FCC tackles EEO for a third time

January 1, 2003


The FCC has adopted new EEO rules that closely resemble Option A ofthe FCC's prior EEO rules. The new rules will become effective 60 daysafter their publication in the Federal Register, unless there arepostponements under Congressional or OMB review procedures. Theprojected effective date is mid-February.

The new rules require broadcasters to disseminate notice offull-time job vacancies and to participate in a specified number ofrecruitment activities. Stations must maintain records of vacanciesfilled, the recruitment sources used for the vacancies and the numberof referrals received from the sources, with the information placed instation public files and on station websites. All stations must submitthis information to the FCC at renewal time and most stations must alsosubmit the information midway through their license terms. Stationsneed not maintain records of the gender and ethnicity and nationalityof persons interviewed or hired. According to the FCC, it will evaluatestations based on their recruitment efforts only and not on the genderand ethnicity/nationality of employees.

Recruitment

The new recruitment rules require licenses to:

  • widely disseminate notices of all full-time (30 hours or more) jobvacancies, except for rare emergency hiring situations;

  • provide notices of all full-time job vacancies to organizations thathave requested to receive vacancy notices;

  • participate in a specified number of recruitment activities everytwo years, such as fairs and scholarship and internship programs.Station employment units with five to 10 full-time employees or whichare located in smaller markets must participate in two such activities,while station employment units with more than 10 full-time employeeslocated in larger markets must participate in four activities. (Astation employment unit is one or more stations operated by the samestaff.)

Record Keeping

In addition, under the new rules detailed records must be keptof:

  • all full-time job vacancies filled, identified by job title;

  • the recruitment sources used for each vacancy, identified by name,address, contact person and telephone number, with a separate list ofthe sources required to be notified because they requested vacancynotices;

  • all advertisements, bulletins, letters, faxes and e-mails announcingvacancies all with dates;

  • documentation necessary to demonstrate participation in the requiredrecruitment activities;

  • the total number of persons interviewed for each vacancy and thereferral source of interviewee;

  • the date each job was filed and the referral source of the personhired.

Reporting

Licensees must place in the station's public file and on thestation's website reports containing lists of:

  • all full-time vacancies filled during the proceeding year,identified by job title;

  • all recruitment sources used for the vacancies, identified by name,address, contact person and telephone number;

  • the recruitment sources that referred the people hired for eachvacancy;

  • the total number of persons interviewed for each vacancy and thetotal number of interviewees referred by each referral source;

  • the required recruitment activities in which the stationparticipated, together with a brief description of thoseactivities.

Additionally, all licensees must:

  • at renewal time, and for radio stations with 10 or more employees,midway through the license term, file with the FCC the reports(described above) placed in the station's public file for the past twoyears;

  • beginning in September 2003, annually file a report with the FCC onthe gender and race and ethnicity of the station's employees. (The FCCsays this information will be used only for statistical purposes andnot to evaluate a station's compliance with the EEO rules.)

Part-Time Employees

The FCC also commenced a further rulemaking proceeding to determinewhether and how to apply the EEO rules to part-time jobs.

Commentary

By effectively adopting the former Option A, which had been approvedby the D.C. Circuit, the FCC is hoping to avoid any further losses incourt on the EEO front.


Martin is an attorney with Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, PLC.,Arlington, VA. E-mail martin@fhhlaw.com.

Dateline:

Stations in D.C., Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia must begintheir pre-filing renewal announcements on April 1, 2003.



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