During the desk audit, COs examine the VEVRAA AAP and support data to ensure it includes the required content, and determines whether the AAP and support data are acceptable. During the on-site review, COs interview contractor officials and others regarding the development and implementation of the AAP, and obtain documentation evidencing the same. COs record any problems identified during the desk audit and any problems identified during the on-site review in the SCER Parts B and C, as appropriate. COs must examine whether the contractor satisfied the following elements that are required parts of VEVRAA AAP:
a. Equal Opportunity Policy Statement. COs must verify that the policy statement is clearly posted on bulletin boards, and that the contractor has ensured that the notice is provided in a form that is accessible and understandable to disabled veterans. COs must examine the policy statement to determine if it is current, noting whether the person responsible for implementing the AAP is named.121
b. Review of Personnel Processes. COs may need to ask several questions to confirm a contractor’s review of personnel processes that include, but are not limited to:
- Does the contractor periodically review personnel processes to ensure that the qualifications of protected veterans for jobs, training and promotion are fully considered, and that it relies only on the portion of a protected veteran’s military record that is relevant to the requirements of opportunity for which the veteran is being considered? How often is this done?
- What procedures has the contractor designed to facilitate the periodic review?
- How does the contractor document its review of personnel processes and any actions it takes? How is that review conducted and by whom?
- Have there been requests from disabled veterans to modify personnel practices as a reasonable accommodation? How did the contractor respond to the requests?
COs must obtain and review all relevant documentation, including procedures, reports and personnel files. COs must also must determine whether the contractor’s personnel processes provide for the careful, thorough and systematic consideration of the job qualifications of applicants and employees who are known to be protected veterans for job vacancies, either for hire or promotion, and for all training opportunities.
c. Review of Physical and Mental Job Qualifications. The contractor is obligated to periodically review the physical and mental qualifications of its jobs and to eliminate those qualifications that tend to screen out qualified disabled veterans, and are not job-related and consistent with business necessity. The VEVRAA AAP must contain a schedule for this periodic review. While on-site, the CO must request samples of any mental or physical job qualification standards and interview individuals responsible for their periodic review.
To assess the contractor’s review of its physical and mental job qualifications, COs should consider the following questions:
- When did the contractor write or last update the job descriptions? Do the job descriptions accurately reflect the duties of the job? Do the job descriptions require the employee or applicant to perform duties in a specific way? If so, and those requirements tend to screen out qualified disabled veterans, is there a business necessity for performing the duties in this way, or are there alternative ways the duties can be satisfactorily performed?
- Are there job qualifications that would tend to screen out disabled veterans? For example, an unassisted lifting requirement may screen out individuals with disabilities even though employees are not required to lift unassisted. Are those job qualifications based on business necessity? If not, are there alternative qualifications that the contractor can use?
- Are the contractor’s job qualifications based on business necessity? If not, are there alternative qualifications that the contractor can use?
- Are there positions that do not have written job descriptions? If so, how does the contractor identify and review job qualifications?
d. Provide Needed Reasonable Accommodation to Physical and Mental Limitations. Contractors must provide needed reasonable accommodation to the known physical and mental limitations of qualified disabled veterans unless the accommodation would cause an undue hardship. Accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
- Modifying work places and making work places and other contractor facilities used by employees accessible;
- Restructuring of nonessential functions of jobs;
- Allowing essential functions to be performed in a different way;
- Assigning nonessential functions of the job to other employees;
- Providing readers, sign language interpreters or assistive devices;
- Providing part-time work, flexible hours, or telework; and
- Reassigning employees to a vacant position.
COs should inquire whether there is a process in place by which individuals can request needed accommodations and how requests for accommodations are processed. COs must also determine whether officials responsible for implementing the accommodation obligation are appropriately trained to address requests for accommodation. COs must also review the contractor’s accommodation request records that were not already reviewed at the desk audit to assess whether the contractor responds to requests promptly and appropriately. All accommodations made by the contractor must be effective. Generally, this means the contractor must provide the person who needs the accommodation the ability to perform essential job duties. In the case of an applicant, reasonable accommodation could include, for example, providing an alternate means for applying and being considered for employment other than an online application system. If requests for accommodation were denied, COs must obtain documentation reflecting these decisions and the basis for the decisions to ensure that the denials were proper.
e. Develop and Implement Procedures to Prevent Harassment. COs must confirm that the contractor developed and implemented procedures to ensure that employees are not harassed because of their status as a protected veteran. COs request a copy of these procedures, interview the official responsible for implementation, and review reports or internal investigations of alleged harassment based on protected veteran status and the contractor’s response.
f. Disseminate EEO Policy Externally and Perform Outreach and Positive Recruitment. While on-site, COs must request documentation showing that subcontractors were notified in writing of the contractor’s affirmative action policy, requesting appropriate action on the part of the subcontractors. Additionally, COs must verify during the on-site review that the contractor engaged in appropriate outreach and positive recruitment activities, evaluated the effectiveness of each outreach or recruitment activity, and assessed the total effectiveness of all of its efforts combined. While on-site, the CO must request documentation for all the contractor’s outreach activities and assessments for the three years prior to the AAP year, as well as any documentation of efforts during and after the AAP year. If the documentation and assessments show that the contractor’s efforts were not effective, the CO must determine whether the contractor has implemented alternative efforts to identify qualified protected veterans.122 COs may also refer contractors to OFCCP’s ERRD or other community resource databases that could serve as a recruitment resource.
g. Disseminate EEO Policy Internally. The AAP should clearly describe the methods the contractor used to disseminate its EEO policy internally. During the on-site review, COs must verify that the contractor actually implemented the required measures in 41 CFR 60-300.44(g)(2), and investigate whether the contractor additionally disseminated the policy in other ways, such as those suggested in 41 CFR 60-300.44(g)(3). They must also obtain documentation and verify through interviews that the internal dissemination activities identified in the AAP occurred.
h. Design and Implement an Audit and Reporting System. COs must confirm that the contractor has an audit and reporting system that, among other requirements, measures the overall effectiveness of its AAP.123 To do this, the CO must request documentation of the contractor’s actions to implement the audit and reporting system, as described in the AAP. COs should obtain documentation of past audit(s), any remedial actions taken and their effectiveness. The COs may conduct interviews with responsible officials and employees.
i. Designate an Official to Implement the AAP. While on-site, COs may seek an interview with the official named in the AAP to determine their specific responsibilities and the authority assigned to that individual, and how the official assesses the implementation of the AAP. COs must obtain documentation, such as a copy of the individual’s position description, copies of reports the individual has prepared, and supporting documentation for any assessments the official conducted.
j. Train Personnel to Ensure that the Contractor Implements EEO and AAP Commitments. COs must interview contractor staff, managers and officials to confirm that the contractor’s personnel involved in the recruitment, screening, selection, promotion, discipline and related processes have been trained to ensure that the commitments in the AAP are implemented. Questions relevant to this determination include:
- Does the contractor provide training to personnel? What type of training does the contractor provide? When, how frequently and by whom is this training provided?
- What are the trainer’s qualifications?
- Did the trainer use training materials? What were they?
If the trainer used written training materials, the CO must request a copy.
k. Analyze Data Collected on Applicants and Hires Who Identified as Protected Veterans. If, during the desk audit or on-site review, COs identify problems related to the contractor’s VEVRAA affirmative action obligations, COs must request the total number of applicants and hires for all jobs, total number of applicants and hires who are known protected veterans, total number of job openings and total number of jobs filled, going back three years from the beginning of the contractor’s current AAP year.124 For a contractor that is six months or more into the current AAP year, COs may also request the contractor’s records from the beginning of the current AAP year so that the CO can calculate the totals of applicants, hires, job openings and jobs filled. In some instances, the contractor may have already computed the totals. These requests must also be made to verify accuracy if COs detect data integrity problems at the desk audit or during the on-site review.
COs may use these data to inform their determinations on the effectiveness of the contractor’s outreach and positive recruitment activities, and whether the contractor’s personnel processes allow for the careful, systematic and thorough consideration of the job qualifications of qualified protected veterans. Some relevant questions might include:
- How does the contractor use the totals of applicants, hires, job openings and jobs filled as a criterion when determining the effectiveness of its outreach efforts?
- If the totality of its outreach efforts were not effective in identifying and recruiting protected veterans, what alternative efforts did the contractor implement (see examples at 41 CFR 60-300.44(f)(2))?
- Does the data indicate any potential problem with the personnel processes utilized by the contractor when considering job qualifications of applicants and employees who are known protected veterans for job vacancies filled either by hiring or promotion?
l. Verifying the VEVRAA Hiring Benchmark. The VEVRAA regulations require contractors to establish a hiring benchmark every year to use for measuring their progress toward achieving EEO for protected veterans. Contractors must use one of two methods to establish their benchmarks. Contractors may choose to establish a benchmark equal to the national percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force, which is published and annually updated on OFCCP’s website. Alternatively, contractors may establish their own benchmarks by taking into account certain data from the BLS and VETS/ETA that is also published on the OFCCP website, as well as other factors that reflect the contractor’s own data and unique hiring circumstances.125
During the on-site review, COs must request the data and methodology used by the contractor to set its benchmark during the on-site review if the contractor sets its own hiring benchmark instead of using the benchmark provided by OFCCP. COs will use the underlying data to verify the contractor’s hiring benchmark, if this verification was not completed during the desk audit.
121. See Chapter 1H01.
122. For examples of outreach and recruitment activities, see 41 CFR 60-300.44(f)(2).
123. 41 CFR 60-300.44(h).
124. 41 CFR 60-300.44(k).
125. 41 CFR 60-300.45.