post.
2. The EEO Tagline (41 CFR 60-300.5(a)12 and 741.5(a)7).
The EEO Clause requires employers include an “EEO Tagline” in all job ads and solicitations which serves to notify job seekers that the contractor is an equal opportunity employer. Under the new regulations, employers must inform job seekers that they will receive consideration without regard to their “disability” or protected veteran status. OFCCP has said employers, at a minimum, must do so with so a reference to “disability” and “vets” in the tag line on job postings. – a “D” or “V” abbreviation is not sufficient.
3. The “EEO is the Law” Poster (41 CFR 60-300.5(a)9 and 741.5(a)4.
The EEO Clause itself requires covered contractors to post a notice of EEO rights for both applicants and employees. OFCCP recently clarified the notice is the “EEO is the Law” poster.
- Employees: the Poster must be physically posted for employees in conspicuous places (e.g. employee break-room) in a manner and format accessible and understandable to employees with disabilities. In addition to required physical postings, the Poster may be conspicuously included as part of the employee Intranet. Such an electronic posting will suffice to notify remote employees (if any) if the contractor: (i) provides computers to remote employees; or (ii) has actual knowledge remote employees can access the Intranet. Alternatively, the contractor may email the Poster to remote employees.
- Applicants: as we discussed previously, the Poster must still be conspicuously posted in a physical location if the contractor accepts walk-in applications. Moreover, contractors must now incorporate the Poster into their online application systems, such as through an electronic link to the Poster with an explanatory statement as to what the link lead to.
4. The EEO/AA Policy Statement (41 CFR 60-44(a) and 741.44(a).
In addition to the Clause and the Poster, contractors must have a separate EEO/AA Policy Statement with specified provisions, which must now indicate the support of the top U.S. Official, rather than the highest official at each contractor location. The Policy Statement must be included in your AAP and, in the words of the regulations, disseminated internally and externally.
- The Policy Statement must be posted on bulletin boards in a manner and format accessible to disabled employees, as with the Poster;
- Because contractors must also post the location and hours during which the veteran and disabled AAPs may be viewed by applicants and employees, some contractors include this information in the Policy Statement;
- It must be included in the employee handbook or otherwise made available to employees;
- If the contractor is a party to a union contract, the union must be notified of the Policy Statement and requested to cooperate with the policy; and
- In addition to other outreach and recruitment efforts for qualified veterans and disabled persons, contractors must send written notice of the Policy Statement to subcontractors, vendors and suppliers and request “appropriate action” on their part. (60-300.44(f)(1)(ii) and 741.44(f)(1)(ii).
5. Your EEO Policy.
Your policy manual and/or employee handbook undoubtedly also contains an EEO policy which may cover other statuses, such as marital status and sexual orientation. While your EEO Policy, the EEO/AA Policy Statement and EEO Tagline are not required to be consistent, it makes sense to do so in order to send a consistent status coverage message. However, the EEO/AA Policy Statement and your EEO Policy do not necessarily need to be the same document, and it may be preferable to keep them separate as your EEO Policy likely extends protections not covered by the affirmative action regulations.
Stay tuned tomorrow as we continue the countdown to March 24th. . .