In the second of my spring cleaning series, I wanted to provide some thoughts for those Minnesota government contractors who must maintain certain documents in order to continue to enter into contracts for State projects. Below are some frequent violations/issues found by the MDHR when auditing contractors. This is by no means an exhaustive list, however, these are issues I see time and time again…
- Have an affirmative action plan for each year.
- A four (4) year Minnesota compliance certificate does not mean you need an affirmative action plan every four (4) years. Your affirmative action plan must be updated annually.
- You should also have an annual training on the results of your affirmative action plan (both in the changes from year to year, and goals for following year).
- Provide management training and have the hiring managers (and up) sign off that they were there.
- Have a document retention policy.
- The MDHR continues to insist (though I can find no legal support for it) that an employer must have a document retention policy, and that the policy should state that all documents related to administrative charges be retained until final disposition of the charge. That being said, it would be best practices to have such a policy, since you need to retain documents for specified periods of time in any event.
- Review your employment application – especially if you’ve been using the same one for a long time.
- The MDHR has objected to questions such as how a person was discharged from the military, whether the applicant knows anyone in the business, and any relation. Review your application and ask whether a question would elicit a response which would provide information that may screen out minority or other protected class applicants. If you are still asking for dates of birth, social security numbers, or date of graduation from schools, you should update your application.
- Be sure to send – and save – the required letter to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for each job posting.
- The MDHR will require a copy of “all correspondence that the company has sent to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development during the last 12-month period requesting referrals for qualified individuals with disabilities.” Thus, for every job posted, a letter must be sent to DEED regarding the position and asking for such referrals. If you are not doing this, start.
- Keep (or put in writing) training materials concerning the hiring process.
- Since all individuals must be trained who are “involved in the recruiting, screening, selecting, promotion, disciplinary and related processes” to “ensure elimination of bias in all personnel action”, you should maintain proof of such training. This goes further than human resources! The MDHR will require documentation for managers. Management training with sign-off sheets would accomplish this.
- Retain documents related to the use of referral sources for minority or female applicants (such as secondary schools, colleges and trade groups). Often clients do this, but don’t think the documentation is significant. For example, keep your emails to recruiters and schools, proof of sponsorship and career fairs.
- Retain documents related to internship and apprenticeship programs. If you “promote from within”, they will want to see “good faith efforts” to develop and maintain “on-the-job training opportunities for females and minorities.”
- Finally, an issue I just handled this morning…if you are a construction contractor, make sure your contractor registration is current (which is not the same thing as your licence). You can do that online here.
Of course, this list could go on and on. The key is to not become complacent. Review your policies, practices, and records at least yearly.