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FCC plans hearing on EEO rules

The Federal Communications Commission will hold an en banc hearing on
proposed equal-employment-opportunity rules for broadcasters and cable systems
June 24.

FCC officials said the hearing is needed to help the commission figure out
how to write rules that meet criteria set by the federal appeals judges in
Washington, D.C.

A new EEO plan under consideration is the FCC's third attempt to craft
recruiting rules that will withstand court scrutiny.

Although the commission is considering a wide range of options, the most
likely plan would require stations and cable systems to provide job notices for
all vacancies to any organization that requests them.

Plus, most would be required to choose among a list of recruitment
initiatives such as job fairs, internships and other community outreach.

The commission also may require companies to collect data on the ethnicity
and gender of applicants.

The FCC's original rules were struck down in 1998 and a revision tossed out
in January 2001.

The court's latest objection arose because of the data-collection

The judges found that the FCC's plan to review a company's applicant pool and
order recruiting changes if it didn't like the demographic mix created enough
pressure on employers to constitute a de facto, illegal quota.

To avoid that snag this time, the FCC is proposing only to use the data to
monitor industry trends and report to Congress on industry progress.

Also under consideration is a broadcast-industry plan that would eliminate
most outreach requirements for companies that list vacancies with online job