What is tero?

TERO stands for Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance or Office. TERO Ordinances require that all employers who are engaged in operating a business on reservations give preference to qualified Indians in all aspects of employment, contracting, and other business activities. TERO Offices were established and empowered to monitor and enforce the requirements of the tribal employment rights ordinance.

The primary purpose of the TERO program is to enforce tribally enacted Indian Preference law to insure that Indian/Alaska Native people gain their rightful share to employment, training, contracting, subcontracting, and business opportunities on and near reservations and native villages.

What are the characteristics of TERO?

The core characteristics of the program provide additional and valuable insights into why the law and enforcement program are needed and applied. The following are three vital characteristics of TERO.

TERO is a true act of self-determination. The decision to enact a Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance is based on each individual tribe's needs and priorities.

TERO programs are action oriented. TERO offices are a no-nonsense, hands-on, result-orientated, and process driven compliance programs.

TEROs are systematically structured programs. Key elements of the structure include:

  • Legal Framework: TERO utilizes a sound and comprehensive framework that encompasses the use of Tribal, Federal, contract, and, where applicable, State employment law.
  • Administrative Structure: TERO programs have a well developed administrative structure which utilizes a thorough enforcement process.
  • Synergistic Partnering: TERO programs apply synergistic partnering principles in relationships with employers in an effort to develop relationships that benefit both parties.

What are the basic TERO requirements?

All covered employers operating a business within tribal/village jurisdiction are required to provide Indian and Native preference in employment, training, contracting, sub-contracting, and in all other aspects of employment. Below are several specific examples employers are required to comply with. Employers must:

Submit an acceptable compliance plan detailing the steps they will take to ensure compliance with the TERO requirements. Note: TERO compliance plans are closely fashioned after those used by OFCCP for affirmative action compliance.

Utilize the TERO skills bank for all referrals and consider Indian/Native applicants before interviewing or hiring non-Indian/Natives.

Agree to hire no less than a specific number of Indian/Natives in each job classification and cooperate (where feasible) with tribal training programs to hire a certain number of trainees.

Eliminate all extraneous job qualification criteria or personnel requirements which may act as barriers to Indian/Native employment. EEOC guidelines on legal BFOQs are used by TEROs.

All employers who have collective bargaining agreements with one or more unions must secure a written agreement from them indicating they will comply with TERO.

Agree to acknowledge and respect tribal religious beliefs and cultural differences and to cooperate with TERO to provide reasonable accommodations.

All contractors claiming preference must file for certification as Indian owned businesses.