Federal Contractors and Subcontractors Must Resurvey for Disability Status
Federal contractors and subcontractors need to consider when and how they will resurvey their employees to gather information regarding disability status. This resurvey is required under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 503). Section 503 prohibits discrimination and requires affirmative action in all employment practices for qualified individuals with disabilities.
In 2013, OFCCP issued revised Section 503 regulations “to update and strengthen contractors’ affirmative action and nondiscrimination responsibilities.” These revisions included language to reflect the 2008 passage of the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA), as well as a utilization goal of 7%, and new requirements regarding surveying for disability status.
Section 503 historically only required federal contractors and subcontractors to survey for disability status at the post-offer stage of employment. OFCCP’s 2013 revisions added two additional survey requirements. First, federal contractors and subcontractors must also invite applicants to self-identify as individuals with disabilities at the pre-offer stage. This allows organizations to measure the effectiveness of their outreach and recruitment efforts to find qualified individuals with disabilities.
The 2013 revisions to Section 503 also added a requirement that federal contractors and subcontractors invite all their employees to self-identify as individuals with disabilities at least once every five years. At least once in the years between surveys, contractors must also remind employees that they may voluntarily update their disability status at any time.
The goal of these requirements is to capture data on employees who develop disabilities over the course of their employment. Also, employees with existing disabilities may feel more comfortable self-identifying once they have been employed for some time.
Five years have passed since the deadline for federal contractors and subcontractors to complete their first required resurveys for disability status. With OFCCP’s recent laser focus on enforcing the law that protects individuals with disabilities, it is imperative that contractors complete this resurvey as soon as possible.
As discussed in a previous blog post, OFCCP has recently released a revised disability survey form that federal contractors and subcontractors must implement by August 4, 2020. When inviting employees to self-identify as individuals with disabilities as part of a resurvey, contractors should use this revised form.
If you are a federal contractor or subcontractor and have questions regarding OFCCP’s survey requirements, please contact us directly.