Does Your Company Need an Affirmative Action Plan?

Posted by: Cheryl Miles on December 29, 2015 — GET FREE UPDATES OF NEW POSTS HERE

Equal employment in the workplace is a serious matter these days — and there are multiple federal and state laws in place to ensure that individuals aren’t discriminated against because of race, gender, disability, religion, etc. As a result, affirmative action must be taken by certain employers who meet the requirements. Here’s how to determine whether or not your business needs an affirmative action plan.

Affirmative Action Plan Definition

According to Helios HR, an affirmative action plan (AAP) is “A roadmap of an organization’s programs, policies and procedures for ensuring equal opportunity in all aspects of employment including recruiting, hiring, training, promoting and compensation. Affirmative actions include training programs, outreach efforts and other positive steps to support recruitment and selection goals.”

Simply put, this involves designing a program that avoids discrimination in your hiring, termination and training practices and ensures that all qualified individuals have the same chance.

Affirmative Action Plan Requirements

When it comes to determining whether or not your business is required to have an AAP, the criteria is pretty straightforward:

  • Federal contractors and subcontractors with 50+ employees and $50,000 in government contracts are required to have a written AAP.
  • Companies that work for the government are typically required to have one.
  • Companies with fewer than 50 employees are not required to have a written AAP no matter what their federal contracting status is.

Because of these requirements, you won’t usually have to worry about an AAP if you’re a small business — and it’s none of your concern. However, if you’re a larger company with over 50 employees and $50,000 in government contracts, then you’ll definitely need to have one.

The Benefits of Establishing an AAP

Besides the obvious benefit of not getting audited by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCCP), an AAP can yield three main advantages for your company. First, it’s a natural catalyst for workplace diversity where you’re more likely to employ a variety of individuals from all types of backgrounds. In turn, this often translates into new ideas, innovative approaches to challenges and allows you to break through cultural barriers.

Second, it’s an effective way to rid your company of biases that still pervade some of today’s workforce. This ensures that people are hired and promoted strictly because of their qualifications and what they bring to the table, which can ultimately increase the quality of your talent pool.

Third, it ensures that your business adheres to a strong moral code where everyone has an equal chance of being hired and experiencing career advancement. This is extremely beneficial from a public relations standpoint and helps you build brand equity.

It’s important to know whether an AAP applies to your company and if you need to create one. By understanding the specific requirements, you’ll be informed and make sure that your company is on the right side of the law. Even if it’s not a requirement for your company, you may still want to implement some sort of policy to ward off discrimination and promote workplace diversity.

For more information on this topic and other helpful resources, check out the U.S. Department of Labor website.