Small businesses with Federal contracts have to be especially mindful of ensuring compliance with equal employment opportunity (EEO) requirements. The failure to comply with the EEO guidelines set forth in Executive Order 11246 (which prohibits employment discrimination by Federal contractors and subcontractors as well as federally-assisted construction contractors and subcontractors) may very well result in the cancellation of a contract, termination, suspension (in whole or in part), or the debarment of the contractor. As the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) requires contractors to engage in their own internal EEO compliance analysis, small businesses often run afoul of satisfying their obligations under Executive Order 11246.
To ensure compliance with the basic EEO requirements imposed by Executive Order 11246 -- and to avoid the wrath of the OFCCP – contractors should adhere to the following OFCCP guidelines:
Don’t Discriminate! Contractors must refrain from engaging in workplace employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Although most people think of intentional discriminatory acts, employment discrimination can also arise when a neutral policy or practice has an adverse impact on the members of any race, sex, or ethnic group.
Post an EEO Poster. Federal contractors must post OFCCP’s EEO poster in a location that is easily seen (e.g., a lunchroom, break room, or locker room).
Include an EEO Tag Line in Employment Advertising. Contractors should include a sentence in all solicitations and advertisements for employment stating that “all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex or national origin.”
Keep Records. Contractors must maintain their personnel records and employment records including job descriptions, job postings, job offers, applications and resumes, interview notes, tests and test results, written employment policies and procedures, personnel files, and time-keeping records.
Develop and Maintain an Affirmative Action Program. Contractors with 50 or more employees and a contract of $50,000 or more must develop and maintain a compliant affirmative action program (AAP).
Small businesses with Federal contracts should regularly review their EEO policies and procedures to ensure that they are compliant with Executive Order 11246. Certainly, given the potential penalties, it is better to be safe than sorry!