OFCCP Issues Directive Establishing Voluntary Program for “High-Performing” Contractors
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has issued a new directive creating a Voluntary Enterprise-wide Review Program (VERP) as an alternative to the typical establishment-based compliance review process. Those participating in the program would be excused from further reviews for either five or three years, depending on whether they are top-tier (i.e. top-performing contractors with corporate-wide model diversity and inclusion programs) or second-tier (i.e. OFCCP compliant contractors that will receive individualized compliance assistance to become top performers).
Applying to the program. Beginning in fiscal year 2020, contractors may apply to participate in VERP. The OFCCP will conduct a compliance review of the contractor’s headquarters and a sample of other establishments as part of the application process. In addition, contractors must demonstrate not only basic compliance with OFCCP’s requirements, but commitment to and application of successful corporate-wide equal employment opportunity programs.
Participation in the program. Upon acceptance into the program, OFCCP will enter an agreement removing the contractor from the neutral scheduling process for the duration of the agreement. The agreement lasts five years for top tier contractors and three years for second tier contractors. Contractors must provide periodic reports and information to OFCCP to confirm that they remain free from discrimination. At the end of the five-year period, top tier contractors may be re-evaluated to stay in the program.
Those who do not qualify for VERP are not automatically scheduled for a compliance evaluation, but would remain in the pool for neutrally scheduled evaluations. In addition, if OFCCP determines that a VERP participant fails to maintain the requirements of the program, it may terminate the agreement and return the contractor to the same pool.