Effective Date of New EEO Rules Is March 10, 2003
The Federal Register has published the FCC’s new Equal Employment Opportunity (“EEO”) rules for cable operators, broadcasters and other multichannel video programming distributors (“MVPDs”). See CRB Update, “New EEO Rules for MVPDs and Broadcasters,” dated Nov. 12, 2002 for an overview of these rules. The effective date of these rules is 60 days following publication, or March 10, 2003. The filing date for the annual cable operator EEO reports is Sept. 30. Accordingly, this year, a cable operator’s report will cover recruitment activities from March 10 through Sept. 30. Broadcasters have no corresponding annual FCC reporting requirement.
Effective on March 10, broadcasters and cable operators will have to provide notice of job vacancies to various recruitment organizations and to undertake additional outreach measures as described in our Nov. 12 Update. Because there is only a six-month period before the annual cable EEO report is due, cable operators with six or more employees will be required to implement and document a minimum of one additional outreach measure. The new EEO rules also include recordkeeping and reporting requirements that will be used by the FCC to determine compliance. Cable operators and broadcasters will be required to compile information on an annual basis. Cable operators will have to provide more thorough information every five years, while broadcasters will be required to provide details at license renewal time and (for the larger broadcasters) mid-term. More specifically, cable operators and broadcasters will have to compile for FCC inspection upon request and for input in the public file:
- Listings of all full-time job vacancies filled during the preceding year, identified by job title;
- The recruitment sources used to fill each vacancy (including organizations entitled to notification of vacancies);
- Data reflecting the total number of persons interviewed for full-time vacancies during the preceding year, the referral source for each interviewee, and the total number of interviewees referred by each recruitment source;
- A list of the recruitment sources that referred the people hired for each full-time vacancy; and
- A list and brief description of EEO menu options implemented during the preceding year.
In addition, the following must be compiled for FCC inspection upon request but need not be kept in the public file:
- Dated copies of all advertisements or other communications announcing vacancies;
- Documentation demonstrating performance of the required EEO menu options, e.g., job fairs, mentoring programs, etc.; and
- The date each job was filled.
Cable operators with six or more full-time employees will be required to submit the EEO public file report to the FCC every five years, while broadcasters will be required to submit it as part of the license renewal application. Additionally, television stations with five or more full-time employees and radio stations with more than 10 full-time employees will be required to file the EEO public file report with the FCC midway through their license terms (i.e., every four years). Both broadcasters and cable operators will be required to post their current EEO public file reports on their websites, if they have one.
Smaller cable operators and broadcasters (i.e., those with fewer employees or in smaller markets) will have fewer requirements. Cable operators also must file reports on an annual basis containing information specified in Section 634 of the Cable Act1 along with information to allow the Commission to certify annual compliance with the EEO rules consistent with reporting done in the past. Both cable operators and broadcasters could be subject to random audits and targeted investigations to ensure EEO compliance.
Please contact us if you have any questions regarding the new rule requirements or operator/licensee reporting and recordkeeping obligations under the new rules.
1 This information includes a statistical report identifying by race, sex, and job title the number of employees in specified job categories. 47 U.S.C. § 554(d)(3).