Affirmative Action Plans

Editor's Note: Employers receiving money from the federal government most likely need a written affirmative action plan (AAP) in place.

David B. WeisenfeldOverview: While there has been a good deal of debate over the future of affirmative action, some employers must still have a written AAP. These include:

  • Nonconstruction contractors or subcontractors with 50 or more employees and contracts of $50,000 or more;
  • Construction contractors with contracts valued at $10,000 or more; and
  • Employers under a court-imposed obligation to remedy past discrimination.

It is important to note that not all affirmative action requirements involve minorities and women. Under federal regulations, employers with $10,000 in government contracts must take affirmative action for individuals with disabilities under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Meanwhile, employers with such contracts of $25,000 or more must take affirmative action on behalf of veterans who served during the Vietnam Era.

An AAP should document the employer's equal employment opportunity (EEO) policy; explain why the plan is needed; avoid strict numerical quotas; and show how the plan will solve the problem of underutilization of protected groups without injuring the rights of majority employees. The employer also should designate a company officer who is responsible for reviewing, implementing and auditing the AAP.

The federal government oversees affirmative action planning through the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), which is a branch of the US Department of Labor. The OFCCP has the authority to provide remedies for affirmative action violations, including substantial cash settlements plus placing a ban on the receipt of federal funds.

Trends: A few states have prohibited the consideration of race in government hiring in recent years, but some of these bans are being challenged in the courts. The Supreme Court is considering a case, Fisher v. Texas, that could scale back the use of affirmative action plans by public colleges and universities.

Author: David B. Weisenfeld, JD, Legal Editor

Latest items in Affirmative Action Plans

  • New OFCCP Affirmative Action Rules: Employment Law Manual Updated

    Date:
    01 April 2014
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    New OFCCP regulations strengthen affirmative action requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors involving individuals with disabilities and protected veterans by setting hiring benchmarks.

  • New Affirmative Action Rules Focusing on Veterans and Individuals With Disabilities

    Date:
    25 March 2014
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    The Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has new hiring rules that affect an employer. These rules modify the compliance obligations under the Vietnam Era Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.

  • OFCCP Releases Revised Self-Identification Form

    Date:
    29 January 2014
    Type:
    News

    The Office of Management and Budget has approved a revised Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) form that federal contractors must use to invite job applicants and employees to self-identify their disabilities.

  • New York Governor Signs Veterans Employment Act Into Law

    Date:
    21 January 2014
    Type:
    News

    Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Veterans' Employment Act, which will give veterans preference in being hired for temporary state jobs. This staffing decision affects the for-profit temporary employment services agencies that had usually filled the state employers' contingent employee needs while civil workers were on vacation or leave.

  • Upcoming Baltimore Affirmative Action Law Added to Employment Law Manual

    Date:
    04 December 2013
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    A new City of Baltimore, MD affirmative action law places new hiring requirements on employers benefiting from city contracts above a certain amount.

  • Date:
    03 December 2013
    Type:
    Legal Timetable

  • Podcast Provides Guidance for Employers on New OFCCP Rules

    Date:
    09 October 2013
    Type:
    News

    Federal contractors and subcontractors will soon face big changes to their affirmative action requirements when it comes to hiring individuals with disabilities as well as veterans. In a new XpertHR podcast, Baltimore employment attorney Peter Saucier, of Kollman & Saucier, discusses the OFCCP's new rules and chief compliance challenges for employers.

  • Affirmative Action and Employment Cases Dot the Supreme Court's Docket

    Date:
    07 October 2013
    Type:
    News

    The Supreme Court's new term opens today, and several cases with possible implications for employers are on the schedule. Highlights include a dispute involving Michigan's affirmative action ban plus a case that could place hundreds of National Labor Relations Board decisions at risk.

  • OFCCP's Rules Changes Bring Big Implications for Contractors

    Date:
    03 October 2013
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has issued a pair of final rules that will place added affirmative action requirements on federal contractors and subcontractors regarding individuals with disabilities and protected veterans. This podcast features longtime management-side employment attorney Peter Saucier discussing compliance challenges facing employers.

  • EEO - Affirmative Action

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    Federal contractors must observe affirmative action requirements regarding hiring, advancement, promotion and training opportunities, compensation, and termination. This section assists HR professionals in determining whether their employer is a covered contractor and managing affirmative action in the workplace.