The FCC has just issued a waiver of its EEO outreach obligations for stations rehiring employees that were let go because of the COVID 19 pandemic. According to the FCC:
“The Commission’s EEO rules ordinarily require broadcast stations employing five or more full-time employees ….to engage in broad recruitment outreach for all full-time job vacancies. The Bureau finds good cause to waive this requirement to allow affected broadcast licensees to return operations to full strength once circumstances permit the re-hiring of released employees. Specifically, broadcast licensees… may re-hire full-time employees who were laid off due to circumstances related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic without first conducting broad recruitment outreach, if they re-hire such employees within nine months after the date they were laid off. This partial waiver of the outreach requirement pertains only to employees who were released due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Commission reasoned that, “Given the unique importance of broadcasters and MVPDs in providing access to breaking news and critical information relating to the pandemic, the public interest, convenience, and necessity would be best served by encouraging these entities to maintain, or quickly resume, normal operations.”
Again, this waiver is for a very limited purpose. It does not apply to stations overall hiring practices or replacing employees that were released for reasons other than COVID-19.
To see the joint decision of the FCC’s Media and Enforcement Bureaus click HERE.
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