Do you have a disability? Employers were previously forbidden from asking such a question during the application process, for fear of discrimination lawsuits. However, it will soon be a requirement. The federal government recently announced they would like to work toward the goal of seven percent of their contractor workforce to be composed of people with disabilities.
The Labor Department is not demanding that a workforce consist of seven percent of people with disabilities; however, they hope it serves as a yardstick against which businesses can measure the success of their efforts to outreach and recruitment of individuals with disabilities. According to the Labor Department, “both the unemployment rate of working-age individuals with disabilities and the percentage of working-age individuals with disabilities that are not in the labor force remain significantly higher than for those without disabilities. A substantial disparity in the employment rate of individuals with disabilities continues to persist despite years of technological advancements that have made it possible for people with disabilities to apply for and successfully perform a broad array of jobs.”
This new announcement means contractors will now need to provide proof that they are making an effort by keeping a detailed record for review by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). Companies will now ask prospective employees if they have a disability, not once but twice during the hiring process.
Many are skeptical of this new change in policy, as they believe some may not wish to disclose this information during the hiring process, either because they do not want special accommodations or for fear of stereotyping and prejudice.
See some highlights on the Value of Hiring Employees With Disabilities.