Encouraging Self Identification
- Communicate why you are asking employees to disclose. The company will benefit from having a workforce that mirrors the company’s target market, which includes people with disabilities. Share the ways that self-identification will benefit the company as a whole and invite employees to be part of the company’s journey toward greater inclusion.
- Provide disability etiquette and awareness training for managers and employees at all levels to promote acceptance and understanding of disability.
- Communicate the definition of disability as set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act and share illustrative examples with employees throughout the application and employment process. One of the reasons employees with disabilities don’t self-identify is that they may not realize they qualify as having a disability.
- Ensure that employees have multiple avenues to disclose their disabilities, allowing for anonymity or self-identification by name, and regularly refer to these avenues in company communications about diversity and inclusion.
- Be up front about the ways in which the information will be used if an employee discloses that they have a disability and explain how anonymity or confidentiality will be protected. Monitor that these protections are maintained.
- When asking employees with disabilities to self-identify, be sure communicate the ways in which disclosing disability can benefit them. Employees seeking accommodations may be fearful of the risks versus benefits of self-identifying, regardless of anonymity. Explain the benefits, including access to resources, accommodations and a community of other employees with disabilities. It is important to note that invitations to self-identify as individuals with disabilities are permissible only when the question is being asked for affirmative action purposes such as those prescribed by Section 503 or a voluntarily adopted program.