To work on State of Connecticut contracts with the Department of Transportation, various contractors have to set up an affirmative action plan.  If they do not have one on file with the DOT, the Department’s Division of Contract Compliance will send out the following letter.

So what to do if you don’t have a plan? Well, the DOT goes on to provide a sample Affirmative Action Plan (which has been in place since November 2008).

The DOT sample plan has more than just a specific policy regarding affirmative action;  it has sample policies relating to complaint procedures to sexual harassment prevention to maternity leave.

When the government prepares documents, the conventional wisdom is that employers should adopt them. After all, if the government has suggested them, they must be fine.

Here, however, employers may want to think twice and consider modifying them to add provisions that may suit their workplace.  For example, if your workplace is covered by the state and federal FMLA rules, you may need only to tweak the policy to make sure it is explicit that maternity leaves are covered as well.

The maternity leave policy, as proposed by the DOT, is awkwardly worded and written in a style that is far from the "plain-English" style hat is so routinely advocated for personnel policies nowadays.  For example, the policy actually quotes from a 1973 public act (and identifies it by statute) regarding pregnancy discrimination.    Perhaps the DOT can take a cue from one of my fellow "Legal Rebels", Ken Adams, and cut out some of the legal jargon in the next version of these documents.

The sexual harassment policy also appears a little bare bones as well. For employers, the easy solution may be to simply adopt the state’s proposed ones, but the best solution may be to craft a policy that fits your workplace better.