Affirmative Action Requirements Related to Individuals with Disabilities
Under 29 C.F.R. 30.2, “disability” means, with respect to an individual: (a) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual; (b) a record of such an impairment; or (c) being regarded as having such an impairment. This definition, as with other terms defined in the regulations related to disability, are taken directly from title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended.Read More
There is no list of “approved” disabilities under the Equal Employment Opportunity regulations.
Examples of disabilities, as listed in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s regulations implementing Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, include, but are not limited to, blindness, deafness, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, autism, cerebral palsy, HIV/AIDS, schizophrenia, muscular dystrophy, bipolar disorder, major depression, multiple sclerosis, missing limbs or partially missing limbs, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, impairments requiring the use of a wheelchair, and intellectual disability. These are merely examples; however, sponsors may refer to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s disability discrimination page for additional information.Read More
The identification of individuals within the apprenticeship workforce that have a disability is done through voluntary self-identification, and the sponsor should not attempt to identify individuals with disabilities who do not self-identify. If an apprentice has an obvious visible physical disability (i.e., someone is blind or missing a limb), or if an apprentice requests a reasonable accommodation, a sponsor may include that person as an individual with a disability within its workforce analysis. Otherwise, a sponsor should be relying only on self-identification as the method for capturing disability status within its apprenticeship workforce.Read More
Learn About EEO
Sponsors retain the ability to identify and select the best candidates for their programs, as long as those selections are free from unlawful discrimination. Sponsors must engage in outreach and recruitment activities that extend to all groups of people, and ensure that their selection procedures are equitable, uniform, and consistently applied. By taking these steps, sponsors reach new and more diverse talent pools that can improve the quality of their apprenticeship programs and help to ensure Equal Employment Opportunity.Read More
The provisions of 29 C.F.R. 30.3 of the apprenticeship EEO regulations, and specifically the EEO Pledge, state that sex discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity, as well as discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. Additionally, the Office of Apprenticeship looks to the legal standards and defenses applied under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Executive Order 11246 in determining whether a sponsor has engaged in unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex. The Supreme Court, in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, No. 17-1618 (S. Ct. June 15, 2020) held that the prohibition in title VII against sex discrimination includes discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and thus that firing individuals because of their sexual orientation or transgender status violates title VII’s prohibition on discrimination because of sex.Read More
If a program has not historically received applications from individuals in underrepresented groups, the sponsor’s outreach and recruitment practices may not be reaching qualified individuals from these groups who would be interested in applying. Accordingly, the Equal Employment Opportunity regulations require Registered Apprenticeship Program sponsors to take steps to ensure all qualified individuals have access to apprenticeship programs and are considered for program vacancies. Such steps include developing a list of recruitment resources that will generate referrals from diverse demographic groups and providing these sources with advance notice of job openings so that they can notify and refer candidates. If underutilization of a certain group persists, sponsors may need to undertake more targeted outreach and recruitment efforts to ensure that they are drawing from a diverse pool of qualified applicants.Read More
While 29 C.F.R. 30.3 only specifically prohibits age discrimination against those 40 and older, sponsors do not need to include the modifier “40 or older” in their materials referring to age discrimination if they choose not to. Sponsors should also be aware of applicable state and/or local age discrimination laws that may apply, as some of these laws prohibit age discrimination against those who are younger than 40.Read More
The apprenticeship EEO regulations were developed to help apprenticeship sponsors reach a larger and more diverse pool of workers. Additionally, the regulations prohibit discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in Registered Apprenticeship Programs; provide a method of filing discrimination complaints; and specify affirmative steps sponsors must take to promote a skilled, diverse apprenticeship workforce.Read More
Yes. The term ethnicity refers to whether an individual is Hispanic or Latino, or not Hispanic or Latino.Read More
The regulations are intended to benefit sponsors, apprentices, applicants for apprenticeship, and the general public. By reaching a broad range of applicants, program sponsors are able to grow and access a deeper well of talent. Apprentices and applicants, as well as the public, benefit from increased opportunities for women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to enter – and succeed in – apprenticeship programs.Read More
29 C.F.R. 30.3 provides clarity relating to every sponsor’s general duty to engage in affirmative action by requiring four specific, straightforward actions the Office of Apprenticeship believes are most important to ensure Equal Employment Opportunity. These are (1) designating one or more individuals as responsible for overseeing its Equal Employment Opportunity obligations; (2) disseminating internally its Equal Employment Opportunity policy; (3) undertaking general outreach and recruitment; and (4) taking steps designed to ensure that apprenticeship programs are operated free from harassment, intimidation, and retaliation.Read More
The Equal Employment Opportunity regulations apply to all sponsors of apprenticeship programs registered either with the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship or a State Apprenticeship Agency.Read More
Regardless of the model of sponsorship, the sponsor is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the apprenticeship program complies with the obligations of the Equal Employment Opportunity regulations. When the sponsor is either the employer or has direct input into decisions on hiring, promotion, or termination of apprentices, the sponsor must ensure these actions comply with the Equal Employment Opportunity regulations. Where discriminatory actions or other actions in violation of this part are taken by employers participating in the sponsor’s program, the sponsor has an obligation to undertake steps to address the violation when it has knowledge of such actions.Read More
The regulations protect apprentices participating in apprenticeship programs registered either with the Office of Apprenticeship or a State Apprenticeship Agency, as well as applicants to such programs.Read More
Under the Equal Employment Opportunity regulations, sponsors must develop and implement procedures to ensure that apprentices are not harassed because of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), sexual orientation, age (40 or older), genetic information, or disability, and to also ensure that their apprenticeship programs are free from intimidation and retaliation. In those situations where discriminatory actions or other actions in violation of this part are taken by employers participating in the sponsor’s program, the sponsor has an obligation to take steps to address the violation when it has knowledge of such actions. Visit the Prevent Harassment page for more information.Read More
The Equal Employment Opportunity regulations for Registered Apprenticeship Programs prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), disability, age (40 or older), sexual orientation, and genetic information. Under 29 C.F.R. 30.3, sponsors may not discriminate on these bases with respect to personnel actions, including recruitment, selection, placement, rates of pay, hours of work, job assignments, and terminations.Read More
All apprentices and applicants for apprenticeship are protected against discrimination on the grounds listed in 29 C.F.R. 30.3 of the apprenticeship Equal Employment Opportunity regulations. This means that no apprentice or applicant can be discriminated against because of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), disability, age (40 or older), sexual orientation, or genetic information. So, for example, both men and women, as well as people of all races and ethnicities, are protected from discrimination on these bases.Read More
The apprenticeship Equal Employment Opportunity regulations do not specify veterans as a protected group. However, a sponsor may specifically seek out veterans or give them preference in hiring as long as doing so does not discriminate on the basis of any of the protected characteristics. For example, a preference for veterans – who are more likely to be male than female – might have a disparate impact on women that is neither job-related nor consistent with business necessity. Therefore, sponsors should proceed with caution in creating “veteran-only” apprenticeship programs.Read More
Invitation to Self-Identify as an Individual with a Disability
Under 29 C.F.R. 30.11, sponsors required to develop Affirmative Action Programs must invite applicants for apprenticeship to voluntarily self-identify at two separate stages: (1) to all candidates before apprenticeship offers are made ("pre-offer"); and (2) to those who have accepted apprenticeship offers before they begin their apprenticeship ("post-offer").Read More
No. Sponsors can only use the form to ask whether or not an apprentice or apprenticeship applicant has a disability. However, health changes over time, so sponsors will be required to remind apprentices that they can review and update their disability self-identification form annually.Read More
There is a field in RAPIDS to specify that an apprentice chose not to complete the form or answered, “I Don’t Wish to Answer.” Sponsors that use RAPIDS are encouraged to enter the information from Form 671 into the system, as this will make it easy to complete the disability workforce analysis.Read More
Create Your Affirmative Action Program and Plan
Yes. The exemption is based on the total number of apprentices per sponsor – not per employer. Thus, if the number of apprentices in the sponsor’s program is five or more, the sponsor is required to maintain an Affirmative Action Program. Regardless of the number of employers or the distribution of apprentices across them, if the total number of apprentices is five or more, the sponsor is required to have an Affirmative Action Program.Read More
The written Affirmative Action Plan must include the following components:
- Workforce analyses for race, sex, and ethnicity (comparing the workforce and availability analyses)
- Utilization goals for race, sex, and ethnicity (if necessary)
- Utilization goals for individuals with disabilities
- Targeted outreach, recruitment, and retention activities (if necessary)
- Review of personnel processes
- Invitations to self-identify as an individual with a disability
Each of these components requires a sponsor to examine different elements of its apprentice workforce, document its review, and determine whether any element of its program is adversely impacting individuals within certain groups. A guide preparing sponsors to develop their plans is available on the Create Your Plan Equal Employment Opportunity webpage.Read More
No. Each sponsor simply needs to maintain an up-to-date plan and make it available to the Registration Agency upon request, including during its compliance review.Read More
The deadline for sponsors registered with the national Office of Apprenticeship to put an initial Affirmative Action Program in place is two years after a program’s registration date, or two years from the date the program registers its fifth apprentice – whichever is later.Read More
Sponsors required to develop Affirmative Action Programs must conduct an annual review of their personnel practices to help ensure the program is free from unlawful discrimination. This must be a careful, thorough, and systematic review of all aspects of the program, including, but not limited to:
- Qualifications of apprentices
- Application and selection procedures
- Outreach and recruitment activities
- Advancement opportunities
- Work assignments
- Job performance
- Rotations among all work processes of the occupation
- Disciplinary actions
- Handling of requests for reasonable accommodations, and
- The program’s accessibility to individuals with disabilities
The written Affirmative Action Plan must include a description of the review the sponsor undertook, and any modifications made to its practices as a result of the review.Read More
The apprenticeship Equal Employment Opportunity regulations require certain Registered Apprenticeship Program sponsors to develop Affirmative Action Programs. An Affirmative Action Program assists sponsors in detecting, diagnosing, and correcting any barriers to equal opportunity that may exist in its apprenticeship program. Further, an Affirmative Action Program is designed to ensure equal opportunity and prevent discrimination in apprenticeship programs. A sponsor’s written Affirmative Action Plan states the specific steps sponsors will take to ensure all qualified applicants and apprentices receive equal opportunity to be selected for – and succeed in – Registered Apprenticeship Programs.Read More
The Affirmative Action Program is the general activities that sponsors engage in to support equal opportunity in recruitment and hiring of all qualified individuals.
The Affirmative Action Plan is the written documentation of these activities. Sponsors do not need to submit the Plan to the Registration Agency but must make it available upon request, including during compliance reviews.Read More
All sponsors who are not otherwise exempted are required to develop and maintain an Affirmative Action Program. Each sponsor must develop its own Affirmative Action Program, even if employers participating in the sponsor’s program maintain Affirmative Action Programs.Read More
Yes. All Registered Apprenticeship Programs need to take some additional steps that are not required by EEOC and OFCCP. These include:
- Clearly stating that discrimination is prohibited in recruiting, hiring, training, assigning, evaluating, promoting, disciplining, rewarding, or terminating apprenticeship applicants or apprentices on any of the following bases: race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), national origin, age (40 and older), sexual orientation, disability, and genetic information
- Posting their equal opportunity pledge; assigning an individual to coordinate Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO); maintaining an outreach and recruitment list; and providing anti-harassment training to all individuals associated with the apprenticeship program, including all apprentices and journeyworkers who regularly work with apprentices
Complaint Information / Filing a Complaint
Yes. Under 29 C.F.R. 30.14, an authorized representative may file a complaint on behalf of an apprentice. This could allow a friend, family member, advocate, or lawyer to file such a complaint. A community group, a journeyworker who mentors apprentices, or a more senior worker may also file a complaint on behalf of the apprentice. The only requirement is that any such representative be authorized by the apprentice.Read More
Each complaint must be in writing and contain (1) the apprentice’s name, address and telephone number, or other means of contact; (2) the name of the apprenticeship sponsor; (3) a short description of the actions that the apprentice believes were discriminatory or a failure to follow the equal opportunity standards and why the apprentice believes these actions were discriminatory; and (4) the signature of the apprentice or the apprentice’s authorized representative.Read More
For programs registered with the Office of Apprenticeship (OA), complaints are to be electronically filed with OA at ApprenticeshipEEOcomplaints@dol.gov. You may also mail the complaint to the U.S. Department of Labor, as follows:
U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship
200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20210
Telephone Number: (202) 693-2614
Email Address: ApprenticeshipEEOcomplaints@dol.gov
Point of Contact: Director, Division of Standards and Quality
Attn: Apprenticeship EEO Complaints
Due to COVID-19, you are encouraged to email the complaint to ApprenticeshipEEOcomplaints@dol.gov ensure timely receipt of the complaint.Read More
Yes.Retaliation against any party for filing an EEO complaint is specifically prohibited in Registered Apprenticeship Programs.Read More
EEO noticesmust be displayed in a prominent, publicly available location where all apprentices will see the notice. Sponsors must also provide the notice in the application for apprenticeship.Read More
Under the apprenticeship EEO regulations, apprentices and applicants for apprenticeship have 300 days from the alleged discrimination to file a complaint, although individuals are encouraged to file a complaint as promptly as possible. The Registration Agency may extend the filing time for “good cause.” The details are provided on the Inform Apprentices EEO webpage.Read More
If apprentices or applicants for apprenticeship believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), sexual orientation, age (40 or older), genetic information, or disability, or that their program is not following the equal opportunity standards, they can file a written complaint with the Registration Agency under which the apprenticeship is registered. Under 29 C.F.R. 30.14, complaints must be filed within 300 days of the alleged discrimination or the alleged failure to follow the equal opportunity standards. The apprentice may also be able to file a complaint directly with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or the State fair employment practices agency in which the apprenticeship program is located. The contact information for those agencies must be included on the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) notice, which must be provided in the application for apprenticeship and must also be displayed in a prominent, publicly available location where all apprentices will see the notice. The EEO notice language is available on the Inform Apprentices EEO webpage. A sample poster for sponsors to customize is available on the Access Pledge Poster webpage.
*Note that due to COVID-19, you are encouraged to email the complaint to ApprenticeshipEEOcomplaints@dol.govensure timely receipt of the complaint.Read More
Harassment, Intimidation, and Retaliation
Yes. The regulations require Registered Apprenticeship Program sponsors to maintain programs free from harassment, intimidation, and retaliation based on an apprentice’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), sexual orientation, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. It is a best practice for programs to promote positive workplace environments for apprentices that are altogether free from harassment.Read More
The apprenticeship Equal Employment Opportunity regulations require that all Registered Apprenticeship Program sponsors take the following actions to prevent harassment in their programs:
A. Provide anti-harassment training to all individuals connected with operation of the apprenticeship program, including journeyworkers who regularly work with and/or mentor apprentices. Such training must:
- Communicate that unlawful harassing conduct will not be tolerated.
- Define the types of conduct that are unlawful.
- Explain that apprentices have the right to file a harassment complaint, without fear of retaliation, and provide information on how to do so.
B. Ensure that all facilities and apprenticeship activities are available regardless of an apprentice’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), sexual orientation, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information.
C. If the sponsor provides restrooms or changing facilities, they must provide separate or single-user facilities to assure privacy between the sexes.
D. Establish and implement procedures for handling and resolving complaints about harassment, intimidation, or retaliation.Read More
The training must be more than a mere transmittal of information. It must include participation by trainees, such as attending an in-person training session or completing an interactive training online. Sponsors that already provide anti-harassment training may modify their existing training to include the provisions specified in the apprenticeship Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) regulations. Ready-to-use anti-harassment training materials are available on the Prevent Harassment Apprenticeship EEO webpage.Read More
The training must be provided to all individuals connected with the administration and operation of the program, including the following:
- Apprentice supervisors
- Foremen and women
- Other employees who regularly work with apprentices, including management and administrative personnel
The sponsor can rely on anti-harassment training provided to instructors, journeyworkers who mentor apprentices, or apprentices by contractors or other providers if that training satisfies the requirements of the Office of Apprenticeship’s apprenticeship Equal Employment Opportunity regulation regarding anti-harassment training:
- The training is not a mere transmittal of information, but includes participation by trainees, such as attending an in-person training session or completing an interactive training online; and
- The content of the training communicates:
- That harassing conduct will not be tolerated in the apprenticeship program;
- The definition of harassment and the types of conduct that constitute unlawful harassment; and
- An explanation of the right to file a harassment complaint.
Sponsors should offer anti-harassment training, periodically and as necessary, to ensure that all new apprentices, journeyworkers who mentor apprentices, or other personnel connected with the administration or operation of the apprenticeship program receive training. In addition, existing apprentices, journeyworkers who mentor apprentices, and other personnel should be periodically reminded of anti-harassment policies via training or other refresher materials. Anti-harassment training may be provided during the required orientation and periodic information sessions that sponsors must conduct for individuals connected with administration or operation of the apprenticeship program.
We expect that in the course of their normal business practices, some sponsors provide anti-harassment training that covers some or all of what the Office of Apprenticeship regulations require. Sponsors may simply modify existing training modules to include the regulations’ training obligation in order to limit time and expense.Read More
Yes. Anti-harassment training materials are available for apprenticeship sponsors on the Prevent Harassment Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) webpage. These materials include:
- A short, introductory animated video with associated knowledge checks, which sponsors can download to use as part of their anti-harassment training
- A sample PowerPoint presentation that includes scenarios that can be customized for each sponsor’s program, as well as discussion questions to engage participants and managers and illustrate key learning points
In keeping with the apprenticeship EEO regulations, these resources should be used in a training setting that allows trainees to participate actively.Read More
To show that all individuals connected with the administration or operation of the apprenticeship program have received the required anti-harassment training, sponsors will generally need to maintain records showing that all required individuals completed the training and the training received by these individuals covered the required elements outlined in the Equal Employment Opportunity regulations. Documentation showing that apprentices and journeyworkers who mentor apprentices completed the training could include a sign-in sheet with the individuals’ names and date on it.Read More
Harassment in the workplace is unwelcome or offensive conduct that has the purpose or effect of being detrimental to an employee’s work performance, professional advancement, and/or mental health. Harassment against apprentices or applicants for apprenticeship programs can be against the law if it is because of certain characteristics – including their race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, and genetic information – and if it creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment or results in an adverse employment action.
Harassment is not limited by gender identity or sexual orientation. Likewise, a target of harassment and their harasser may identify as the same sex and/or share the same sexual orientation. Visit the Prevent Harassment page for more information.Read More
A participant in an apprenticeship program may not be intimidated, threatened, coerced, retaliated against, or discriminated against because the individual has:
- Filed a complaint alleging an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) violation (including harassment).
- Opposed a practice that is prohibited by Federal or State EEO law or regulation.
- Assisted, provided information for, or participated in an investigation, compliance review, proceeding, or hearing related to EEO.
Otherwise exercised any rights or privileges under these provisions.
Visit the Prevent Harassment page for more information.Read More
The anti-harassment provisions in the Equal Employment Opportunity regulations are applicable to all Registered Apprenticeship Programs. Apprenticeship sponsors must develop and implement procedures to ensure that apprentices are not harassed because of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), sexual orientation, age (40 or older), genetic information, or disability and to ensure that their apprenticeship programs are free from intimidation and retaliation. These procedures must include a few specific steps, such as anti-harassment training and developing and implementing complaint procedures. These steps are described in this Frequently Asked Question.Read More
Sponsors must provide a mechanism for apprentices who have experienced harassment, or have witnessed the harassment of others, to report the incident(s) to an appropriate manager, human resources office, or other organizational contact. As soon as a sponsor becomes aware of harassment, it should take steps to intervene and stop it – both to prevent further harassment and to avoid possible legal liability or program deregistration. Visit the Prevent Harassment page for more information.Read More
Women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and members of other protected groups continue to have very low participation rates in many apprenticeship programs. The apprenticeship Equal Employment Opportunity regulations are intended, in part, to support sponsors in expanding the diversity of their apprenticeship workforces. Protection from harassment promotes a workplace environment in which all apprentices feel safe, welcomed, and treated fairly. This, in turn, benefits apprenticeship sponsors by increasing retention of valued apprentices and enhancing recruitment success with other qualified individuals from underrepresented groups. As apprenticeship programs strive to achieve greater diversity, it is important to prevent individuals from experiencing harassing situations when they are simply trying to do their jobs.Read More
Recruit and Hire
The universal outreach and recruitment provision requires sponsors to send advance notice of all program openings to the recruitment sources on its outreach and recruitment list. A sponsor that has continuous open enrollment should send its position postings to its recruitment sources regularly, as well as whenever there is any change to the apprentice position posting or description. Generally speaking, a sponsor will satisfy this requirement by sending out the posting on a quarterly basis (and any time the posting changes). When evaluating a sponsor’s compliance with this requirement, the Office of Apprenticeship will take into account circumstances in which quarterly postings may not be cost-effective (e.g., for a very small program where there are hardly any openings) or might not be sufficient (e.g., for a program that has a very large number of openings every month).Read More
If the requirement to have a driver’s license impacts any protected group adversely, such a requirement should be validated to ensure it is job-related and consistent with business necessity. For example, an apprenticeship program that involves traveling to different sites may require apprentices to use personal or company transportation to these sites. If driving is not an essential function of the job, the requirement to have a driver’s license may not be consistent with business necessity and may adversely affect certain individuals with disabilities or other protected groups.Read More
Sponsors are allowed to select apprentices through any selection method, as long as it does not discriminate on any of the protected bases and complies with the requirements for selection devices under the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additionally, selection methods must be uniformly and consistently applied to all applicants and apprentices and be facially neutral with respect to the protected bases. Read Selecting Apprentices for Registered Apprenticeship Programs for more details on this topic.Read More
Under the Equal Employment Opportunity regulations for Registered Apprenticeship Programs, sponsors must develop and update annually a list of current recruitment sources that will generate referrals from all demographic groups within the relevant recruitment area. Examples of relevant recruitment sources include the public workforce system’s American Job Centers and local workforce development boards; community-based organizations; community colleges; vocational, career, and technical schools; pre-apprenticeship programs; and Federally-funded youth job training programs such as YouthBuild and Job Corps or their successors. The Office of Apprenticeship (OA) has developed a Universal Outreach Tool to assist sponsors in expanding their outreach and recruitment efforts. The tool can be accessed from the Universal Outreach Tool linkon the Apprenticeship Equal Employment Opportunity Recruit and Hire webpage.
OA encourages program sponsors to post their apprenticeship openings with their respective state job banks and local American Job Centers. For more information about posting opportunities with state job banks, please visit the Career One Stop site.Read More
As a general rule, sponsors should engage in broad-based advertising efforts to ensure that their recruitment efforts extend to all persons available for apprenticeship. Sponsors must provide recruitment sources advance notice, preferably 30 days, of apprenticeship openings and must include their equal opportunity pledge in their opportunity announcements.Read More
Sponsors should make good faith efforts to seek alternative or additional sources that are more effective at referring diverse qualified applicants. The Office of Apprenticeship has provided information and online resources to sponsors regarding recruitment sources. During compliance reviews, sponsors would only be expected to describe their good faith efforts to recruit diverse apprentices.Read More
TheOffice of Apprenticeship has developed the Universal Outreach Tool to help all sponsors – of large and small programs – identify qualified talent from all parts of their typical recruitment area. The tool can be accessed from the Universal Outreach Tool linkon the Apprenticeship Equal Employment Opportunity Recruit and Hire webpage.Read More
Yes. Background checks are allowed, with a few caveats. First, sponsors should indicate what type of background check they mean (e.g., criminal, credit, etc.) and what they mean by “passing it.” For example, descriptions might include “no felony conviction within the last seven years,” “no drug convictions,” or “no conviction of any kind within the last five years.”Read More
No. Sponsors are not permitted to engage in preferential hiring based on race, sex, or any other protected category. Further, nothing in the Equal Employment Opportunity regulations requires sponsors to select unqualified applicants or a less qualified person in preference to a more qualified one. Indeed, doing so on the basis of a protected characteristic like race or sex would be unlawful under the regulations.
Sponsors are required to engage in outreach and recruitment activities designed to reach all demographic groups within the relevant recruitment area and need to ensure that their programs offer equal employment opportunities to all apprentices and applicants. Further, sponsors required to maintain Affirmative Action Plans may need to set race, sex, ethnicity, or disability utilization goals – if they find that their programs underutilize any of these particular groups. However, these goals are not quotas; they do not provide a sponsor with justification to extend a preference to any individual on the basis of a protected characteristic, nor do they permit sponsors to create set-asides for specific underrepresented groups. For example, the regulations make it clear that sponsors should notestablish separate ranking lists based on protected characteristics.Read More
Yes. Under 29 C.F.R. 30.10, a sponsor may give priority to qualified workers who have been waiting for openings in the program, as long as that selection procedure is applied uniformly and consistently and complies with the requirements for selection devices under the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures.Read More
The Equal Employment Opportunity regulations specify conducting utilization analyses by major occupation group to provide a larger data set for comparing to the availability data and deciding if goals need to be established. For many programs, a utilization analysis at the occupational title level would not be very helpful because there are not many apprentices within each occupation.
The regulations require use of the more granular occupational title data when sponsors perform internal analyses of their workforces, such as during their annual reviews of personnel practices. Having data broken down by occupational title allows sponsors to review their apprentice workforces at a deeper level that could be overlooked when titles are combined in the utilization analysis.Read More
If the sponsor recruits separately for discrete locations, each training location will conduct its own utilization analysis and, with the assistance of Registration Agency staff, will identify the appropriate recruitment area for those locations. If the program recruits nationally for a centralized training location, the program will conduct the analysis using national-level Census data. Registration Agency staff will be trained to assist sponsors in conducting analyses using Census data, as well as the Demographic Analysis Tool.Read More
The regulations do not requireutilization analyses or goal calculations for older workers or veterans.Read More
The EEO regulations for Registered Apprenticeship Programs require sponsors that must maintain an Affirmative Action Program to conduct two types of analyses and compare those analyses to each other.
- Workforce analysis: Identifies the racial, sex, and ethnic composition of the sponsor’s apprentice workforce
- Availability analysis: Determines the racial, sex, and ethnic representation of qualified individuals available in the relevant recruitment area
Theutilization analysis is the comparison of the workforce analysis to the availability analysis. The results of the utilization analysis tell the sponsor if its utilization of women, Hispanics or Latinos, or a particular racial minority group is significantly less than would be reasonably expected given the availability of such individuals for apprenticeship. The specific steps for conducting the analyses are included in the Developing Affirmative Action Programs and Plans guide.
Workforce analyses must also be conducted to identify the number of apprentices in the program with disabilities. Unlike race, sex, and ethnicity, the proportion of apprentices with disabilities in the program is compared to a national aspirational goal of 7%.Read More
Conducting utilization analyses helps sponsors identify deficiencies and determine whether they need to set utilization goals. The analyses provide sponsors with a method for assessing whether possible barriers to apprenticeship exist for particular groups of individuals by determining whether the race, sex, ethnicity, and disability status of apprentices in a sponsor’s apprenticeship program is reflective of qualified individuals in the sponsor’s relevant recruitment area. The results of the analyses will help sponsors decide whether and how to develop and engage in targeted outreach and recruitment activities to help meet Equal Employment Opportunity requirements.Read More
Generally, it should not. If journeyworkers are eligible for enrollment in the apprenticeship program, those workers should be included within the sponsor’s availability analysis. However, currently employed journeyworkers should not be included in the sponsor’s workforce analysis.Read More
The workforce analysis should use the sponsor’s apprentice data, regardless of whether or not the sponsor is also the employer.Read More
The availability analysis looks at the racial, sex, and ethnic breakdown of qualified individuals available for apprenticeship in the sponsor’s recruitment area. Individuals are considered qualified if they meet the basic requirements for enrollment in the apprenticeship program. Registration Agencies work closely with each sponsor during regular compliance reviews to develop and conduct an availability analysis.Read More
Yes. The Registration Agency will provide significant technical assistance during compliance reviews to help sponsors conduct their availability and utilization analyses. An automated tool has been developed for staff to use in helping sponsors conduct the analyses. The Demographic Analysis Tool simplifies the process, by using the most recent Census data on all workers in the civilian labor force (persons working and those looking for work) to perform the availability analyses. The tool also allows staff and sponsors to easily identify where the program is underutilizing women or ethnic/racial minorities.Read More
Establishing Utilization Goals
A sponsor is considered to be underutilizing a specific demographic group when the percentage of women, Hispanics or Latinos, or individuals of a particular racial minority group in the sponsor’s program is significantly less than would be reasonably expected given the availability of such individuals for apprenticeship. If the sponsor finds that its program’s percentage of apprentices of a particular race, sex, or ethnicity falls significantly below that group’s availability in the relevant recruitment area, it must establish a utilization goal.Read More
Sponsors will work with the Registration Agency at each compliance review to establish or review utilization goals. Sponsors then compare their workforce analyses to these utilization goals to determine if they are meeting their goals.Read More
If the Registration Agency determines that a sponsor is not meeting its goals, the Registration Agency will work with that sponsor to identify potential problem areas in the program and develop corrective, action-oriented strategies, and the sponsor will engage in more targeted outreach, recruitment, and retention activities to correct any impediments to equal opportunity in the apprenticeship program.Read More
No. Utilization goals are not rigid and inflexible quotas, and they do not establish a ceiling or a floor for the utilization of a particular group. Similarly, the Equal Employment Opportunity regulations provide that a sponsor cannot use its utilization goals as a way to extend a preference to any individual on the basis of that person’s race, sex, or ethnicity, nor can the sponsor create set-asides for specific groups. The application of utilization goals does not require sponsors to select a person who lacks qualifications to participate in the apprenticeship program successfully, or to select a less qualified person in preference to a more qualified one.Read More
Targeted Outreach, Recruitment, Selection, and Retention
There are some specific targeted outreach, recruitment, and retention activities that sponsors must engage in if their programs are found to be underutilizing one or more demographic groups. Those activities are:
- Disseminating information to organizations serving the underutilized group(s) regarding the nature of apprenticeship;
- Advertising openings for apprenticeship opportunities in appropriate media;
- Cooperating with local school boards and vocational education systems to develop and/or establish relationships with pre-apprenticeship programs; and
Establishing linkage agreements or partnerships with pre-apprenticeship programs, community-based organizations, advocacy organizations, or other appropriate organizations.Read More
Hiring Individuals with Disabilities
No. The goal only applies to “qualified individuals with disabilities,” and the application of a utilization goal does not require or authorize a sponsor to hire an individual who is not eligible or qualified for apprenticeship. Additionally, sponsors are not required to hire a less qualified candidate instead of the best qualified candidate for the purposes of affirmative action.Read More
Sponsors do not need to lower their minimum requirements for someone to qualify as an apprentice. However, some applicants with covered disabilities may be fully capable of doing “physically demanding and dangerous” work. For example, a returning veteran may be fully capable of performing physically demanding and dangerous work even though he or she is living with post-traumatic stress disorder. Properly managed, this disability would not be an impediment to safely performing the job. Depending on the nature of the work, many disabilities can be accommodated within apprenticeship programs. This determination is fact-specific, based on reasonable medical judgments rather than on generalizations about the condition or the workplace.Read More
Utilization Goals and Analyses for Individuals with Disabilities
Yes. 29 C.F.R. 30.7 includes a national aspirational utilization goal of 7% for individuals with disabilities that applies to all covered sponsors. This goal provides a benchmark against which sponsors can measure the representation of individuals with disabilities in their apprentice workforce by major occupation group.Read More
Inability to meet the disability goal, in and of itself, is not a violation of the regulations and will not lead to a fine, penalty, or sanction. The regulations specifically provide that the disability goal is not to be used as a quota or a ceiling that limits or restricts the employment of individuals with disabilities. Additionally, a sponsor’s determination that it failed to meet the disability goal does not constitute either a finding or admission of discrimination in violation of the regulation. However, when the percentage of individuals with disabilities in one or more major occupation groups is less than the 7% utilization goal, the sponsor must take steps to determine whether and where impediments to equal opportunity exist and develop action-oriented programs to correct them.Read More
Any sponsor that is required to maintain an Affirmative Action Program (which includes sponsors with five or more apprentices that do not already have an approved Equal Employment Opportunity program in place) must include all current apprentices in its calculations as to whether or not 7% of the apprentices within each major occupation group in the program are individuals with disabilities.Read More
A “reasonable accommodation” includes making existing facilities used by apprentices readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. The term also refers to other measures, such as job restructuring; part-time or modified work schedules; reassignment to a vacant position; acquisition of or modifications to equipment or devices; appropriate adjustment of or modifications to examinations, training materials, or policies; the provision of qualified readers or interpreters; and other similar accommodations. For more information on reasonable accommodations, visit the disability Equal Employment Opportunity webpage.Read More
As with all requests for a reasonable accommodation, the sponsor should engage in an interactive process with the individual to identify the precise limitations resulting from the disability and potential reasonable accommodations that could overcome those limitations. However, a sponsor may require that an individual be able to perform the essential functions of the position in question without posing a direct threat to the health or safety of the individual or others in the workplace. Thus, if an individual with a disability cannot perform a job safely, even with a reasonable accommodation, the sponsor need not hire or retain him or her for that job.
At the same time, not all disabilities include physical limitations, and not all physical limitations will be relevant to the job in question. Each situation requires a specific assessment of the individual’s current ability to safely perform the essential functions of the job.Read More
Self-identifying as an individual with a disability does not automatically entitle that individual to an accommodation, but the sponsor must provide a reasonable accommodation to an apprentice with a disability who requests one, or where the need for such an accommodation is clear.Read More
An Equal Employment Opportunity compliance review may consist of, but is not limited to, comprehensive analyses and evaluations of each aspect of the apprenticeship program through off-site reviews, such as desk audits of records submitted to the Registration Agency, and on-site reviews conducted at the sponsor’s establishment that may involve examination of records; inspection and copying of documents; and interviews with employees, apprentices, journeyworkers, supervisors, managers, and hiring officials.Read More
Yes. In the Notice of Compliance Review Findings, the Registration Agency will identify any deficiencies, how those deficiencies could be remedied, and the timeframe for remedying them. Additionally, the Registration Agency, in keeping with current practice, will provide technical assistance to sponsors with deficiencies on how they may come into compliance.Read More
If a sponsor is found to not be in compliance with Equal Employment Opportunity provisions, they may be required to implement a compliance action plan. If they fail to implement that plan, the Registration Agency can take a number of steps. First, the Registration Agency may offer the sponsor technical assistance to promote compliance.Read More
Record and Document
Sponsors must collect and maintain information on all aspects of compliance with the EEO regulations for Registered Apprenticeship Programs, including, but not limited to:
- Selection activities (including applications, tests and test results, interview notes, bases for selection/rejection of applicants, and any other records required to be maintained under the Uniform Guidelines for Employee Selection Procedures;
- Invitations to voluntarily self-identify as an individual with a disability, for those sponsors required to develop an Affirmative Action Program;
- Information pertinent to the operation of the apprenticeship program, including but not limited to job assignments, promotion, demotion, transfer, layoff, termination, rates of pay (and other forms of compensation), conditions of work, hours of work and training, and any other personnel records relevant to EEO complaints filed with the Registration Agency or other enforcement agencies;
- Evidence that the sponsor’s equal opportunity policy has been disseminated in the workplace;
- Universal recruitment activities;
- Evidence that participatory anti-harassment training has been provided – and to whom;
- The written Affirmative Action Plan and documentation of its components, for those sponsors required to develop an Affirmative Action Program;
- Requests for reasonable accommodation; and
- Any other records pertaining to compliance with the apprenticeship EEO regulations that may be required by the Registration Agency.
Sponsors must also be able to identify the race, sex, ethnicity, and – when known – the disability status of each apprentice on whom they have records. These records must be maintained for five years and must be made available, upon request, to the Registration Agency.Read More
Yes. The same record-keeping requirements apply to applicants for apprenticeship, where possible. Each applicant must be asked to voluntarily identify their race, sex, ethnicity, and disability status.Read More
Sponsors required to develop Affirmative Action Programs must retain both the written Affirmative Action Plan and documentation of its component elements.Read More
Any information obtained on the medical condition or history of an apprentice or applicant must be collected and maintained on separate forms and in separate medical files. The information must be treated as a confidential medical record. Supervisors and managers may be informed of necessary work or duty restrictions and accommodations; first aid and safety personnel may be informed, when appropriate, if an apprentice’s or applicant’s disability might require emergency treatment; and Government officials engaged in enforcing 29 C.F.R. 30, the laws administered by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, or the Americans with Disabilities Act must be provided relevant information on request. Medical information or history obtained on apprentices or applicants may not be used for any other purposes.
Note that completed Voluntary Disability Disclosure Forms must also be kept confidential and be maintained separately from any confidential medical records for apprentices or applicants.Read More