Revisions to Section 503 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the rule governing affirmative action for individuals with disabilities, went into effect on Monday, March 24, 2014.
These new rules include the OFCCP’s official form, which invites job seekers to provide disability information during the application process, explains why the information is being requested, and offers the following assurances:
- The information will not be used “against” the applicant or employee.
- An employee may self-identify at a later date without fear of reprisal for not having self- identified, as being disable, at an earlier time.
The new form also allows individuals to choose from a sample list of disabilities, and even allows the applicant to opt out of self-identification:
- Yes, I have a disability (or previously had a disability)
- No, I do not have a disability
- I do not wish to answer
Although contractors are not required to implement the new forms until the beginning of their next plan year following the March 24, 2014, launch date, the OFCCP urges them not to wait. According to Springboard Consulting LLC, contractors may use electronic forms as long as they meet the requirements of the new regulations.
Bear in mind that although the form is labeled “Voluntary,” it is only voluntary in the sense that employees are not required to answer in a particular manner. All employers, including contractors, will be required to use the new form.