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VEVRAA Focused Reviews To Start Soon
In recent webinars, officials from OFCCP stated that the agency would begin reviews focused on organizations’ compliance with the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), the law that requires affirmative action for certain classes of veterans. During separate webinars held by the National Industry Liaison Group, OFCCP Director Craig Leen and Director of Policy and Program Development Tina Williams indicated that the agency is ready to move forward with these reviews. VEVRAA focused reviews were initially announced by OFCCP in a directive issued in August of 2018. This directive also announced that there would be focused reviews regarding Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Law, which requires affirmative action for individuals with disabilities.
A list of 500 organizations that will be undergoing VEVRAA focused reviews was released in November of 2019. The disability focused reviews that are currently being conducted by OFCCP are only occurring at corporate headquarters. However, VEVRAA focused reviews may occur at any of a federal contractor’s establishments.
OFCCP has added a number pages meant to assist contractors in their efforts comply with VEVRAA regulations and prepare for a VEVRAA focused review. Among these pages is a VEVRAA focused review landing page, as well as a VEVRAA Compliance Assistance page, which includes a sample VEVRAA affirmative action plan, FAQs, and information on the VEVRAA hiring benchmark.
Information to Submit for a VEVRAA Focused Review
The letter from OFCCP that opens a VEVRAA focused review requests the following items:
- A copy of an organization’s current Executive Order 11246 Affirmative Action Program (AAP) for the relevant establishment
- A copy of an organization’s current VEVRAA AAP for the relevant establishment
- Results of the evaluation of the effectiveness of outreach and recruitment efforts to find protected veterans
- The data metrics on applicants and hires required by the VEVRAA regulations
- Documentation of the hiring benchmark adopted by the organization under review
- A copy of an organization’s collective bargaining agreement if the organization has such an agreement
- Copies of reasonable accommodation policies and documentation of any accommodation requests received and their resolution
- A copy of the most recent assessment of personnel processes
- Information on the most recent assessment of physical and mental qualifications
OFCCP has stated in its VEVRAA focused review FAQs that it will conduct no substantive review of the Executive Order AAP (that is, the AAP for minorities and females). Instead, OFCCP will use the Executive Order AAP to “get a clearer picture of the [federal] contractor’s organizational structure and understand generally how the VEVRAA compliance strategies fit with the contractor’s other affirmative efforts.” However, if there are obvious missing items in the Executive Order AAP, OFCCP will require the federal contractor to submit this information.
Key Elements of VEVRAA Focused Reviews
As of July 27, 2020, OFCCP has not released a sample on-site guide or sample focused review report, which ARE available for disability focused reviews. Thus, it is not entirely clear where OFCCP will focus its attention during these reviews. However, OFCCP will certainly examine whether organizations are listing their positions with the relevant state employment service office. In one of its FAQs, OFCCP makes it clear that each listing must be provided “in a format permitted by the appropriate service delivery system (ESDS)” office. OFCCP then states that if the ESDS office requires job listings through a web-based portal, federal contractors must use the portal to list jobs.
All VEVRAA focused reviews were originally expected to include an on-site visit by OFCCP. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, OFCCP has been conducting “on-sites” for disability focused reviews virtually. The agency is likely to continue this practice with VEVRAA focused reviews.
In preparation for VEVRAA focused reviews, OFCCP has released a best practices guide. Among the suggestions in the guide are the following:
- The creation of employee resource groups for veterans
- Developing relationships with the local veteran employment representatives at the relevant state employment services office
- Providing opportunities for military spouses (as noted in OFCCP Directive 2020-01)
- Recruiting at military job fairs
One item not mentioned in OFCCP’s best practices guide that many organizations find valuable is the use of a matrix that compares skills learned in the military with skills required in the workplace. The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs has developed one such chart that compares duties associated with each military rank to comparable civilian positions.
To see if your organization will undergo one of these reviews, check the Corporate Scheduling Announcement List (CSAL) posted by the agency in November of 2019.