Clients with government contracts or that receive government funds are often required, as a condition of such contracts or funding, to create and maintain detailed affirmative action plans. Such plans can be difficult to prepare, requiring careful gathering of information and statistical analysis, and are subject to detailed and intrusive reviews by agencies such as the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). Such reviews, in turn, create a significant risk of liability if the agency determines that the employer’s actions with respect to hiring or promotions reflect underrepresentation of a protected group.
Reed Smith has a full-service, nationwide Affirmative Action/OFCCP practice that helps employers dramatically reduce such risks. Covering the gamut of issues under Executive Order 11246, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, we advocate a streamlined and practical approach to affirmative action compliance and resolution of the challenges that employers face in this area.
In any given year, we prepare dozens of affirmative action plans for myriad clients. Our plans are state of the art, and our strength is in their design and customization. In addition, we have successfully steered our clients through more than 225 OFCCP compliance evaluations, including corporate management “glass ceiling” audits, in virtually every part of the country and as far away as American Samoa. We can do everything from preparing the entire submission to focusing on key items, such as personnel activity and pay, that create the greatest risk of the OFCCP issuing findings of discrimination and demands for monetary relief based on unexplained statistical disparities. In many instances, we play a behind-the-scenes role; in others, we interact directly with the agency. Our team of lawyers and practice group specialists are well equipped to handle any issues arising during audits or relating to compliance, including those associated with the U.S. Department of Labor “hot button” areas, such as applicant tracking and selection, and rates of pay. With today’s increased focus on pay discrimination, we offer clients a special advantage based on having prepared many pay equity analyses pursuant to the “Final Interpretative Standards for Systemic Compensation Discrimination under Executive Order 11246,” and otherwise, of the exempt and non-exempt segments of our clients’ workforces.