Revised form for self-identification of disability released

Federal contractors must begin using the new form by August 4.

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs announced the release of a new and “streamlined” Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability form. The regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act require federal contractors to invite applicants and new hires to self-identify as having a disability. Contractors must also invite employees to self-identify as disabled at least once every five years. These invitations must be made using the form approved by the Office of Management and Budget. The disclosure of disability status is voluntary; applicants and employees may identify as having a disability, or they may choose not to respond at all. However, contractors use the responses to determine whether the workforce achieves the seven percent representation goal for individuals with a disability on an annual basis.   

The OMB’s approval for the current form expired on January 31. At that time, the OFCCP was seeking approval to modify the form and instructed contractors to continue using the expired self-identification form until an updated form was approved and released. The new self-identification form is valid until May 31, 2023, and contractors have until August 4, 2020, to update their processes to incorporate this new version.

How does the new form differ?

The form is now one page instead of two, and the “Reasonable Accommodation Notice” at the end has been eliminated. In addition, some of the verbiage has been modified. The form continues to advise that completion is voluntary, but it now informs that the employer is “required to measure [its] progress toward having at least 7% of [its] workforce be individuals with disabilities.” The form still assures individuals that responses are confidential and will not be used against them. 

The new form retains the section providing examples of disabilities, but has expanded the examples and lists them alphabetically. The OFCCP has added to the list of impairments that are characterized as per se disabilities (regardless of severity). Newly listed disabilities include the following:

  • Autoimmune disorders such as lupus, fibromyalgia, or rheumatoid arthritis
  • "Blind or low vision"
  • Cardiovascular or heart disease
  • Celiac disease
  • "Deaf or hard of hearing"
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, such as Crohn’s Disease or irritable bowel syndrome
  • Nervous system conditions, such as migraines or Parkinson’s disease

The self-identification options have also been slightly modified. The previous “YES, I HAVE A DISABILITY (or previously had a disability)” is now “Yes, I Have A Disability, Or Have A History/Record Of Having A Disability.” And the prior “NO, I DON’T HAVE A DISABILITY” is now “No, I Don’t Have A Disability, Or A History/Record Of Having A Disability.” Respondents continue to have the option to decline to answer either “yes” or “no” by selecting “I Don’t Wish To Answer.”

In addition, the new form provides a “For Employer Use Only” section that contractors may modify “as needed for recordkeeping purposes.” The form provides as examples job title and date of hire, but contractors can include additional information that assists them in tracking responses from applicants and employees. 

If you have questions about the new self-identification form or how to incorporate into your processes, please contact a member of Constangy’s Affirmative Action/OFCCP Compliance practice group.

Our Affirmative Action Alert blog focuses on the latest news and topics affecting federal contractors and subcontractors and their compliance with affirmative action and other employment-related laws and regulations.  With breaking news, quick updates, and headlines on the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and affirmative action issues, this blog is a great resource for in-house counsel, HR managers, and other compliance professionals.  Our blog is a companion to Constangy’s Affirmative Action newsletters, which address significant legislative, regulatory, and administrative proposals and changes.  Subscribe to both to stay current on these important topics!

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