As part of its efforts to provide relief to broadcasters reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has announced a limited waiver of recruitment requirements for the re-hiring of employees who were laid off as a direct result of COVID-19 economic conditions.
Under normal conditions, radio and TV broadcast station employment units employing five or more full-time employees (and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) employing six or more full-time employees) are required by the FCC to engage in broad recruitment outreach for all full-time job vacancies. That means placing ads in multiple places, in addition to the station website and over the air announcements. The idea is to encourage broadcast licensees to cast a wide net and ensure access to as many people as possible to fill open positions. The optimal result would have stations interviewing multiple people for each job posting, procured from multiple recruitment sources.
But, these are not normal times. The FCC Media Bureau appears to recognize that the cost and effort that would have to be undertaken by a station employment unit who laid off, for example, 5 people due to pandemic economic conditions to recruit, interview, and rehire for each of those positions would be incredibly burdensome, is waiving those requirements for re-hiring the same employees who were laid off – provided that the employees are rehired within 9 months of the date they were laid off.
Thus, for Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) reporting purposes, if an employee who was laid off due to pandemic conditions is rehired within 9 months, broadcasters do not have to report a vacancy or conduct the typical recruitment for that opening. As always, contact your communications counsel if you have additional questions about how this limited waiver applies to your stations.