Affirmative Action and OFCCP Planning and Counseling

For federal contractors, we regularly provide specialized assistance in developing and implementing affirmative action plans ("AAPs"). We identify pertinent labor market areas, analyze census-related statistical data; provide sample plan texts, notices, letters and policy statements; prepare utilization and availability analyses; set goals; and conduct impact ratio and compensation analyses. To help covered employers understand their affirmative action obligations and the procedure for plan development, we train management so they can update their plan annually without significant cost. We defend clients against the imposition of citations and allegations of discrimination in connection with audits by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs ("OFCCP") and in related litigation brought on the OFCCP's behalf by the Solicitor's office of the U.S. Department of Labor. We also prepare AAPs for and defend against audits by state and local affirmative action agencies. To identify and resolve potential adverse impact and compensation disparity discrimination liability, we perform highly-specialized vulnerability audits. For federal contractors and non-federal contractors alike, we advise on implementing lawful diversity initiatives and voluntary AAPs, set-aside, and vendor and franchisee preference programs; counsel on affirmative action coverage issues; and conduct preventive analyses during downsizing.

Our Team Approach

Whether in routine affirmative action plan preparation, defending OFCCP audits or responding to allegations of individual or systemic discrimination, the Affirmative Action Practice Group uses a team approach. Experienced senior attorneys lead teams of junior attorneys, paralegals and database operators. Nationwide, there are over thirty team members in the highly specialized Affirmative Action Practice Group to ensure each client always can communicate with a professional knowledgeable about their company and project status.

Affirmative Action Plan Design and Preparation

Our approach to affirmative action plan preparation and design is never to consider your plan as a boilerplate document. Our affirmative action plan text and statistical reports are the product of years of experience. Our plans are “field tested” through the hundreds of OFCCP audits we defend annually. In addition to being compliant, the product you receive is strategically designed to present your company’s workforce demographics and personnel processes in the most favorable light. We realize that plan content must be designed not only to comply with the affirmative action regulations, but also to account for developing enforcement trends, various directives, applicable case law and the multitude of employment and labor laws that affect the workplace. Unlike most plan preparation providers, the Jackson Lewis Affirmative Action Practice Group uses attorneys to design your plan Success is your first order of business. Affirmative action structure and compose individual affirmative action plans. We do this at a price competitive with non-attorney preparers. In addition to knowledge of the affirmative action laws and regulations, our attorneys recognize that the content and structure of plans can influence the outcome of OFCCP audits or how other government agencies view your employment practices. For example, your job group structure will affect how the OFCCP analyzes your personnel selection trends. Similarly, EEO-1 category assignment can either support or contradict your assignment of exempt status. Our attorneys design, compose and review your plans with these concerns in mind. After the design and composition phase, paralegals and database operators take over to deliver a finished product. The final plans always are reviewed by attorneys.

Our Pricing Structure

Many of our clients prefer the traditional billable hour approach for plan preparation. For others we offer flat fees, project fees and other billing arrangements. For companies with multiple locations that allocate plan preparation costs to individual facilities, we can produce and send individual bills to those locations. Prices depend on the number of plans, the size of the facilities and the scope of plan preparation. Clients can choose basic plan preparation and/or options from our menu of additional services.

Our Approach to Audit Defense

Our approach to audit defense can be summed up simply: preparation. No data is submitted or representations made without confirmation of accuracy and consistency. We endeavor to identify and resolve problem areas prior to OFCCP involvement. In our relations with the Agency, we are strong advocates, but never are unnecessarily combative or argumentative. Rather, we accomplish what is best for our clients through intelligent advocacy and precise knowledge of the affirmative action regulations, the OFCCP’s compliance manual, national office policy, enforcement trends and local office preferences. Consequently, we have been highly successful in either avoiding the need for on-site visits or minimizing their duration and scope. In preparation for or during on-site visits, all data is reviewed and management representatives are prepared to represent your company in the best light possible.

Continuing Education

As we learn about changes in the regulations, enforcement trends and developments in the field, we advise our clients through Affirmative Action Alerts. As a Jackson Lewis client, you will receive frequent email alerts about all employment law topics, our client bulletin “Preventive Strategies” and access to our information-packed website at jacksonlewis.com. Through our experience and contact with hundreds of OFCCP representatives, including the Agency’s senior staff, we “know” the OFCCP. We pass along to our clients the specialized knowledge we glean from these professional relationships. We also can train your human resources representatives, diversity professionals, or management staff on affirmative action and EEO obligations.

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Diversity

Jackson Lewis is committed to promoting an inclusive culture where diversity is valued by everyone.  We are proud of our role as a leader in educating and training employers in the laws of equal opportunity and affirmative action, as well as best practices for corporate diversity programs and initiatives.  We share our clients’ goals to emphasize diversity, integrity, and respect for the contribution of every employee. We understand the importance of having a workforce that reflects the various communities in which we work, and upon which we can rely to creatively develop preventive strategies and positive solutions for our clients.  Jackson Lewis seeks to recruit, hire, retain, develop, and advance a diverse team of employees who share our passion for representing management in all aspects of workplace law, and strives to consistently act under the following guiding principles:

 

  • Encourage a better understanding of how diverse individual experiences and backgrounds can strengthen the firm and its productivity through a continuing firm-wide communication and educational process
  • Strive to help every employee realize his or her professional potential within the firm
  • Treat every person with dignity and respect
  • Promote understanding and acceptance of individual differences
  • Respect our employees’ needs to have a work/life balance

 

The firm has a standing Diversity Committee divided into sub-committees, both to ensure all vital areas are addressed, and to provide leadership opportunities for female and minority attorneys.  The Diversity Committee is Chaired by Senior Partner Weldon H. Latham, and consists of the Co-Chairs of five Attorney Resource Groups (ARGs), discussed below.  Joan Ackerstein, a member of the firm’s Management Committee, serves as Management Committee Liaison to the Diversity Committee, and Partner, Michael Hatcher, serves as the firm’s Diversity Manager.  The ARGs address mentoring, business development, pro bono activities and recruiting.  Our Diversity Committee coordinates the activities of our ARGs, which include African American; Asian American; Hispanic; Women; and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender attorneys.  Each of the ARGs meets periodically to discuss business development opportunities, client service initiatives, and other professional issues. 

 

The following groups act under the guidance of the Diversity Committee:

 

African-American Attorney Resource Group

Co-Chaired by LeRoy Watkins (Morristown office) and Dev Sukhdeo (Miami office)

A resource for Jackson Lewis attorneys looking to build and maintain business relationships with HR professionals, corporate counsel and community organizations. 

 

  • Regular meetings and informal network that helps foster a positive and supportive forum in which issues unique to attorneys of color are addressed
  • Attorneys sponsor and participate in Minority Corporate Counsel Association and National Association of African Americans in Human Resources events, are active members of the National Bar Association and National Employment Law Conference

Asian American Attorney Resource Group

Co-Chaired by Tanya Bovee (Hartford office) and Nicky Jatana (Los Angeles office)

Primary goal is to increase the firm’s visibility among Asian Pacific American and other minority attorneys.

 

  • Proactive recruitment efforts at the law school level to encourage candidates of different backgrounds to apply for positions with the firm
  • Mentoring and assisting Jackson Lewis attorneys in their training and development
  • Introducing and communicating the capabilities of the firm to in-house counsel, human resource professionals, and other key decision-makers within the Asian Pacific American business community and beyond
  • Facilitating a variety of management education programs and presentations on employment, labor, benefits and immigration law topics
  • Supporting and participating in a number of professional organizations, including the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, the North American South Asian Bar Association and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

Hispanic Attorney Resource Group 

Co-Chaired by James Botana (Chicago office) and Pedro Torres-Diaz (Miami office)

Holds regular meetings to foster communication and teamwork among the group’s members in connection with our efforts to develop as lawyers and expand our business.

 

  • Committed to  increasing the firm’s visibility among Hispanic-American and other minority attorneys, as well as mentoring the firm’s attorneys to assist in their training and development
  • Has developed and maintained its Spanish Language Legal Services to enhance the firm’s reputation and service level to existing and prospective clients in need of such services 
  • Attorneys participate in Minority Corporate Counsel Association and Hispanic National Bar Association events at both the national and local level

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Attorney Resource Group

Co-Chaired by Michelle Phillips (White Plains office) and Pedro Forment (Miami office)

A consortium of attorneys and staff committed to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in the workplace, our LGBT ARG provides an open forum for the exchange of ideas, current legal trends, and information on LGBT issues that are then shared internally and externally to promote an inclusive work environment in which respect and tolerance are the pillars of our firm culture.

 

  • Reaches out to LGBT and diversity professionals to build and maintain business relationships with corporate counsel, human resource professionals, chief executive officers and trade, non-profit, and professional organizations
  • Routinely provides speakers for a variety of management education-focused presentations, including the avoidance of sexual orientation and gender identity harassment and discrimination, diversity initiatives, domestic partner and marriage benefits and emerging same-sex legal developments
  • Participates in/supports a number of organizations and events, including the Out & Equal Workplace Summit, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Lesbian and Gay Law Association of Greater New York, Society for Human Resource Management Diversity Conference, Echelon Magazine, Professionals in Human Resources Association, the National Lesbian & Gay Law Association and the Lavender Law Conference

Women's Attorney Resource Group

Co-Chaired by Susan Corcoran (White Plains office), Peggy Strange (Hartford office) and Samantha Hoffman (Orange County office)

Committed to involving Jackson Lewis attorneys in opportunities for business development by and for women.  Our firm has been a leader in this area, demonstrated most notably by its annual employment law conferences for women in-house counsel and human resource executives. 

 

  • Holds regular teleconferences to foster new and sustained marketing initiatives and share successes from around the firm
  • Assists the firm to attract and retain professional and support staff and to create new business opportunities firm wide through fostering the development of rainmaking and leadership skills among Jackson Lewis attorneys
  • Expands the scope and breadth of opportunities for all Jackson Lewis attorneys and facilitates participation by providing mentoring and sharing resources specific to this aspect of our business development efforts
  • Committed to enhancing the firm’s reputation among women’s legal and professional groups through active participation and leadership in such organizations
  • Includes membership in women’s bar associations, local chambers of commerce, and women’s business organizations