Posted March 1, 2012
By Lauren Lynch Flick and Christine A. Reilly
This Broadcast Station EEO Advisory is directed to radio and television stations licensed to communities in Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas, and highlights the upcoming deadlines for compliance with the FCC's EEO Rule.
April 1, 2012 is the deadline for broadcast stations licensed to communities in Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas to place their Annual EEO Public File Report in their public inspection files and post the report on stations' websites.
Under the FCC's EEO Rule, all radio and television station employment units ("SEUs"), regardless of staff size, must afford equal opportunity to all qualified persons and practice nondiscrimination in employment.
In addition, those SEUs with five or more full-time employees ("Nonexempt SEUs") must also comply with the FCC's three-prong outreach requirements. Specifically, all Nonexempt SEUs must (i) broadly and inclusively disseminate information about every full-time job opening except in exigent circumstances, (ii) send notifications of full-time job vacancies to referral organizations that have requested such notifica¬tion, and (iii) earn a certain minimum number of EEO credits, based on participation in various non-vacancy-specific outreach initiatives ("Menu Options") suggested by the FCC, during each of the two-year segments (four segments total) that comprise a station's eight-year license term. These Menu Option initiatives include, for example, sponsoring job fairs, attending job fairs, and having an internship program.
Nonexempt SEUs must prepare and place their Annual EEO Public File Report in the public inspection files and on the websites of all stations comprising the SEU (if they have a website) by the anniversary date of the filing deadline for that station's FCC license renewal application. The Annual EEO Public File Report summarizes the SEU's EEO activities during the previous 12 months, and the licensee must maintain adequate records to document those activities. Stations must also submit the two most recent Annual EEO Public File Reports at the midpoint of their license terms and with their license renewal applications.
Exempt SEUs - those with fewer than 5 full time employees - do not have to prepare or file Annual or Mid-Term EEO Reports.
For a detailed description of the EEO rule and practical assistance in preparing a compliance plan, broad¬casters should consult "Making It Work: A Broadcaster's Guide to the FCC's Equal Employment Opportunity Rules and Policies" published by the Communications Practice Group. This publication is available at: >http://www.pillsburylaw.com/siteFiles/Publications/CommunicationsAdvisoryMay2011.pdf.
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