Understanding Federal Affirmative Action Plan Requirements

April 5, 2021 at 4:00 AM

Being responsible for the compliance of an organization is an important job. It helps ensure the company avoids costly fines and penalties, protects your professional reputation, and benefits the overall efforts to treat employees and clients fairly. One particularly important compliance issue is that of affirmative action plans.

These federal mandates are designed to prevent discriminatory practices based on race, sex, veterans status, disabilities, and nation of origin, and failure to comply can severely impact your business. That’s why it’s so imperative to fully understand the federal affirmative action plan requirements.

What laws dictate the federal affirmative action plan requirements?

Executive Order 11246

Issued in 1965, Executive Order 11246 prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against applicants and employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in employment. It also requires all contractors and subcontractors to implement affirmative action plans to increase minority and female participation in the workplace.

The Rehabilitation Act

Unlike Executive Order 11246, the Rehabilitation Act wasn’t created to prevent discrimination based on color, sex, or religion. Instead, it was designed to promote more opportunities for people with disabilities. More specifically, it prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against people with mental and physical disabilities while requiring affirmative action to employ and advance in employment people with disabilities.

Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act

Also known as VEVRAA, this act provides protections for certain veterans. It works in conjunction with the Jobs for Veterans Act to require affirmative action to employ and advance “protected veterans.” They were created to ensure our veterans had an opportunity to find professional success after serving.

Who is beholden to the federal affirmative action plan requirements?

While every employer should follow the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission laws on hiring and employment practices, only federal contractors or subcontractors with 50 employees or more must maintain an updated affirmative action plan when they also meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Have a federal contract of $50,000 or more.
  • Have government bills of lading which, in any 12-month period, total $50,000 or more.
  • Serve as a depository of government funds in any amount.
  • Is a financial institution that is an issuing and paying agent for US savings bonds and savings notes in any amount.

If your business falls under these criteria, then you are federally obligated to create, maintain, update, and implement an affirmative action plan. Failure to do so can result in costly fines and penalties following a compliance audit.

What needs to be in my written affirmative action plan?

In order to remain compliant with the federal affirmative action plan requirements, your written plan must include all of the following:

  • An analysis of the race, sex, and ethnicity of your employees compared to overall availability.
  • Hiring and advancement goals for race, sex, and ethnicity.
  • Hiring and advancement goals for individuals with disabilities.
  • Targeted outreach, recruitment, and retention strategies.
  • An in-depth review of current personnel processes.
  • A consolidated policy statement that covers nondiscrimination practices.
  • Goals and timetables to achieve them.

These are just some of the items that should be included in your affirmative action plan. For a complete guide, you can visit the Department of Labor’s website.

Is your company compliant with all federal affirmative action plan requirements?

If there is any confusion regarding your organization's status, then contact the experts here at InterConnect Human Resource Services. Our team specializes in helping organizations of all sizes evaluate their current compliance measures and implement targeting improvements designed to eliminate any instances of falling out of compliance.

We’ll help you review the action plan you have in place and identify areas of improvement, so your company can avoid being hit with any costly fines or penalties. Learn more about our team, or you can schedule an initial consultation by messaging us online.