April 3, 2014
Topic: Human Resources
New federal regulations that take effect April 9 will require U-M to ask all external and internal job applicants to voluntarily self-identify as a person with a disability or as a protected veteran.
Questions regarding the new regulations may be directed to the Office for Institutional Equity at 734-763-0235 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also beginning this month, all faculty and staff will be invited by email to voluntarily self-identify on Wolverine Access as an individual with a disability and/or update their protected-veteran status, with invitations offered every five years thereafter.
Applicants have been asked for some time to voluntarily identify sex, ethnicity and race when they apply for a position at the university. The new questions are required by the U.S. Department of Labor for all employers that receive federal funds.
Voluntary self-identification as a person with a disability
U.S. Department of Labor statistics show that the unemployment rate of working-age individuals with disabilities and the percentage of individuals with disabilities who are not in the labor force remain significantly higher than for those without disabilities.
Further, there is substantial disparity in the employment rate of individuals with disabilities despite technological advancements that have made it possible for people with disabilities to perform many jobs.
The new regulations require employers to invite applicants to self-identify at the pre-offer (application) stage and after a job offer is made (but prior to the first day of work). Employers may not compel or coerce individuals to self-identify, and all self-identification information will be kept confidential.
The information voluntarily provided at the time of application is not identified to the hiring supervisor, but is retained in a data file to be used to evaluate the effectiveness of recruitment and outreach efforts. Employers must use the self-identification form provided by the Labor Department.
Information volunteered regarding disability status for faculty and staff will be retained in the Campus Personal Information tab of the Employee Self Service page of Wolverine Access and will be available to be updated by the employee at any time.
These new requirements will allow the university to have better information about faculty and staff who become disabled while employed, as well as those with pre-existing disabilities who may feel more comfortable self-identifying once they have been employed for some time. It also allows the university to monitor and improve our practices regarding recruitment, retention and promotion of persons with disabilities.
Voluntary self-identification of veteran status
Labor Department statistics show that veterans returning from tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places around the world face significant obstacles in finding employment upon leaving the service. Gulf War veterans, in particular, have an unemployment rate far greater than the national average.
The new regulations require all employers who receive federal funds to invite applicants to self-identify as a protected veteran at the time of application, in addition to the post-offer self-identification that is already in place. This requirement is added so the employer can track the number of protected-veteran applicants it is receiving and use this data to assess its outreach and recruitment efforts.
A "protected veteran" refers to a person who served on active duty in the United States military, ground, naval or air service during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized, under laws administered by the Department of Defense.
The Labor Department has made several changes to the definitions that apply to veterans. Complete definitions are included in the voluntary self-identification page within the Campus Personal Information section of the Employee Self Service page on Wolverine Access. Faculty and staff may review or update this information at any time.
“Creating and sustaining a welcoming working and learning environment is a priority at Michigan," said Anthony Walesby , associate vice provost for academic and faculty affairs and senior director of the Office for Institutional Equity.
"By asking prospective and existing faculty and staff members to voluntarily self-identify disability or veteran status we will be better able to fulfill our federal obligations while continuing to take proactive steps to ensure that our community is welcoming, supportive, diverse and free from discrimination and harassment."
The university will provide information, training and orientation about the new regulations to Human Resources staff, deans and directors, and hiring supervisors over the coming year.