2N Linkage Agreements
COs are required to make contact with community organizations and recruitment resources as part of their assessment of a contractor’s recruitment efforts. This requires that the CO have knowledge of the resources available in the community to provide assistance to contractors in resolving employment deficiencies. OFCCP encourages and facilitates such “linkage” relationships between contractors and community recruitment resources.
OFCCP’s online ERRD may provide sources of potential linkages. The following are OFCCP’s objectives with respect to facilitating and encouraging linkages:
- To increase employment opportunities available to minorities, identified racial and ethnic groups, women, individuals with disabilities and protected veterans;
- To enhance the effectiveness of OFCCP’s compliance activities by providing contractors with additional recruitment sources;
- To assist federal contractors in meeting their affirmative action hiring and promotion goals; and
- To increase cooperation between private sector employers and community recruitment resources.
COs must seek to develop new linkages between community recruitment and referral sources and contractors that have made insufficient recruitment efforts to generate applicants that satisfy their affirmative action objectives. Before a CO urges contractors to use the resources, the CO must identify and contact organizations to affirm that they can be of assistance, and to explain what is expected of both parties.
When linkage is needed, a CO must take the following actions to establish linkage agreements during the course of the compliance evaluation:
a. Identify those job groups in the contractor’s workforce where goals were established and there was employment activity, but the goals were not met.
b. Evaluate the contractor’s good faith efforts to identify possible recruitment sources for those underutilized job groups.
c. Contact appropriate linkage resources to obtain specific information on availability of potential applicants and potential trainees for positions in the areas of underutilization. If possible, the CO must arrange a meeting between the resource organization(s) and the contractor.
d. When a resource appears to be a likely source of applicants or trainees, the CO will seek to include the contractor’s commitment to utilize the linkage source, along with other actions in a CA, if a CA is used to resolve violations related to outreach and positive recruitment.170
e. If a linkage agreement is included in a CA, the CA must require progress reports at least semi-annually. With respect to linkages, these reports should contain:
- Total hire activity by job group, broken out by sex, race, ethnicity, and other relevant covered group status; and
- Total hire activity and number of people referred from each linkage source agreed to in the CA, and any other appropriate source, broken out by sex, race, ethnicity, and other relevant covered group status.
170. See FCCM Chapter 8 – Resolution of Noncompliance.
The establishment of new linkages is not required if a CO finds that the contractor’s utilization approximates availability for the given job group. If this is true, utilization does not appear to be a problem. Additionally, if it is determined that a current recruitment and referral source with which there is an existing linkage is no longer able to provide the needed assistance, it may be appropriate to discontinue the existing linkage. The CO will assist the contractor in establishing replacement linkages if they are needed.
Linkage arrangements involving recruitment or referral sources for individuals with disabilities and protected veterans may be particularly useful when either or both of the following exist:
- A review of employee records, job applications and applicant flow data shows that there are few applicants who are members of these covered groups; or
- The annual assessment of outreach and recruitment for individuals with disabilities and/or protected veterans shows that the contractor’s efforts have not been effective.
If the contractor needs new linkage relationships, the CO will follow the same steps to establish appropriate linkages for these groups as he or she would when establishing linkages to meet affirmative action goals for other groups.
At the conclusion of the compliance evaluation, the CO will provide written notices to all of the linkage resources or partners in the agreement with the contractor. A sample of a linkage letter is at Letter L-8 – Sample Linkage Letter. The contractor must be provided a copy of the letter. The CO must document the notifications in the case file.