Seminole Nation TERO
TERO acronym for Tribal Employment Rights Office • Enforces the Seminole Nation TERO Ordinance. Title 11 Sec. 401 • Creates Awareness of Indian Preference in Employment and Contracting opportunities. • Serves as a Liaison for EEOC • Funded by the Equal Opportunity (EEOC).
On January 23rd, 1993, the Seminole Nation General Council passed Ordinance No. 93-05, amending Title 11 Of the Code of Laws of the Seminole Nation which added Chapter Three, known As the Seminole Nation Employment Rights Act.
This Ordinance enables the Seminole Nation to exercise its inherent sovereign powers by allowing the Seminole Nation TERO office to assist in and require the fair employment of members of the Seminole Nation and other Indians, to prevent discrimination against Indians in employment practices of employers who are doing business within the territorial jurisdiction of the Seminole Nation.
In addition to a tribal code of law, TERO programs use a variety of legal tools to ensure that Indian/Native people receive their rightful share of employment and other economic opportunities on or near a tribes reservation or tribal jurisdictional area.
Legal Framework Supporting TERO
• Title VII-Section 03 (I) Civil Rights Act of 1964 as Amended • Executive Order 11246 (Affirmative Action) • Public Law 94-148 US Forest Service Native American Co-op Agreement Program • Inter-model Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) • Buy Indian Act of 1910 • Higher Education Impact Aid Public Law 81-815 & 874 • HUD Revised Indian Housing Regulations • Public Law 93-638 Indian Education Assistance & Self Determination Act 1974 • Tribal Contracts & Lease Law
This set of employment rights provides Indian people with more protection than any other Americans and entitles them to a large share of jobs and business opportunities on and near Reservations & Tribal Jurisdictional areas. Within the past 4 decades, Tribal governments have taken great strides in identifying and protecting the rights, resources and opportunities of their people. This type of advocacy is being brought to the protection and assertion of Indian and Native Employment and contracting rights by approximately 300 Tribal and Alaska Native village governments that have established Tribal Employment Rights Ordinances and TERO enforcement programs. There are currently 9 TERO programs in Oklahoma.
What does the TERO Ordinance do?
• Sets Conditions:Mandates the tribal requirements for Indian Preference that all covered employers must comply with in order to be eligible to perform work within the tribes jurisdictional area. • Establishes Authority:Empowers the TERO Commission & Staff with sufficient authority to fully enforce all provisions of the TERO Ordinance. • Assigns Responsibility:Delineates the duties and Responsibilities of TERO staff and commission. • Enforces Sanctions For Violations:Clearly spells out penalties employers may face for violations of tribal law. • Provides Due Process of Law:It provides principles of legal fairness to all parties involved in compliance or violation dispute issue.
TERO monitors and enforces the Seminole Nations TERO Ordinance to protect employment rights. TERO staff, includes the Director who performs on-site inspections to ensure that employers are complying with Indian preference requirements. Potential Contractors bidding on construction contracts for the Seminole Nation are informed of the Nations TERO Ordinance upfront so that there are no surprises. Once a bid has been awarded to a contractor, a TERO Compliance Plan is then established and signed by the Contractor and the TERO Director. The TERO Compliance Plan details the specific steps employers will take to meet their Indian/Native employment and contracting responsibilities. The TERO Compliance Plan includes a requirement that employers mustuse the TERO skills bank for recruiting, hiring and sub-contracting purposes as well as establishing a payment schedule for TERO fee.
Most tribes have enacted a TERO fee or tax that is designated to cover the cost of operating the TERO program as well as cover costs associated with the many services the program provides to both employers and the tribal community. The TERO fee comes from a percentage of the total contract amounts Below are a few examples of services provided by TERO:
• Recruiting, Screening, Referrals • Compliance, Investigations, Charge Processing • Job Counseling, Coaching, • Supportive Services (limited financial assistance for clients) • Education and Technical Assistance for Community, Employer • and Federal/State Agencies in Awareness.
TERO fees vary from tribe to tribe, ranging anywhere from .05% to 5%. The Seminole Nations TERO fee is currently set at 2%. Contractors cannot by law increase their bids to cover the cost of the TERO Fee.
Job Skills Bank
The employers are required to utilize the Seminole Nations Job Data Bank as outlined in the TERO Compliance Plan when filling job openings. Once an employer contacts the TERO Office, the TERO Office has 48 hours to locate and refer a qualified Indian for such vacancies and positions, except when circumstances require that the position be filled sooner. It is for this reason that it is very important that we have as many Indians as possible listed in our Job Skills bank along with their respective work skills and up-to-date contact information. TERO Applications are available in our office.
In the past we had as many as 16 Direct Hires as a result of our Job Skills bank. Most of them are still employed. We anticipate more as we continue to work closely with other community agencies, companies, businesses and business owners.