At least 1,000 federal government contractors were sent letters warning them to expect audits of their civil rights employment practices later this year.
They also will receive letters to be mailed March 19 that will actually schedule the audits of their Affirmative Action plans and protections for minorities, women, veterans and people with disabilities.
According to attorney Emily Paige Harbison of the law firm of Baker McKenzie, if you received a warning letter, now is the time to start preparing for an audit – don’t wait until the audit letter arrives.
But that’s not even the scariest part: Many businesses that don’t consider themselves federal contractors or subcontractors can incur massive costs if they do business with the government and are found to have violated the same contractor rules.
The rules apply to agreements between a federal agency and a company for the purchase, sale or use of personal property or non-personal services, defined as utilities, construction, transportation, research, insurance, and fund depository services.
They also can apply if your firm is affiliated with a company that does business with the government.
Assess current agreements to determine if the rules apply to your company, urges attorney Jayna Marie Rust of the law firm of Thompson Coburn. If they do but you haven’t been following them, she recommends consulting with an attorney experienced in this field to find out how to remedy any non-compliance issues before they come to the government’s attention.
“Following these steps may result in some unexpected cost or inconvenience for your company, and those issues will undoubtedly factor into how much attention your company may pay to these rules,” she says. “What should not impact your decision, however, is any presumed posture of the current [Trump] administration.”