Slow turnaround allows MVPD to skate on EEO violation


RCN Corporation, which provides bundled CATV, telephone and internet service in several markets, failed to meet its EEO requirements over a two year period. The FCC detailed violations which included lack of records, reporting that EEO procedures were followed despite the lack of mandatory records and procedural failures in recruitment for five of 34 vacancies. But by the time the FCC arrived at these conclusions, the statute of limitations had ticked away.

For its part, RCN said that at the beginning of the time in question it had just hired a new human resources director, who "…could not find any documentation concerning recruitment initiatives," and was unable to reconstruct anything to place in the company's records. The FCC was not amused that the company nevertheless indicated compliance when it submitted two Form 396-Cs in 2004 and 2005.

On the failure to recruit effectively for the five openings, the FCC said the company's efforts, which it said were limited to posting on its website and an internal database, along with opening the positions to employee referrals, were not broad-based enough. The FCC can levy a fine for such violations, but said that regulation "limits the time period within which the Commission can initiate a forfeiture proceeding against non-broadcast entities to only those violations which occur within one year of issuance date of a notice of apparent liability." Hence RCN gets off with an admonishment, although the FCC said it would have fined it if it could.

SmartMedia observation: All of which points out the need to take special care to address EEO issues whenever you have a change of command in your personnel department. And as with public file regulations, we strongly advise that you have more than one person in the company up to speed on the requirements.