In a recent article on HR.BLR.com®, president and founder of HRworks, Kurt Ronn, discussed the current landslide of regulations and enforcement changes brought about by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). OFCCP, the agency charged with enforcing affirmative action requirements for federal government contractors, has recently amped up its regulation and enforcement to a degree that many, including Ronn, believe make both compliance and enforcement highly difficult, perhaps even impossible.
So, BLR® asked its readers what they thought about OFCCP’s recent activity and the very real possibility that overregulation, coupled with an inability to properly implement audits, may not make any difference at all in affirmative action.
In reaction to a readers’ poll, 82 percent of respondents stated that they believed affirmative action regulations are too burdensome, while only 17 percent did not. When asked whether compliance with government regulations made it more difficult to do their job, 41 percent responded that it was “much more difficult,” while 53 percent believed that their job was more difficult, but still manageable—a promising sign.
Finally, the vast majority of readers (82 percent) agreed with author Kurt Ronn that affirmative action regulations are too complex and broad reaching for the government to effectively audit compliance.
Readers Sound Off
When given the opportunity to comment on the article by Kurt Ronn, readers offered valuable insight into the conundrum that federal contractors face in trying to keep up with the rapidly changing legal landscape.
Expressing frustration with the cost of compliance versus the benefit of contracting, one reader stated:
“When it is a small company of less than 100, and you are a government contractor with [one] individual doing all the work for Human Resources, maintaining all the records manually, which includes recording all applicants—whether or not they qualify for the position, it is hard to justify the earnings of the contract ... which some years is minimal.”
A reader at a smaller-sized employer voiced frustration with the perceived slant toward larger-sized contractors, saying:
“Although these regulations are intended to assist the jobseekers and employees, it doesn't seem as if too much thought is given on how small companies need to have additional staff just to keep up with the ever-changing demands. It seems that the regulations always have the large corporations in mind where there are multiple HR staffers to spread the work out. Additionally, employees can file a complaint—often frivolous and waste company staff time, budget, etc., but have no responsibility to make amends or are they fined in any way if it is in fact found to be frivolous. The burden is always on the employer.”
Another reader criticized OFCCP’s recent activity, stating that:
“This is activism and counterproductive to a healthy environment and business climate. The feds should look to be more collaborative than punitive. With their approach, they are looking to create problems where none exist. Certainly there are still issues in the marketplace, but the approach that the OFCCP is taking will not lead to improvements, which is the goal.
One reader offered this bleak assessment:
“I believe that most companies are not fully aware of the requirements to be in full compliance and do not expend the resources to do so.”
Finally, raising the valuable point that teamwork and cooperation between HR and legal makes the difference in compliance efforts, one reader commented:
“The affirmative regulations are as effective as the support given them by the management team of companies or organizations. I have been an H.R. Executive for 25 years, and my organization along with Legal have had no problem when we have created an environment of compliance.”
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