EOE Language for Government Contractor Job Postings

by Angela Adams CEBS, SPHR, Director, Human Resource Services

Published July 14, 2015

Question: Our organization is a government contractor. What language should I put in our job postings to indicate our status?

Answer: All contractors and/or subcontractors (“contractors”) must advise job applicants of their status as a government contractor dedicated to equal employment opportunity as required under Executive Order 11246, the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act and the Rehabilitation Act. This has long been a requirement for contractors that was fulfilled by including certain language in job ads.

With the implementation of the new veterans and disability regulations for contractors in March of 2014, along with the addition of sexual orientation and gender identity to protected classes in Executive Order 11246 in April of 2015, there has been some confusion surrounding what language needs to be included.

Those who have been involved in affirmative action for a while may recall using “EOE: m/f/d/v (equal opportunity employer: minorities/females/disabled/veterans),” or just “EOE” or “m/f/d/v.”  Some even spelled out “equal opportunity employer” and left it at that.  None of these options currently passes muster.

Here’s our suggestion: use “Equal Opportunity Employer: disability/veteran.”

The reason we suggest the above is because the “equal opportunity employer” part covers Executive Order 11246. This protects race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and national origin.  The disability and veteran tag shows that you are subject to the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act and the Rehabilitation Act.  These three laws make up the affirmative action obligations contractors have, as pointed out above.

In the past, we have suggested you use “minorities/females” in conjunction with the above statement. Because some might construe singling out minorities and females in ads as preferential treatment under 11246 (as it covers other categories as well), we trimmed that suggestion back to just “equal opportunity employer.” We also suggest “disability” rather than “disabled,” because the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)’s FAQ uses the former word when providing sample language.

Here are various ways we’ve seen the tag for ads and our thoughts on each.

NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE

  • EOE
  • EOE: m/f/d/v
  • m/f/d/v
  • minorities/females/disabled (or disability)/veterans (by itself, with no Equal Opportunity Employer)
  • Equal Opportunity Employer (alone, with no reference to disability or veteran status)

Note that it’s unacceptable to abbreviate disability or veteran categories under the new regulations.

ACCEPTABLE

  • Equal Opportunity Employer: disability/veteran (our recommendation)
  • Equal Opportunity Employer: minority/female/disability/veteran (while we no longer recommend this, we have never had the OFCCP object to it)

A longer sentence would fulfill the requirements also:

  • All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or veteran status.

MAY BE ACCEPTABLE. The OFCCP has never officially said that the abbreviation of “EOE” is okay, but has yet to say it’s not, either. Remember you should never abbreviate disability or veteran, and the OFCCP also appears to prefer the word “disability” to “disabled” (but has not indicated “disabled” is unacceptable).

  • EOE: disability/veteran 
  • EOE: minority/female/disability/veteran
  • EOE: disabled/veteran 
  • EOE: minority/female/disabled/veteran
  • Equal Opportunity Employer: disabled/veteran
  • Equal Opportunity Employer: minority/female/disabled/veteran (while we no longer recommend this, we have never had the OFCCP object to it)

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the Association’s affirmative action staff at (800) 448-4584.

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