New EEO Rules for MVPDs and Broadcasters
Late last week, the Commission announced the release of a Second Report and Order and Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking revising the equal employment opportunity (“EEO”) rules for Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (“MVPDs”), such as cable and satellite television providers, and broadcasters. Although the text of the Order has not yet been released and the effective date is not yet known, the revised rules will eliminate the previous EEO rules regarding outreach recruitment efforts that were invalidated by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals last year. The new rules prohibit discrimination by broadcasters and MVPDs; require broadcasters and MVPDs to provide notice of job vacancies to any recruitment organizations that request such notice every time a full-time opening exists; and to undertake additional outreach measures.
The outreach recruitment requirements are embodied in the following three prongs:
1. To widely disseminate information concerning full-time (30 hours or more) job vacancies, except for vacancies filled in exigent circumstances;
2. To provide notice of each full-time job vacancy to recruitment organizations that have requested such notice; and
3. To complete longer-term recruitment initiatives. These include, for example, job fairs, scholarship and internship programs, as well as other community events designed to inform the public about equal opportunities in broadcasting and cable
The Commission also adopted record keeping and reporting requirements that will be used to determine compliance with the EEO rules on an annual basis (and more thoroughly every five years) for MVPDs, and at license renewal time for broadcasters.
MVPDs must file reports on an annual basis containing information specified in Section 634 of the Cable Act2 and information to allow the Commission to certify annual compliance with the EEO rules consistent with reporting done in the past. The EEO rules will be enforced at license renewal time for broadcasters, and at mid-term for larger broadcasters. Both MVPDs and broadcasters could be subject to random audits and targeted investigations to ensure EEO compliance.
The Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking solicits comment on the application of the rules to part time positions. As soon as the text of Second Report and Order and Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking are released, we will update you with any further details of note. In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding the Commission’s action, please contact us.