On October 13, 2015, in conjunction with the Department of Labor’s celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has developed and posted a short video entitled Disability Inclusion Starts With You to its website. Many employers have difficulty getting applicants and employees to self-identify as individuals with a disability, whether for an applicant’s oversight while filling out voluminous applicant materials, concern of confidentiality or other reasons. Employers want to encourage employee self-identification in order to both (1) meet affirmative action obligations and (2) make sure they are addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities within their organization as early as possible. This video appears to be targeted toward encouraging self-identification and addressing applicant and employee concerns with self-identification. Time will tell as to its effectiveness.
The video clearly explains that it is a government video and reiterates that it is the federal government that requires employers to ask workers to voluntarily identify if they have a disability. It also explains that federal contractors have certain equal opportunity requirements and that self-identification is used to measure progress. Perhaps most effectively, it includes a sample of the mandated self-identification form and an individual checking “yes, I have a disability (or previously had a disability)” on the electronic form. The video also assures applicants and employees that the information provided in the form cannot be used against them or shared with other employees.
Although using the video is not a requirement for federal contractors, the OFCCP encourages contractors to download and post the video on their intranet or company websites and to share with their employees and job applicants who may be reluctant to self-identify. Employers should assess whether or not they think the video will be useful in encouraging applicants and employees at their organization to self-identify.
This video is one of a number of compliance assistance tools recently launched by the OFCCP, such as the infographics on determining protected veteran status and jurisdictional thresholds. While it has placed some recent focus on compliance tools, the OFCCP has not lost sight of its enforcement initiatives recently publishing an OFCCP class member locator, which identifies ongoing OFCCP class actions and, if applicable, conciliation agreements and/or resolutions. It also provides a method for individuals to register as potential class members.