What Employers Need to Know About Affirmative Action Audits

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Some employers think affirmative action refers to nothing more than making sure all job candidates have a fair shot at employment in their companies. This erroneous assumption costs companies millions of dollars a year in fines and bad publicity. Affirmative-action regulations actually require that federal contractors go beyond nondiscrimination practices and reach out to minorities, women, veterans, and people with disabilities to ensure they are aware of employment opportunities.

Here are 10 things auditors look for during an affirmative action audit:


  1. Problems with the company’s affirmative action plan (AAP) — If the audit has progressed from a desk audit to an onsite audit, it is likely auditors have found problems, or have questions or concerns with the AAP. Employers may need to hire an outside firm that specializes in creating AAPs.
  2. Ratios and employee compensation — Auditors will conduct Impact Ratio Analyses to determine the rates at which women and minorities are hired. Pay Equity Analyses will also be performed to ensure employees are being         equally compensated.
  3. Pursuit of people with disabilities/veterans — In April 2010, the OFCCP promised to increase and place emphasis on their expectations of employers in regard to recruiting people with disabilities and veterans. Auditors look for techniques such as on-the-job training programs and the use of military-focused recruiting firms. Hiring processes are also scrutinized to be sure they comply with accessibility requirements.
  4. Recordkeeping/forms — Auditors will want to examine the company’s I-9s and confirm that EEO-1 and VETS 100/100A filing requirements have been met.
  5. Tests — Auditors need to ensure that employment application tests aren’t biased toward or against any particular group of people. The DOL Website offers a guide to good testing practices.
  6. Recruitment of minority groups — Auditors want to verify that employers have actively pursued women and minorities in their hiring process. Employee recruiters need to keep records of communication with anyone (women’s colleges or the Urban League, for example) they have had contact with regarding             job openings.
  7. Interviewing/questions/prescreening — It is important that employees know the correct way to conduct employment interviews and that none of the questions are discriminatory because auditors will be closely monitoring this.
  8. Agencies/vendors/subcontractors — Auditors want to make sure all employment agencies, vendors, and subcontractors with whom the company does business are aware of and doing their part to fulfill the company’s commitment to affirmative-action compliance.
  9. Career sites/job postings — Auditors look for a good-faith effort on the part of the employer. Some employment Websites such as Careerbuiler.com offer OFCCP-compliance information to assist employers in posting jobs. Auditors also check that postings themselves don’t include any discriminatory language.
  10. Affirmative-action posters — An onsite audit will most certainly include a check for government-sponsored affirmative-action posters.


If employers have thoroughly examined the items on the list and are confident their companies are in compliance with all affirmative-action guidelines, they will be ready should the OFCCP auditors come knocking.

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