The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP) recently released an updated version of the SF-256 (Self-Identification of Disability) form. Federal contractors are required to implement the new form by August 4th, 2020, which will be valid through March 31st, 2023. The SF-256 is a good tracking tool for government contractors who are interested in working with people with diversabilities (diverse abilities).

What This Form Includes

The revisions to the new form include the following:

  • Expanded examples of diversabilities that include autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, expanded psychiatric disorders, and gastrointestinal disorders
  • Reduction of the form to one page
  • Inclusion of annual utilization goal of 7% for government contractors
  • Expansion of “Yes, I have a disability” to “Yes, I have a disability or have a record of having a disability.”

The federal government’s 7% utilization goal is an effort to increase opportunities for people with diversabilities. This form allows new employees or prospects to review what the government considers disabilities and serious health conditions and self-identify as disabled if they choose to.

Why Employees May be Reluctant to Share

Since this form is voluntary, you may find that new employees do not want to share diversability-related information. Technically, as long as they are not asking for any accommodations under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), they have no obligation to disclose the information.

Many people believe that if they do disclose a diversability, they will be met with a conscious or unconscious bias on the part of the company that could result in missing out on a job opportunity. As an organization, you can help combat this issue in a few ways.

Creating a Comfortable Environment for Employees with Diversabilities

First, make it clear that your organization does not discriminate based on diversabilities. Go a step further and emphasize that leadership values diversabilities and the various points of view that diversity brings to the table.

If your organization begins to build a culture and reputation for excellence within the diversability community, that will encourage more people to apply to work with your company and share their unique information.

You should also ensure that your employees and prospects know that any diversability information that they disclose will be kept private and confidential, even if they are receiving accommodations. While other employees may realize that a person is receiving accommodations, they do not have a right to know why or ask any questions about it.

Contact Applied Development for Diversability Inclusion Training

Creating a culture of inclusion requires looking at all facets of your organization and, in some cases, rewiring it from the inside out. Applied Development has worked with dozens of government organizations as well as private companies to provide them with the tools they need to begin fostering a culture of acceptance and diversity.

If you have any questions about the new SF-256 form or would like to set up a consultation to discuss diversity and inclusion training, you can give us a call at 410.571.4016 or contact us online for more information.