OFCCP recently announced that it will begin conducting focused reviews addressing promotions as a part of its focused review initiative. These frequently asked questions provide more background and general guidance to contractors on what to expect during a promotions focused review.

How does OFCCP define promotion?

OFCCP’s Federal Contract Compliance Manual (FCCM) defines promotion as “[a]ny personnel action resulting in, for example, the movement to a position affording higher pay, greater rank, change in job title, or increase in job grade; an increase in pay, requiring greater skill or responsibility; or the opportunity to attain such. A promotion may be either competitive or noncompetitive.” The definition of promotions as inclusive of advancement opportunities recognizes that promotion policies and/or procedures may effectively foster or hinder advancement and, as such, should be examined and corrected if discriminatory.

What is a promotions focused review?

OFCCP’s promotions focused reviews will concentrate solely on contractors’ policies, practices, and personnel data related to promotions, and specifically whether there is evidence of systemic discrimination in the advancement opportunities for qualified individuals. Each promotions focused review will consist of a desk audit followed by an on-site investigation which will include, but is not limited to, a review of policies and procedures, employee personnel files and interviews with managers responsible for promotions decisions as well as affected employees. For example, OFCCP may evaluate hiring and compensation data, as appropriate, to help determine if women of color are being limited from advancing professionally.

Why is OFCCP conducting a promotions focused review?

In order to ensure contractor compliance with the affirmative action and nondiscrimination regulations that the agency enforces, OFCCP has begun implementing reviews focused on Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act, respectively. In line with these efforts, OFCCP will conduct focused reviews specific to promotions, to ensure that federal contractors comply with their equal employment opportunity obligations under those laws as well as Executive Order 11246. During the reviews, OFCCP will suggest additional voluntary best practices contractors may choose to adopt. Promotions focused reviews were developed to address “glass ceiling” issues in advancement opportunities for qualified individuals, including those who are often under- or unrepresented in promotions, such as women of color or people with disabilities. OFCCP will provide helpful guidance and best practices to contractors in meeting their equal employment opportunity obligations.

What should contractors do to prepare for a promotions focused review?

As a part of a contractor’s affirmative action program, a contractor must perform in-depth analyses of its total employment process to determine whether and where impediments to equal employment opportunity exists. 41 CFR 60-2.17(b). This includes evaluating personnel activity (including promotions) and selection procedures to identify whether disparities exist on the basis of a protected characteristic. 41 CFR 60-2.17(b)(2), 41 CFR 60-2.17(b)(4). Self-audit results should be shared with OFCCP as part of the focused review and compliance assistance sought by the contractor. Examination of internal and external recruitment and outreach efforts may also be conducted to determine if candidate pools are diverse and reflective of available candidates in the market or workforce. If the contractor identifies a pattern of underrepresentation or lack of representation in promotions or promotion opportunities for qualified individuals covered by OFCCP’s protected bases, action should be taken to address the problem.

Where can I learn more about the promotions focused reviews?

OFCCP created a landing page that specifically discusses Promotions Focused Reviews. These materials can be accessed at www.dol.gov/agencies/ofccp/focused-reviews/promotions.

If a contractor establishment has been scheduled for a promotions focused review, can it also be scheduled for other types of reviews?

No. While a focused review is pending at an establishment, that establishment will not be scheduled for any other types of compliance evaluations. However, if OFCCP receives a discrimination complaint during a promotions focused review alleging violations under any of the three laws OFCCP administers, OFCCP will investigate the complaint concurrently with the promotions focused review.

How can I contact OFCCP if I have questions about the Promotions Focused Review Compliance Evaluation?

Contractors can contact OFCCP’s Toll-Free Help Line at 1-800-397-6251 (TTY 1-877-889-5627) Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time (except federal holidays) to get additional information about Promotions Focused Reviews.

The contents of this document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.

Last updated October 19, 2020