In what may come as news for some federal contractors, OFCCP may now require placement goals to be set for specific racial/ethnic and gender subgroups when the percentage of a particular minority group employed is substantially less than would be reasonably expected given the percentage of that group available for employment.
OFCCP indicates in new FAQs that the agency reserves the right to ask contractors to set placement goals for certain individual subgroups: White, African‐American/Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and Hispanic. This means in the event a specific minority group is found to be underrepresented in a particular job group, contractors may be asked to set hiring goals not only for “total” minorities but also for specific underutilized subgroups. In an interesting development, the agency states, “if the percentage of men or women of a particular minority group is substantially less than would be reasonably expected, then OFCCP may require separate goals for those underrepresented groups.” It seems with this statement the agency reserves the right to ask contractors to set placement goals for men, within a certain minority sub-group. For example, OFCCP may require a separate goal for African American males, if the percentage of African American men is substantially less than would be reasonably expected.
OFCCP maintains establishing disaggregated placement goals for specific minority sub-groups is valuable, in that it enables contractors to better target areas of their workforce in which there may be impediments to equal opportunity employment. In other words, it encourages contractors to take a more robust perspective of diversity, helping to ensure the underutilization of a specific racial/ethnic group is not overshadowed by only assessing minority representation on the aggregate level.
It is clear why OFCCP recommends establishing disaggregated placement goals as a best practice. However, it is important to note that even when setting placement goals for specific minority subgroups, contractors are still required to establish aggregate minority placement goals when substantial underutilization exists.