Our Affirmative Action Practice involves reviewing government affirmative action programs (AAPs) prepared by clients or their consultants, as well as efficiently preparing such plans for clients ourselves, with our clients’ help. Our use of the latest affirmative action software and firm paraprofessionals allows us to prepare AAPs at a very competitive price, which creates efficiencies when we assist clients in readying their plans for audits by the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) or a similar state agency. All of our AAPs are reviewed by experienced attorneys before completion. View People
One of our attorneys founded in 1993, and chaired until 2004, the Industry Liaison Group (ILG) between the district office of OFCCP and local government contractors. Pam Ploor, who leads our Affirmative Action team, has been active in the ILG since its founding and is a leading attorney advising employers in the area of affirmative action in her location.
We regularly advise clients and represent them during audits of AAPs all across the nation. Two areas of OFCCP’s focus are alleged discrimination in hiring and compensation during audits. The OFCCP may very well issue a Notice of Violation (NOV) ordering a contractor to hire numerous applicants, with back pay, or, if it finds pay issues involving current employees, order significant wage payments to the allegedly affected individuals. We have been very successful in achieving favorable outcomes for clients that faced audits, even very challenging audits such as where the client was not complying with any of its obligations before receiving notice of the compliance evaluation.
We also advise Health & Life Sciences clients that are increasingly being subjected to OFCCP audits through their receipt of TRICARE reimbursement and participation in provider networks related to federal government health plans. We help these clients steer clear of unintended OFCCP coverage and strategize on resolving audits without conciliation agreements or with as few reporting obligations to OFCCP as possible. We also help these clients address their Civil Rights Compliance Plan (CRCP) obligations related to equal employment opportunity and equal service delivery.
Guidance During OFCCP Audits
A Quarles & Brady client unwittingly became a federal contractor and was audited by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). The client had not complied with the OFCCP’s record-keeping and job posting obligations or engaged in any outreach to women, minorities, covered veterans, or individuals with disabilities. The OFCCP gathered the needed information from the client and then issued a Notice of Violation and draft conciliation agreement. The proposed conciliation agreement outlined 10 pages of obligations and required reporting to the OFCCP for two years. The client then sought advice from us regarding the audit. We objected to the OFCCP’s proposed conciliation agreement and talked to the agency about our objections to the agreement and the OFCCP’s approach. Based on our advice, the client declined to sign any conciliation agreement with the OFCCP. Less than two weeks later in 2011, the OFCCP administratively closed the audit without a conciliation agreement or reporting obligations to the OFCCP.
Saving Clients Time, Money, and Effort
A health care client had combined several hospital and clinic facilities owned by multiple, but related, legal entities into one affirmative action program (AAP). The client submitted the entire AAP to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) after the OFCCP issued a scheduling letter to only one of the client’s clinics. The OFCCP announced that it found a significant shortfall in minority and female hires in various job groups and was on the road to requiring the hiring of numerous rejected applicants along with payment of multiple years of back pay for each applicant.
The client called us. We convinced the OFCCP to halt its investigation and obtained administrative closure of the review. The alleged problem areas related to facilities and/or legal entities other than the one that the OFCCP scheduled for audit. We convinced the OFCCP that it did not have jurisdiction over these other facilities and entities. We provided the OFCCP with a revised AAP covering just the facility that originally had been scheduled for the audit and showed that no discrimination had occurred at that facility. We saved our client significant time, effort, and money, being that it did not have to try to defend its allegedly discriminatory hiring practices at other facilities and by other legal entities.
Defense Against Notice of Violation
One of our manufacturing clients received a notice of violation from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) alleging that over 50 minority applicants had been discriminatorily rejected, and seeking back pay for all of them. Through a proper statistical and comparator analysis, along with detailed explanations of the company’s hiring practices, we were able to convince the OFCCP to completely drop the allegations of discrimination and close out the audit, saving our client hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Arguing Against OFCCP Allegations
A manufacturing client was faced with findings by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) of alleged discrimination in compensation for female mid-level managers and professionals. The firm analyzed its compensation practices and convinced OFCCP to withdraw the allegations and close out the audit based on our statistical analysis, and analysis of individual male and female comparators, which considered job history, department, function, and market data.
Competent Defense When You Need It
A client called us when it learned its sales manager received an audit letter from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) 11 months earlier but never informed anyone else at the company. The OFCCP called and threatened to issue a show cause notice based on the company’s lack of response. We became involved in the audit and told the OFCCP that we would provide a plan to the OFCCP in 30 days. We quickly and efficiently prepared the plan for the client, and the OFCCP administratively closed the audit without any violations a few months later.