Friday, November 16, 2012

OFCCP National Office Releases "Heads Up" Letters


It has just come to our attention that two days ago the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) mailed out hundreds of “courtesy” letters to federal contractors and subcontractors identifying establishments for “possible scheduling of a supply and service compliance evaluation during this scheduling cycle” - meaning sometime during 2013.  These letters are intended to provide notice to companies and to “facilitate your complete, accurate and timely production of materials and information” when the listed establishment receives a scheduling letter for a compliance evaluation by the OFCCP.  These “materials and information” include affirmative action programs (AAPs) and other supporting documentation including compensation data, outreach and recruitment sources and 

other “good faith efforts”, applicant, hire, promotion, termination data and other related personnel documents.  It is imperative that all federal contractors and subcontractors comply with all aspects of affirmative action regulations enforced by the OFCCP.  The agency has made it very clear by word and action, especially in the last three years, that it will continue to very aggressively pursue enforcement of the regulations that prohibit discrimination and require affirmative action on the part of federal contractors and subcontractors. 

It should also be noted that even though your company does not receive one of these courtesy letters, your establishment(s) could still be selected for a compliance evaluation inasmuch as these notification letters are “not all-inclusive” and these notifications are “not required by law”.  Please do not fail to contact Kairos Services, Inc. immediately should you receive one of these letters in order that we can begin the preparation needed to ensure that your company is in a position to produce and submit all required materials in a complete, accurate and timely manner when you receive the OFCCP scheduling letter for the compliance evaluation.

Have a Question?
Ask the Experts at experts@KairosServicesInc.com or call our
Corporate Office at 972-369-0015

Please consider the environment before printing this.

The content provided herein by Kairos Services, Inc. is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional advice.  The opinions expressed in this email service are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the company or any individual professionals. You should seek independent advice from one of our professionals before acting upon any opinion or information contained in this mailer or our websites.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Welcome DEAM 2012 Conference Attendees!


Welcome DEAM 2012 Conference Attendees


Like and add our social websites to your profile and enter a chance to win one of our new i-Pads!

Like or add our social websites to your profile to enter a chance to win a new i-Pad!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Enforcement Update


CONCILIATION AGREEMENT
Between
THE U. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
OFFICE OF FEDERAL CONTRACT COMPLIANCE PROGRAMS
And
[MAKE SURE YOUR COMPANY NAME DOES NOT APPEAR HERE!]

The ever-changing landscape of compliance and enforcement action between the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and the federal contractor community has long been a point of contention as the proverbial ‘carrot’ seems to endlessly change between a variety of levels in the agency.  While understanding and anticipating these changes is critical to limiting liability, it is the most simple actions which arguably land contractors in hot water as many fail to adequately maintain processes required under federal regulation.  These failures may ultimately result in the agency moving toward conciliation agreements, litigation, or debarment as the worst case scenario. 

The purpose of this news feed is to serve as a reminder to review your Annual Action Checklist and verify all items listed have been accomplished.  It should be noted that there has been a recent upswing in Notices of Violations and Conciliation Agreements in the federal contractor community pertaining to Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, and the implementing regulations at 41 CFR Chapter 60.

What does it all mean?  First, make sure you are listing ALL employment openings covered by your Affirmative Action Program with the local employment service office of the state employment security agency, as required by the Equal Opportunity Clauses at 41 CFR 60-250.5 and 60-300.5 (excluding executive and senior management positions, positions filled from within the organization, and positions lasting less than three days).  Second, ensure your organization is undertaking appropriate outreach and positive recruitment activities that are reasonably designed to effectively recruit qualified disabled veterans, recently separated veterans, other protected veterans, and Armed Forces service medal veterans, special disabled veterans and Vietnam era veterans as required by 41 CFR 60-250.44(f) and 60-300.44(f).  Third, ensure your organization is undertaking appropriate outreach and positive recruitment activities that are reasonably designed to effectively recruit qualified Individuals with Disabilities, as required by 41 CFR 60-741.44(f). 

Each of the recommendations above, including others can be found in your “Annual Action Checklist” sent as a part of your Confidential Package with your eAAP. 

Should you have any questions, Kairos professions are available to assist your company in answering questions pertaining to your listing, outreach, and reporting obligations required by federal regulations.

The content provided herein by Kairos Services, Inc. is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional advice.  The opinions expressed in this email service are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the company or any individual professionals. You should seek independent advice from one of our professionals before acting upon any opinion or information contained in this mailer or our websites.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

VETS100/100A Filing Deadline Extended to October 31, 2012

The filing deadline for VETS100 and/or 100A report(s) in the 2012 cycle has been extended to October 31, 2012.  All paper reports and electronic files received at the Service Desk by October 31st will be included as part of the 2012 filing cycle and will not be considered late.

The U.S. Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) along with the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has supported affirmative action’s to employ and advance in employment, “covered veterans” since 2008.  Legislation codified at 41 CFR Sections 61-250 and 61-300 requires contractors and subcontractors who enter into, or modify a contract or subcontract with the federal government, and whose contract meets the criteria set forth in the above regulations, are required to report annually on their affirmative action efforts in employing veterans.

Kairos professions are available to assist your company in answering questions pertaining to your government reporting obligations, VETS determination requirements, and preparation of your VETS reports.

Have a Question?
Ask the Experts at experts@KairosServicesInc.com or call our
Corporate Office at 972-369-0015

The content provided herein by Kairos Services, Inc. is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional advice.  The opinions expressed in this email service are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the company or any individual professionals. You should seek independent advice from one of our professionals before acting upon any opinion or information contained in this mailer or our websites.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Reversal of Scrutiny- Questions Raised Over the EEOC’s Background and Credit Check Policies


DATE:  August 27, 2012
 SUBJECT:  A Reversal of Scrutiny- Questions Raised Over the EEOC’s Background and Credit Check Policies


On August 14, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, arbitrated by Judge Charles B. Day, rendered a decision in the case of EEOC v. FreemanIn this case, the EEOC alleged the Defendant’s use of criminal background checks resulted in discrimination adversely impacting African-American, Hispanic, and male job applicants.  The case was then later expanded by the EEOC alleging the Defendant’s use of the aforementioned procedures resulted in a nationwide pattern of discriminatory behavior. After several unsuccessful attempts at conciliation and limited discovery in the Plaintiff’s suit, the Defendant filed a motion for partial summary judgment, which the Court granted.  In the case of the nationwide claim by the EEOC, the Defendant contended that the expansion of the investigation should be temporally delineated from the date of the original charge under Section 706 of Title VII, allowing a 300-day statute of limitation.  Granting partial summary, the district court held that the “relevant date” for purposes of the 300-day statute is the “date of notice of the new charges.”

In a unexpected twist relevant to the Defendants request in the previously mentioned statute, the Defendant served the EEOC with a Notice of Rule 30(b)(6) Deposition, requiring the EEOC to produce a representative to discuss the EEOC’s policies relevant to records in hiring.  To this petition, the EEOC argued that the reproduction of their policies was not pertinent to its claims and defenses, prompting the EEOC to ask the court for a protective order.  Ultimately, Magistrate Judge Day denied the EEOC’s motion and found that the Defendant’s deposition could produce information relevant to its arguments, in spite of three subsequent counterarguments by the EEOC.

Previously, Kairos discussed the EEOC’s Guidance on Employer Use of Arrest and Conviction Records, which placed new restrictions on employer use of background checks and credit reports for screening and employment decisions.  Given the development in this case and legislation passed in eight states, the future validity and vitality of these new laws remains to be seen...

Please forward questions and comments to:
Nick Paul
Special Projects Manager
Kairos Services, Inc.
Telephone 972-369-0015
Email 
experts@KairosServicesInc.com
Website 
www.KairosServicesInc.com

The content provided herein by Kairos Services, Inc. is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional advice.  You should seek independent advice from one of our professionals before acting upon any opinion or information contained in this mailer or our website.

Friday, August 24, 2012

US Census Bureau Releases Population Statistics for Persons with Disabilities


DATE:  August 24, 2012
Subject:  US Census Bureau Releases Population Statistics for Persons with Disabilities

US Census Bureau LogoLast month the United States Census Bureau released Americans With Disabilities: 2010, detailing US household reporting of persons living with disabilities.  The section below contains highlights of the report which may have noteworthy outcomes for federal contractors in the recruitment, hiring, and retention of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the future.

National Disability Statistics
  • 56.7 million (18.7 percent) had a disability
  • 38.3 million (12.6 percent) had a severe disability
  • 12.3 million (4.4 percent) 6 years and older needed assistance with one or more activities of daily living (ADLs) or instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs)
Specific Disability Statistics
  • 7.8 million vision impairments
  • 7.8 million hearing impairments
  • 30.6 million had difficulty walking, climbing stairs, or using a wheelchair, cane, crutches, or walker
  • 19.9 million had difficulty with physical tasks relating to upper body functioning, including difficulty lifting and grasping

The content provided herein by Kairos Services, Inc. is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional advice.  You should seek independent advice from one of our professionals before acting upon any opinion or information contained in this mailer or our website.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Some Pictures of the Kairos Team in 2012








                        

The content provided herein by Kairos Services, Inc. is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional advice.  You should seek independent advice from one of our professionals before acting upon any opinion or information contained in this mailer or our website.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Training at the North Texas ILG

Date:       July 19th, 2012
Subject:  North Texas Industry Liaison Group Training 

Kairos' Lisa Kaiser training along with Fulbright & Jaworski's Shafeeqa Giarratani at the North Texas ILG.

Topics at this training session included:

1. OFCCP Compensation Audits: Practical Tips on How to Prepare Your Organization
     Shafeeqa Watkins Giarratani, Sr. Associate, Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.
     Lisa Kaiser, Senior AAP Project Manager, Kairos Services, Inc.
          NOTE: Please email Kairos Services, Inc. for a copy of the PowerPoint presentation.
          
2. EEOC's Systemic Discrimination and Other Updates
     Janet V. Elizondo, District Office Director, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

3. National Industry Liaison Group Update
     Marshall Mendez, National ILG Board; President, Kairos Services Inc.

The North Texas Industry Liaison (NTILG) Group is a 501(c) (3) not-for profit network of professionals working in human resources, affirmative action, equal opportunity, and diversity in both the public and private industries. Our mission is to promote the understanding of E.O. 11246 and to enhance equity in employment, economic and educational opportunities. Since 1982, ILGs have emerged as an effective way of strengthening relationships between federal contractors and the OFCCP. Local ILGs offer a forum that encourages open communication between the two groups. Since ILG's inception, one prevailing goal has emerged-to work together towards equality in the workforce.






The content provided herein by Kairos Services, Inc. is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional advice.  You should seek independent advice from one of our professionals before acting upon any opinion or information contained in this mailer or our website.

Friday, June 22, 2012

EEOC Guidance on Employer Use of Arrest and Conviction Records


Date:      June 22nd, 2012

Subject:  EEOC Guidance on Employer Use of Arrest and Conviction Records

EEOC Seal

EEOC’s April 25th guidance on Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions is based on previous findings related to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. The recent guidance, consistent with three previous EEOC policy statements, states that the “use of an individual’s criminal history in making employment decisions may, in some instances, violate the prohibition against employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” Consistent with previous findings, EEOC indicated that the use of conviction records has a disparate impact on African American and Hispanic classes because these groups are convicted at disproportionately higher rates than the rest of the population.   
 
Recent guidance delineates the difference between arrest and conviction records. Specifically, arrest does not, in itself “establish that criminal conduct has occurred” and does not in itself imply a job related reason for exclusion. It does however state that an employer “may consider conduct underlying an arrest if the conduct makes the individual unfit for the position in question.” In contrast, conviction records “serve as sufficient evidence that a person engaged in particular conduct.” Nevertheless, the guidance does state that “there may be reasons for an employer not to rely on the conviction record alone when making an employment decision.”
 
The recent guidance also creates a distinction between disparate treatment and disparate (adverse) impact. Specifically, disparate treatment may occur when an employer treats criminal history information differently for different applicants or employees, based on their race or national origin. Therefore, an employer is liable for violating Title VII when the plaintiff demonstrates that it treated a person differently because of their race, national origin, or another protected basis. The guidance lists several kinds of evidence that may be used to establish disparate treatment including but not limited to:
  • Biased statements
  • Inconsistencies in the hiring process
  • Similarly situated comparators
  • Employment testing
  • Statistical evidence
Conversely, disparate (adverse) impact is a facially neutral policy excluding all applicants with arrests or convictions that disproportionately impact protected classes. Here, an employer’s neutral policy or practice has the effect of disproportionately screening out a Title VII-protected group and the employer fails to demonstrate that the policy or practice is job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity. In Green v. Missouri Pacific Railroad (MoPac) (1975), the Eighth Circuit held that business necessity can be determined in part by:
  • The nature and gravity of the offense or conduct
  • The time that has passed since the offense or conduct and/or completion of the sentence; and
  • The nature of the job held or sought.
In Green v. MoPac, MoPac had a policy of excluding all individuals with convictions other than minor traffic offenses. Green was excluded because he refused induction into the military and served 21 months in prison. The Eighth Circuit reversed the District Court stating:


We cannot conceive of any business necessity that would automatically place every individual      convicted of any offense, except a minor traffic offense, in the permanent ranks of the unemployed…To deny job opportunities to these individuals because of some conduct which may be remote in time or does not significantly bear upon the particular job requirements is an unnecessarily harsh and unjust burden.


In light of the above, the new guidance does allow situations in which “an employer may be able to justify a targeted criminal records screen” based on the Green v. Missouri Pacific Railroad, depending on the “the particular criminal conduct and jobs involved, taking into consideration fact-based evidence, legal requirements, and/or relevant and available studies.”
 
Nevertheless, the guidance does state that “the use of individualized assessments can help employers avoid Title VII liability by allowing them to consider more complete information.” To this effect, two recommendations are made by the recent guidance. The first, an individualized assessment, where the employer “informs the individual that he may be excluded because of past criminal conduct”, thereby providing the individual an opportunity to “demonstrate that the exclusion does not properly apply to him” through additional information showing “the policy as applied is not job related and consistent with business necessity.” Relevant individualized evidence may include:
  • Incorrectly or misidentified information in the criminal record
  • The record is otherwise inaccurate
  • The facts or circumstance surrounding the offense or conduct;
  • The number of offenses for which the individual was convicted;
  • Older age at the time of conviction, or release from prison;
  • Evidence that the individual preformed the same type of work, post conviction, with the same or a different employer, with no known incidents of criminal conduct;
  • The length and consistency of employment history before and after the offense or conduct;
  • Rehabilitation efforts, e.g., education/training;
  • Employment or character references and any other information regarding fitness for the particular position; and
  • Whether the individual is bonded under a federal, state, or local bonding program.
It should be noted that if the individual does not respond to the employer’s attempt to gather additional information about his background, the employer may make its employment decision without the information.

Ultimately, the new guidance does yield to federal laws and regulations pertaining to the employment of individuals with specific convictions, whereby these individuals are not permitted to hold certain positions in industries in both the private and public sectors, including the procurement of certain occupational licenses and security clearances. Therefore, only if an employer decides to impose an exclusion that “goes beyond the scope of a federally imposed restriction, the discretionary aspect of the policy would be subject to Title VII analysis.”

In the end, the enforcement guidance recommends the following employer best practices:
  • Eliminate policies or practices that exclude people from employment based on any criminal record.
  • Train managers, hiring officials, and decision makers about Title VII and its prohibition on employment discrimination.
  • Develop a narrowly tailored written policy and procedure for screening applicants and employees for criminal conduct.
    • Identify essential job requirements and the actual circumstances under which the jobs are performed.
    • Determine the specific offenses that may demonstrate unfitness for performing such jobs.
      • Identify the criminal offenses based on all available evidence.
    • Determine the duration of exclusions for criminal conduct based on all available evidence.
      • Include an individualized assessment.
    • Record the justification for the policy and procedures.
    • Note and keep a record of consultations and research considered in crafting the policy and procedures.
  • Train managers, hiring officials, and decision makers on how to implement the policy and procedures consistent with Title VII.
  • When asking questions about criminal records, limit inquiries to records for which exclusion would be job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.
  • Keep information about applicants’ and employees’ criminal records confidential. Only use it for the purpose for which it was intended.
Please forward questions and comments to:


Nick Paul
Special Projects Manager
Kairos Services, Inc.
Telephone 972-369-0015
Email experts@KairosServicesInc.com
Website www.KairosServicesInc.com


The content provided herein by Kairos Services, Inc. is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional advice. You should seek independent advice from one of our professionals before acting upon any opinion or information contained in this mailer or our website.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Contractor Websites Scrutinized for Compliance


DATE:    June 18th, 2012

Subject:  Contractor Websites Scrutinized for Compliance

With the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ (OFCCP) renewed focus on the recruitment and employment of persons with disabilities, OFCCP compliance officers have become increasingly vigilant in identifying obstacles to employment adversely impacting persons with disabilities. Below we will discuss some obstacles to employment which pose the potential to adversely affect the employment of persons with disabilities in the early stages of the online application process.

Federal contractors must clearly and prominently provide a process for individuals to request reasonable accommodations during the application process, thereby minimizing the probability of obstacles detrimental to the employment of persons with disabilities. Below you will find a step-by-step process to verify some of the critical aspects to the online application process on your company website.
  • Step 1: Verify your company website displays your Affirmative Action and EEO policy statement. Click here for additional information about effective EEO policy statements.

    Step 2: Verify your site provides information on how persons with disabilities can request reasonable accommodations if they cannot apply online. This information should include a telephone number (to a live person), a fax number, and an email address for requesting reasonable accommodations.
    Note: The contact information detailed above should be affixed to multiple pages involved in the application process from the company home page to the application itself. This ensures seamless continuity and increased probability of the contact information being successfully received.

    Step 3: Verify your website application process can be navigated with a screen reader. A free version of Texthelp’s BrouseAloud software can be downloaded here.

    Step 4: Verify any images pertinent in the application process have accompanying text descriptions to ensure screen reading software can properly assist an applicant in navigating the application process. Free online programs such as WAVE and FAE are highly effective in assisting employers in this task.

    Step 5: Verify your recruiters and hiring managers can provide fully usable online and offline forms (PDFs, Word docs, braille documents, PowerPoint Materials, etc) which provide alternative and reasonable means for which persons with disabilities may apply.
The steps outlined above are not meant to be an exhaustive listing, but rather highlight some important areas which can greatly assist federal contractors in ensuring compliance with Affirmative Action and EEO regulations.

The content provided herein by Kairos Services, Inc. is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional advice. You should seek independent advice from one of our professionals before acting upon any opinion or information contained in this mailer or our website.

Monday, May 7, 2012

National Industry Liaison Group Signs Alliance with Office of Disability Employment Policy


                   

Date:      May 7th, 2012
SubjectNational Industry Liaison Group Signs Alliance with Office of Disability Employment Policy

On April 23rd, the National Industry Liaison Group (NILG), a nonprofit organization formed with the purpose of enhancing communication between federal contractors and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCCP), signed an Alliance Agreement with the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) to promote the hiring of individuals with disabilities.

The alliance agreement serves as an additional step toward developing model initiatives, policies, and procedures which will assist federal contractors in meeting enhanced recruiting, hiring and retention goals set forth under the proposed changes to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, currently pending approval with The Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
The primary sections of the alliance agreement include:
  • Enhancing educational and training policies and support materials to ILGs and contractors related to the recruitment, hiring, retention and advancement of individuals with disabilities
  • The development of ODEP funded resources which provide model employment strategies
  • The development of communication initiatives (print and electronic media) to share case studies related to successful contractor practices pertaining to the above stated goals
Kairos Services has developed longstanding partnerships with ILGs to assist federal contractors with Equal Employment and Affirmative Action matters. Visit Kairos’ Principal Page to read more on involvement and positions held by key members of the Kairos team.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Kairos and SWARM 2012


Date:  April 23rd, 2012
Subject:  Kairos and SWARM 2012





From April 10th through 13, the San Antonio Industry Liaison
Group (SAILG) hosted the Southwest and Rocky Mountain (SWARM) 
2012 Regional Conference in beautiful San Antonio, Texas. The 
conference’s all-star lineup, action packed agenda, and perfect weather set the tone for what turned out to be arguably the best regional conference of the year.


Kairos’ heavy involvement in SAILG proved to be invaluable in the preparation and execution of all aspects of the conference. Some notable contributions include:
  • Marshall Mendez: Co-Chaired the Program Committee, arranging the conference and speakers. Marshall also moderated the conference’s “super panel” made up of presenters including Mickey Silberman, Nita Beecher, Patrick Nooren, and Valerie Hoffman.
  • Norma Brito: Chaired the Marketing Committee, selling out the conference three weeks prior to its start! Norma additionally presented Pour the Foundation Before you Build the House, teaching federal contractors the necessary skills of building effective Affirmative Action Plans from the ground up.
  • Christie Hermann: Presented Taking Your Data Crunching Skills to the Next Level, an amazing “how to” class teaching midlevel Excel skills.
  • Lisa Kaiser: In partnership with Shafeeqa Giarratani, presented Behind the Scenes: What OFCCP Does With Your Data, an interactive and heavily sought after presentation. In fact, they were called to an encore presentation which lasted nearly an additional hour the following day!
  • Nick Paul: Organized and moderated Veterans & Persons with Disabilities: Proven Strategies for Outreach and Inclusion, a panel consisting of federal contractors and a VETS Manager, teaching real life strategies on how to build effective recruitment and retention strategies for veterans and persons with disabilities.
  • LaCrecia LeStourgeon and Jacob Witting were critical in the planning and execution process before, during, and after the conference. Their numerous contributions were invaluable. The conference would not have been what it was without them.
In the end, the conference received high praise from its attendees, which included persons from nearly every state in the country. Kairos, along with other chairs and contributors, have truly set the benchmark for not only future regional conferences, but national as well.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 Blogger Disclaimer

Disclaimer


The content provided herein by Kairos Services, Inc. is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional advice.  You should seek independent advice from one of our professionals before acting upon any opinion or information contained in this mailer or our website.