Everybody’s Working for the Weekend

by Terri Swain

Yes. Even the EEOC investigator breathing down your throat and the OFCCP compliance officer who seems to be making your job more difficult.  Having worked as an EEOC investigator and having worked the corporate side of the compliance equation, I can tell you unequivocally — we all just want to do our jobs and go home.  So how do you develop a healthy working relationship with government auditors while minimizing any risk to your organization?

  1. Think about your own job — the people who make it easy and the people who make it difficult. My mother used to tell me you attract more bees with honey — so be polite, be respectful of their deadlines (they have a boss breathing down their back too!), return their calls and if they show up for a visit, have coffee and donuts ready!
  2. However, that doesn’t mean roll over and play dead either.  Most government auditors don’t understand how your organization functions — so if they ask you for information it’s OK to ask them what they are looking for and why so that you can provide RELEVANT information not just what they ask for.  If the request is burdensome, make sure you dialogue about it, have a plan B and politely involve their supervisor and your legal counsel if necessary.  Politely doing this helps you both get your job done.  Becoming angry and agitated serves your organization no purpose and makes an auditor be more difficult with you.  Guilty.
  3. Ask an auditor/investigator to put all requests in writing so that you are clear on what they are requesting.  Make copies of anything you send to them and ALWAYS ask that they contact you if they see a problem, as you might have information that would further clarify a problem or concern.