Thursday, October 05, 2006

New OFCCP Rules Explained

The topic for the October WTPF Monthly Meeting held yesterday was New Rules: OFCCP's Revised Definition of an Applicant. Myself and approximately 6o others listened to Roger Ocampo of OFCCP's Division of Policy, Planning and Program Development as he explained to us in detail the purpose and philosophy behind the Internet Applicant Final Rule.

This has been a very hot topic here in DC with the large number of government contractors that have had to come into compliance with this new rule. Mr. Ocampo did a fine job in addressing the concerns of those in attendance, even if he didn't give the answer that they didn't want to hear. At the very least, he provided clarity on the issue, which is critical at this point as there has been a great deal of overreaction and undue concern over what the implications of this rule are.

Some of the key takeaways from this meeting for me included:
  • Consistency in process has been, and will continue to be, the most important factor in compliance.
  • Many companies don't realize how much technology, including what the job boards are doing to help already, can assist with the recordkeeping process.
  • This rule applies to positions posted on the internet, and the employer's consistency with applying this definition for all posted positions.
  • Basic qualifications for each posted position must be Non-comparative, Objective and Relevant. IMO, this is actually a good thing, for too long, too many job postings have been too vague in their requirements. Drawing a 'minimum-line' establishes consistency in selection criteria as well as screening and assessment practices.

Roger took much of his presentation from a broader presentation posted at the OFCCP website. He is also the author of the FAQ section on the website, which is full of valuable information. The final takeaway for all of us is that he (i.e. the OFCCP at large) wants to hear all of our questions and concerns. It's his job to find cases of discrimination, but the goal of this new regulation isn't to create new cases of discrimination, but to help employers create sensible, objective processes that will prevent future cases of discrimination. Does this rule cause new administrative headaches? Yes. Does this rule offer opportunities for companies to improve their processes, better define their requirements, and create a more consistent definition of an applicant? The answer to that is Yes as well.

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