OFCCP’s recent revisions to affirmative action regulations create new self-identification requirements for federal contractors. The OFCCP encourages contractors to implement the new self-identification processes as soon after March 24th, 2014 as feasible. Alternatively, contractors may opt to delay these processes until the start of their next AAP cycle. The self-identification requirements are broken down into two separate parts: Pre-Offer and Post- Offer.
At the Pre-Offer stage, contractors are now required to ask applicants about their protected veteran and disability status. This invitation to self-identity may be provided at the same time that race and gender information are solicited from job seekers. Download sample self-identification form for race, gender and veteran status.
Disability status must be solicited using the mandatory language and format prescribed by the OFCCP. The OFCCP will allow the form to be provided as a fill-able electronic form as long as it meets certain criteria. To meet these criteria, the electronic form must:
- Display the Office of Management and Budgets (OMB) number and expiration date
- Contain the text of the form without alteration
- Use a Sans Serif font, such as Calibri or Arial
- Use at least a 11-point font size
During the Post-Offer stage, contractors on-boarding a new employee will need to ask again for race, gender, veteran and disability status. At this point, employers have a choice of how they can collect veteran information on their employees. They can either collect specific veteran categories OR simply ask if the employee is a protected veteran or not. The new VETS-4212 form (which will replace the VETS-100 & VETS-100A) does not require identification of specific veteran categories. The benefit of not collecting specific veteran codes is that you may now use the same format for employees and applicants. Disability status must again be asked using the OFCCP’s form.
Resurveying Your Workforce
Federal contractors must also resurvey their current workforce using the new forms for veterans and individuals with disabilities. This will require you to update your HRIS and payroll systems to handle the new information. After the initial resurvey, contractors must resurvey the workforce every 5 years to solicit disability status. Additionally, at least once during the intervening period, contractors must remind their employees that they can update their disability status at any time.
Under OFCCP’s new regulations, completed self-identification forms must be kept in a separate “data analysis file.” This file can be your HRIS or payroll system as long as the following requirements are met:
- disability-related data must be stored securely, apart from other personnel information, so that confidentiality is maintained
- access to this data must be limited solely to contractor personnel who have a need to know the information for the purpose of complying with OFCCP’s regulations
The contractor must not keep the disability self-identification forms in the employee’s medical file.
*This article was updated on June 1, 2015 to reflect changes to OFCCP’s requirements for veteran self-identification.