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FCC Adjusts EEO Audit Logistics to COVID-19 Reality

FCC's 2020 seal
(Image credit: FCC)

The FCC has sent out its first round of 2021 EEO audit letters to TV and radio stations, adjusted slightly to take into account the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FCC's Enforcement Bureau annually collects EEO data on approximately 5% of randomly selected TV and radio stations.

Also Read: FCC Issues MVPD EEO audit Letters

The bureau said that because of COVID-19, and its potential impact on station staffing and access to records, it was reducing the number of stations polled in this first round of letters (there are multiple rounds per year to reach the 5% mark) and it extending the deadline for responding to 60 days (Stations have until April 26.).

Among the data the FCC asks for is any pending or resolved complaints; how the station reviews its EEO recruitment to make sure it is effective, and resolve the issue if it is not; and its efforts "to analyze periodically its measures taken to examine pay, benefits, seniority practices, promotions, and selection techniques and tests to ensure that they provide equal opportunity and do not have a discriminatory effect."

It is not the first COVID-1-realated EEO adjustment. 

The FCC's Media Bureau last May, with input from the Enforcement Bureau, issued an order waiving the "broad outreach" requirements of its EEO rules when it comes to rehiring employees released due to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that should not adversely impact the goal to ensuring employment nondiscrimination. 

The waiver applies for employees rehired within nine months of the date they were laid off, said the bureau. 

The EEO rules require broadcasters and MVPDs with more than five (broadcast) or six (MVPD) employees to "engage in broad recruitment outreach for all full-time job vacancies."