Freqently Asked Questions - Contract Compliance
1. Am I required to have an affirmative action program to bid on a state contract?
No, a written affirmative action plan is not required in order to bid on a state contract.
2. Is an equal employment opportunity policy the same thing as an affirmative action program?
No. An Equal Employment Opportunity Policy Statement is a public commitment assuring that every job applicant and employee is provided the same opportunity in all terms and conditions of employment regardless of their race, color, religious creed, age, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, mental retardation or physical disability including, but not limited to blindness, unless it is shown that such disability prevents performance of the work involved.
3. What is an affirmative action plan?
An affirmative action program is a written work plan that contains information about the employment procedures a company will use to ensure that the procedures do not result in illegal employment discrimination against protected class persons. An affirmative action plan must include the following: a. written equal opportunity policy statement; b. description of how policy statement information is disseminated; c. description of how recruitment for employment openings and promotional opportunities are made known to the widest pool of potential applicants; d. description of the hiring, training and promotional practices of the company; e. an analysis of current company workforce statistics by race and gender compared with the availability of workers by race and gender in the recruitment area from which such workers are reasonably drawn (and targeted minority and female hiring and promotional goals when the analysis indicates such are needed); and a, f. description of how the company collects information and monitors the results achieved by the previously described activities. See CONN. GEN. STAT. Sections 4a-60, 4a-60a, 46a-68c and 46a-68d and, Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies Sections 46a-68j-21 to 46a-68j-29.
4. Where can I obtain information about how to prepare an affirmative action program for my business?
You may contact the Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities’ Contract Compliance Office at (860) 541-3400.
5. I am a construction contractor with an affirmative action plan approved by the federal government (or a municipality). Will this program be acceptable on a state construction contract for which an affirmative action plan is required?
No. The affirmative action plan required for a state construction project ("public works contract") requires information specific to that project. While your existing affirmative action plan will already contain much of the required information, it will need to be amended to also include specific information about the employment and subcontracting opportunities that will occur on the pending state construction project.
6. What does "good faith effort" mean?
"Good faith efforts" mean, but are not limited to, those reasonable initial efforts necessary to comply with statutory and regulatory requirements and additional or substituted efforts when it is determined that such initial efforts will not be sufficient to comply with such requirements. See CONN. GEN. STAT. Section 4a-60 and Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies Sections 46a-68j-23 to 46a-68j-28.
7. What is the Set-Aside Program for Small Contractors, Minority Business Enterprises, individuals with a disability and non-profit corporations (hereafter Small Contractors Set-Aside Program)?
The Small Contractors Set-Aside Program is a contract award preference program for state based small contractors. The law defines a small contractor (SBE) as a company that: 1) has been in business for at least one year; 2) has its principal place of business in the State of Connecticut; and, 3) whose prior year gross revenues did not exceed $10,000,000 (this ceiling will rise to $15,000,000 on January 1, 2008). A minority business enterprise is defined as a small contractor, which is 51% owned, controlled, and operated by a minority person or persons. For purposes of this law, the term minority includes persons who are Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, Women, and/or have origins in the Iberian Peninsula. The law additionally defines a business that is owned by an individual with a disability to be eligible as a minority business enterprise. You can obtain complete information about the Small Contractors Set-Aside Program from the Department of Administrative Services web site.
8. How do I become certified by the state as a small contractor or minority business enterprise?
You may apply to become certified with the CT Department of Administrative Services’ Business CONNections. You can obtain information about the program and/or download an application off their web site.
9. I am a contractor who has just been awarded a state contract. The contract does not have any small contractor or minority business enterprise set aside requirements. Do I still have to try to utilize minority subcontractors for any subcontracting opportunities that become available on the project?
Yes. According to Connecticut’s contract compliance law, a state contractor is required to undertake "good faith efforts" to include subcontractors and material suppliers who are minority business enterprises on state contracts. To help identify prospective contractors or material suppliers, please refer to the DAS web site See CONN. GEN. STAT. Section 4a-60 and Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies Sections 46a-68j-21 to 46a-68j-29.
10. I am an out of state minority business enterprise. Can I be certified by the State of Connecticut as a minority business enterprise?
No, you are not eligible to be certified by the State of Connecticut as a minority business enterprise or participate in the states’ Small Contractor Set-Aside Program. Under this law, only a small contractor or minority business enterprise whose principal place of business is located in Connecticut can register with the state as a small contractor or minority business enterprise. You may however, wish to contact the Connecticut Department of Transportation to determine if you may be eligible to register with them as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) for the purpose of participating upon federally funded contracts as a DBE contractor. For further information, contact the DOT (860) 594-2171. Additionally, if you are currently certified as a minority owned business in your home state, obtain a copy of your certification (if not already in your files). A copy of this certification may be helpful to you during the bidding process with Connecticut awarding agencies as, these agencies are also required, under Connecticut’s contract compliance law, to undertake "good faith efforts" to include subcontractors and material suppliers who are minority business enterprises on their contracts. The contract compliance law does not require contractor residency. See CONN. GEN. STAT. Sections 32-9e, 32-9n and 4a-60 and Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies Sections 46a-68j-21 to 46a-68j-29.
11. Are there programs or resources in the state to assist minority business enterprises?
Yes. Refer to the following web sites: The Department of Administrative Services The Department of Economic Development
12. Where can I obtain a listing of employment recruitment sources in the state?
CT Department of Labor’s web site: http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us
13. I am a contractor who has just been awarded a state construction project, containing small contractor and minority business enterprise set aside goals. Can I include the contract dollar amount for a subcontractor whose state certification has expired?
No. Only the contract amount for those material suppliers or subcontractors, who are currently state certified as small contractors or minority business enterprises, can be included to meet the project goals. A company whose state certification has expired should contact the Department of Administrative at the web site noted in question # 8. Refer to Connecticut’s Small Contractor Set-Aside law, CONN. GEN. STAT. Sections 32-9e and 32-9n.
14. What are the minority and female employment goals for state construction projects and how are they established?
The Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities (CHRO) has identified, for each Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in Connecticut, hiring goals for minority male and female trade workers. The minority male goals were established using the availability of workers based on the 1990 Connecticut Occupational Statistics for each MSA. The female hiring goal for any Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in Connecticut is 6.9%. This goal is the same as the national goal set by the federal government for federal projects. The U.S. Department of Labor set the goal based upon the available pool of qualified females in the trades or related trades nationally. A state contractor may choose to apply the above goals identified by CHRO for its construction project. Minority male hiring goals will change from project to project, depending on the available pool of qualified minority males in the trades and the particular MSA in which the on site work of the project will be done. The female hiring goal will be 6.9% regardless of the MSA or the particular trades involved. In the alternative, a state contractor may choose to develop its own hiring goals for its construction project. For each trade category that will be needed to work on the project, the state contractor must establish separate hiring goals for minority male and female trade workers. These hiring goals must be based upon a reliable database for work force availability.
15. What is the difference between a hiring goal and a hiring quota?
A hiring goal is a numerical target for employment that a contractor must make a "good faith effort" to accomplish (also refer to question # 5). Affirmative action plans normally include hiring goals to assure equal opportunity for all persons in the workforce of the contractor. A hiring quota is a specific number or percentage of a defined group of workers in a workforce that an employer is required to achieve. Hiring quotas are not included in the Commission affirmative action plan requirements, and are generally illegal.