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Lessons to be learned from a recent OFCCP audit

By now you may have read about the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Contract Compliance Programs’ (OFCCP) discrimination lawsuit against electronics retailer B&H Photo-Video Company of NYC.  The OFCCP claims systemic discrimination against Hispanic employees and female, black and Asian job seekers at its Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouse.  This is after the EEOC monitored its hiring and compensation practices from 2009 to 2012 as part of a settlement in a prior discrimination suit.  In that case, B&H agreed to pay $4.3 million to 149 employees.  One of the areas that will certainly be reviewed as part of this latest case will be B&H’s applicant flow, job postings, job descriptions and reasons for rejection of applicants.

Unfortunately this is an area that many contractors fail during an audit for three main reasons:

  1. Lack of training of their recruiters and hiring team as to how why they need to control the number of applications reviewed, and/or

  2. Lack of understanding of when a job seeker becomes an applicant and must be tracked and/or

  3. Lack of good, defendable disposition reasons for the applicants that are not moved to the interview stage, not moved to the hiring stage, and not hired.

Contractors are foolish if they do not budget for training – the OFCCP continues to achieve large settlements for discrimination against applicants during their audit.  Are these cases truly discrimination by the company – in some cases they are, but it is PMP’s experience that in many cases the above 3 items are the root cause of the settlements, resulting in the appearance of discrimination.

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