Two New Affirmative Action Deadlines

Melinda Sanders, Specialized Legal Services

PencilsCommencing January 1, 2014, all affirmative action employers must use the new 2010 EEO tab census data to prepare their written affirmative action plans. Affirmative action employers use census data to determine the availability of qualified minorities and women for their job openings. Since 2005, affirmative action employers have used the Census 2000 Special EEO file. If MSEC prepares your plan, we will automatically incorporate the new 2010 census data into your plan. Employers that prepare their own plans in-house must ensure their affirmative action software is updated with the new 2010 EEO tab census data to comply with the January 1, 2014 deadline.

The groundbreaking new affirmative action veterans and disabled regulations go into effect March 24, 2014. Affirmative action employers face two new deadlines in the first quarter of 2014.

The first of these and one of the most notable changes is the requirement for affirmative action employers to ask applicants to identify disability status before an offer of employment is made. Many legal experts question whether the Americans with Disabilities Act permits such an inquiry. While the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) asserts that such an inquiry is permitted under the ADA because it is requested to comply with affirmative action laws, some legal experts disagree. For this reason, we urge affirmative action employers to wait until March 24, 2014 to solicit information about an applicant’s disability status before an offer of employment is made. In addition, affirmative action employers must use a self-identification form written by the OFCCP to solicit this information. As of this writing, the form is not available. However, the OFCCP has assured federal contractors that it will be available on its website by March 24, 2014.

Second, affirmative action employers will be required to solicit information from existing employees about their disability status. Employers may begin soliciting this information on March 24, 2014, and this solicitation must be completed before March 24, 2015. Thereafter, employers must solicit this information from employees every five years. Once during the intervening five years, the employer must remind employees that they are free to disclose or update disability status at any time. Any information employers receive about an employee’s disability status must be maintained as a confidential medical record and stored separately
from the employee’s personnel file. The form employers must use for this solicitation will also be provided at a future date by the OFCCP.

To assist affirmative action employers navigate these complex issues, MSEC is offering a half-day seminar on these new regulations on January 15, click here to learn more. Please contact Melinda Sanders, Managing Attorney, Affirmative Action Planning Services or Sandie Harrison, Manager, Affirmative Action Planning Services at 800.884.1328 with questions.