With the OFCCPs recent release of the Supplemental VEVRAA Focused Reviews Scheduling List, 500 corporations are under the microscope on their compliance with VEVRAA. Do you know if your affirmative action program relating to non-discrimination and the recruitment and advancement of qualified protected veterans meets all the VEVRAA requirements?
At Affirmity, we strongly believe that compliance with VEVRAA is not only required for federal contractors but is good for your business. My recent webinar, along with Roselle Rogers, Vice President of the LocalJobNetwork, discussed best practices for attracting, placing and maintaining protected veterans in your organization.
To provide your organization with a helping hand in complying with VEVRAA and optimizing the protected veterans talent in your organization, below are 10 FAQs we have compiled from the webcast and working with clients:
1. Are employers required to post their external job openings for 48 or 72 hours for veterans?
Employers covered under VEVRAA are required to list all employment openings with the appropriate employment service delivery system unless the job is going to:
- Be filled from within the contractor’s organization
- Last three or fewer days
- Be an executive or senior management position.
The listing requirement (41 CFR 60-300.5) states, “Each state has different practices regarding how long the job openings are held for veteran’s priority referral before the public can view the job available”. The contractor shall also provide to the employment service delivery system the name and location of each hiring location within the state and the contact information for the contractor officially responsible for hiring at each location.
2. Are organizations required to keep records of each category of protected veteran, or just what is needed for the VETS-4212 report?
The VETS-4212 report only requires contractors to provide aggregated protected veteran information. Contractors are no longer required to ask employees to identify their veteran status. They can simply ask employees to identify whether they are a protected veteran or if they prefer not to disclose.
However, the OFCCP states that contractors can request employees to self-identify protected veteran status, but they must be able to provide the aggregated protected veteran status information for the VETS-4212.
3. Is the employer responsible for updating veteran status for employees that have been with the organization for several years and are no longer considered “recently separated”?
Employers are not required by regulation to follow up with employees to determine if they would still be considered a protected veteran. Contractors are only required to ask if they are or are not a protected veteran or if they prefer not to answer. Some employers, however, have a practice of re-surveying their workforce for protected veteran status along with the requirement to re-survey for disability status. At that time, the employee could state they are no longer a protected veteran under “recently separated veteran”, and thus you could update your HRIS to reflect this status.
4. How long does the protected status last once a Service Member separates?
Once you’re a veteran, you’re always a veteran. However, if a person is only considered a “protected veteran” under the “recently separated veteran” status and chooses to identify as no longer being a protected veteran, they have the option to notify the employer to be removed from that classification.
5. What is the requirement for work from home employees regarding postings?
If employees working from home have access to the required postings, the contractor is compliant. However, if some employees work offsite and do not have access to a computer, providing them with other means of access to the postings is required.
6. Do the employee’s rights under NLRA need to be on the company website?
According to the OFCCP, the NLRA posting does not need to be posted on the company website. However, if applications are accepted online, the EEO Is The Law and supplemental poster, and the Pay Transparency and EEO Policy documents must be posted on the company website.
7. Can we systematically migrate disabled and veteran status collected at the applicant stage to the employment record once they are hired?
VEVRAA and Section 503 regulations require that the invitation to self-identify also be offered at the post-offer stage of the hiring process. Individuals may prefer not to self-identify under either classification at the applicant stage but may reconsider after a job offer has been received.
8. What suggestions do you have on hyperlinks to the EEO Is The Law posters?
Instead of displaying the actual posters required by OFCCP on your website, a best practice is to write up a summary of the posters and include a hyperlink to the OFCCP’s page that includes the latest versions and languages for the poster. By doing this, you can ensure that any updated posters are available to applicants.
9. Is the Equal Opportunity clause only applicable to contracts associated with the government or all contracts (non-government)?
According to OFCCP regulations, each contracting agency and each contractor shall include the following equal opportunity clauses in each of its covered Government contracts or subcontracts, including modifications, renewals, or extensions (threshold contract value for EO 11246 is $10,000, Section 503 $15,000 and VEVRAA $150,000):
This contractor and subcontractor shall abide by the requirements of 41 CFR 60-1.4(a), 60-300.5(a) and 60-741.5(a). These regulations prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals based on their status as protected veterans or individuals with disabilities, and prohibit discrimination against all individuals based on their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin. Moreover, these regulations require that covered prime contractors and subcontractors take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or veteran status.”
10. Can we use the term “vets” in website taglines, or do we have to spell out “veterans”?
The OFCCP prefers the word “veterans” to be spelled out but has stated that using the abbreviated “vets” is acceptable.
More from the blog: ‘The 5 Ws of VETS-4212 Reporting’
For federal contractors, following the above requirements and best practices allows you to comply with confidence with VEVRAA. For all organizations, tapping into the incredible talent of our veterans helps improve your organization’s diversity and bottom line.
To learn more, read about Affirmity’s affirmative action software and services.
Julia Méndez Achée (SHRM-CP, CAAP, CDR, PHR, CDP, CELS) is a Principal Business Consultant for Affirmity. She has over 20 years of experience helping clients with OFCCP compliance reviews and offering technical assistance with Affirmative Action Plans and diversity programs.