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Federal Contractors and Self-Disclosure of a Disability

Q: I am applying for a job with a company that is a federal contractor. The application asks if I want to self-identify as having a disability. Is this illegal?

A: Federal contractors and subcontractors who are covered by the affirmative action requirements of Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 may invite individuals with disabilities to identify themselves on a job application form, or by some other pre-employment inquiry, to satisfy the affirmative action requirements. Employers who request this information must observe Section 503 requirements regarding the manner in which they request and use such information. They must also follow the requirements for maintaining the information in a separate, confidential record, apart from regular personnel records.

It is important to know that self-identifying as a person with a disability in this instance is voluntary. There is no mandate that you must disclose your disability in response to this question.


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