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Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability: Updates to the OFCCP Form

TLDR; The updated voluntary self-identification of disability form reflects the OFCCP's commitment to promoting equal employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. By providing more inclusive language and additional examples of disabilities, the revised form aims to create a more welcoming and supportive environment for applicants and employees. Federal contractors and subcontractors must implement the new form by July 25, 2023, and continue to uphold their affirmative action obligations under federal law.

Team Disclo
October 3, 2023

Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability: Updates to the OFCCP Form

Download the new form here: New Voluntary Self-Identification Form

Background on the OFCCP and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is a federal agency responsible for ensuring that federal contractors and subcontractors comply with equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws. One such law is Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, which requires federal contractors to take affirmative action to employ and advance individuals with disabilities.

Purpose of the Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability Form

As part of their affirmative action obligations, federal contractors must invite applicants and employees to voluntarily self-identify as individuals with disabilities. The voluntary self-identification of disability form is used to collect this information, which helps contractors assess their efforts to recruit and retain individuals with disabilities.

Key Revisions to the Form

Listing Additional Disabilities

The updated form includes additional examples of disabilities and medical conditions, such as:

  • Alcohol or other substance use disorder
  • Autoimmune disorder (lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV/AIDS)
  • Gastrointestinal disorders (Crohn's Disease, irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Mental health conditions, for example, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD
  • Missing limbs or partially missing limbs
  • Mobility impairment benefiting from the use of a wheelchair or other supports
  • Nervous system conditions (migraines, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis)
  • Neurodivergence (ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, others)
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • and many more

More Descriptive and Inclusive Examples

The revised form provides more inclusive language for disabilities. For instance, "cancer" is now listed as "cancer (past or present)," and "deaf or hard of hearing" is listed as "deaf or serious difficulty hearing." The form also includes more specific examples, such as epilepsy or other seizure disorders, intellectual or developmental disability, cerebral palsy and more.

Simplified and Broadened Response Options

The response options have been simplified to:

  • Yes, I have a disability, or have had one in the past
  • No, I do not have a disability and have not had one in the past
  • I do not want to answer

The form emphasizes that completing it is voluntary.

Resource: New Voluntary Self-Identification Form

The Importance of Voluntary Self-Identification

Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity

Voluntary self-identification of disability is a crucial component of affirmative action programs. By collecting this data, federal contractors can assess their progress in providing equal employment opportunities to individuals with disabilities. The information also helps identify areas for improvement in recruitment and retention.

Reasonable Accommodation for Qualified Individuals

Self-identification allows employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. These accommodations may include modifications to the work environment or adjustments to work policies, enabling employees to perform the essential functions of their jobs effectively.

Implementation and Expiration of the Revised Form

Federal contractors and subcontractors have until July 25, 2023, to implement the new form. The form is set to expire on April 30, 2026. Until the revised form is implemented, contractors must continue to use the OFCCP's prior form.

Understanding Specific Disabilities and Conditions

Autism and Neurodivergence

Autism spectrum disorder and other neurodivergent conditions, such as ADHD and dyslexia, are characterized by differences in brain functioning. Neurodivergent individuals may have unique strengths and unique challenges in the workplace.

Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disability

Intellectual and developmental disabilities may affect cognitive, physical, and adaptive functioning. With appropriate support, individuals with these disabilities can thrive in the workplace.

Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders

Epilepsy is a neurological condition characterized by recurrent seizures. Employers can support individuals with epilepsy by providing accommodations such as flexible work schedules and safe spaces to rest after a seizure.

Mental Health Conditions (PTSD, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depression)

Mental health conditions can impact an individual's thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Employers can support employees with mental health conditions by fostering a supportive work environment and providing access to mental health resources.

Legal and Regulatory Framework

The Rehabilitation Act and Americans with Disabilities Act

Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination in employment. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities.

Executive Order and Department of Labor

The OFCCP operates under the authority of the Department of Labor and Executive Order 11246. The agency enforces EEO laws and regulations for federal contractors and subcontractors.

The Role of Human Resources in the Application Process

Human resources (HR) departments play a key role in the application process, ensuring that candidates and employees have the opportunity to voluntarily self-identify as individuals with disabilities. HR professionals must also handle self-identification information confidentially.

Record Keeping and Public Burden Statement

Federal contractors are required to maintain records of self-identification information for reporting and compliance purposes. The public burden statement on the form informs individuals about the estimated time required to complete the form and the purpose of the data collection.

Conclusion

The updated voluntary self-identification of disability form reflects the OFCCP's commitment to promoting equal employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. By providing more inclusive language and additional examples of disabilities, the revised form aims to create a more welcoming and supportive environment for applicants and employees. Federal contractors and subcontractors must implement the new form by July 25, 2023, and continue to uphold their affirmative action obligations under federal law.

Resource: Full requirements from the OFCCP: www.dol.gov/ofccp

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Where can I find the new voluntary self-identification of disability form? The new form, required to be implemented by all federal contractors by July 25, 2023 can be found on the OFCCP’s website.
  2. What is the purpose of the voluntary self-identification of disability form? The form allows applicants and employees to voluntarily self-identify as individuals with disabilities. Federal contractors use this information to support their affirmative action programs and provide reasonable accommodations.
  3. What are some examples of reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities? Reasonable accommodations may include modifying workstations, providing assistive technology, allowing flexible work hours, and adjusting work policies.
    Read More: Navigating Reasonable Accommodations: Rights, Responsibilities, and Practical Solutions
  4. What is the difference between the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? The Rehabilitation Act applies to federal contractors and recipients of federal financial assistance, while the ADA applies to a broader range of employers, including private businesses and state and local governments.
  5. Is it mandatory for applicants and employees to complete the voluntary self-identification of disability form? No, completing the form is entirely voluntary. Individuals can choose whether or not to disclose their disability status.
  6. How does the OFCCP ensure that federal contractors comply with equal employment opportunity laws? The OFCCP conducts compliance evaluations, investigates complaints, and provides technical assistance to help federal contractors meet their EEO obligations.

Additional Resources

Disclo has prepared many helpful articles and resources for employers and employees to reference. A few that may be of interest:

To stay updated on evolving regulations and topics of interest, subscribe to Disclo’s weekly newsletter, Full Disclosure, on LinkedIn or via email.

Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability: Updates to the OFCCP Form

Download the new form here: New Voluntary Self-Identification Form

Background on the OFCCP and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is a federal agency responsible for ensuring that federal contractors and subcontractors comply with equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws. One such law is Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, which requires federal contractors to take affirmative action to employ and advance individuals with disabilities.

Purpose of the Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability Form

As part of their affirmative action obligations, federal contractors must invite applicants and employees to voluntarily self-identify as individuals with disabilities. The voluntary self-identification of disability form is used to collect this information, which helps contractors assess their efforts to recruit and retain individuals with disabilities.

Key Revisions to the Form

Listing Additional Disabilities

The updated form includes additional examples of disabilities and medical conditions, such as:

  • Alcohol or other substance use disorder
  • Autoimmune disorder (lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV/AIDS)
  • Gastrointestinal disorders (Crohn's Disease, irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Mental health conditions, for example, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD
  • Missing limbs or partially missing limbs
  • Mobility impairment benefiting from the use of a wheelchair or other supports
  • Nervous system conditions (migraines, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis)
  • Neurodivergence (ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, others)
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • and many more

More Descriptive and Inclusive Examples

The revised form provides more inclusive language for disabilities. For instance, "cancer" is now listed as "cancer (past or present)," and "deaf or hard of hearing" is listed as "deaf or serious difficulty hearing." The form also includes more specific examples, such as epilepsy or other seizure disorders, intellectual or developmental disability, cerebral palsy and more.

Simplified and Broadened Response Options

The response options have been simplified to:

  • Yes, I have a disability, or have had one in the past
  • No, I do not have a disability and have not had one in the past
  • I do not want to answer

The form emphasizes that completing it is voluntary.

Resource: New Voluntary Self-Identification Form

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The Importance of Voluntary Self-Identification

Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity

Voluntary self-identification of disability is a crucial component of affirmative action programs. By collecting this data, federal contractors can assess their progress in providing equal employment opportunities to individuals with disabilities. The information also helps identify areas for improvement in recruitment and retention.

Reasonable Accommodation for Qualified Individuals

Self-identification allows employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. These accommodations may include modifications to the work environment or adjustments to work policies, enabling employees to perform the essential functions of their jobs effectively.

Implementation and Expiration of the Revised Form

Federal contractors and subcontractors have until July 25, 2023, to implement the new form. The form is set to expire on April 30, 2026. Until the revised form is implemented, contractors must continue to use the OFCCP's prior form.

Understanding Specific Disabilities and Conditions:

Autism and Neurodivergence

Autism spectrum disorder and other neurodivergent conditions, such as ADHD and dyslexia, are characterized by differences in brain functioning. Neurodivergent individuals may have unique strengths and unique challenges in the workplace.

Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disability

Intellectual and developmental disabilities may affect cognitive, physical, and adaptive functioning. With appropriate support, individuals with these disabilities can thrive in the workplace.

Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders

Epilepsy is a neurological condition characterized by recurrent seizures. Employers can support individuals with epilepsy by providing accommodations such as flexible work schedules and safe spaces to rest after a seizure.

Mental Health Conditions (PTSD, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depression)

Mental health conditions can impact an individual's thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Employers can support employees with mental health conditions by fostering a supportive work environment and providing access to mental health resources.

Legal and Regulatory Framework

The Rehabilitation Act and Americans with Disabilities Act

Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination in employment. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities.

Executive Order and Department of Labor

The OFCCP operates under the authority of the Department of Labor and Executive Order 11246. The agency enforces EEO laws and regulations for federal contractors and subcontractors.

The Role of Human Resources in the Application Process

Human resources (HR) departments play a key role in the application process, ensuring that candidates and employees have the opportunity to voluntarily self-identify as individuals with disabilities. HR professionals must also handle self-identification information confidentially.

Record Keeping and Public Burden Statement

Federal contractors are required to maintain records of self-identification information for reporting and compliance purposes. The public burden statement on the form informs individuals about the estimated time required to complete the form and the purpose of the data collection.

Conclusion

The updated voluntary self-identification of disability form reflects the OFCCP's commitment to promoting equal employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. By providing more inclusive language and additional examples of disabilities, the revised form aims to create a more welcoming and supportive environment for applicants and employees. Federal contractors and subcontractors must implement the new form by July 25, 2023, and continue to uphold their affirmative action obligations under federal law.

Resource: Full requirements from the OFCCP: www.dol.gov/ofccp

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Where can I find the new voluntary self-identification of disability form? The new form, required to be implemented by all federal contractors by July 25, 2023 can be found on the OFCCP’s website.
  2. What is the purpose of the voluntary self-identification of disability form? The form allows applicants and employees to voluntarily self-identify as individuals with disabilities. Federal contractors use this information to support their affirmative action programs and provide reasonable accommodations.
  3. What are some examples of reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities? Reasonable accommodations may include modifying workstations, providing assistive technology, allowing flexible work hours, and adjusting work policies.
    Read More: Navigating Reasonable Accommodations: Rights, Responsibilities, and Practical Solutions
  4. What is the difference between the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? The Rehabilitation Act applies to federal contractors and recipients of federal financial assistance, while the ADA applies to a broader range of employers, including private businesses and state and local governments.
  5. Is it mandatory for applicants and employees to complete the voluntary self-identification of disability form? No, completing the form is entirely voluntary. Individuals can choose whether or not to disclose their disability status.
  6. How does the OFCCP ensure that federal contractors comply with equal employment opportunity laws? The OFCCP conducts compliance evaluations, investigates complaints, and provides technical assistance to help federal contractors meet their EEO obligations.

Additional Resources

Disclo has prepared many helpful articles and resources for employers and employees to reference. A few that may be of interest:

To stay updated on evolving regulations and topics of interest, subscribe to Disclo’s weekly newsletter, Full Disclosure, on LinkedIn or via email.

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