As a part of the data collection and record-keeping requirements under the federal government’s affirmative action regulations, federal contractors and subcontractors are obligated to collect race/ethnicity and gender information from applicants. Contractors are also required to survey employees for race/ethnicity and gender information as well as veteran and disability status. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is currently giving a heightened level of scrutiny to all affirmative action practices and programs, and thus this is an appropriate time to review the guidelines regarding self-identification forms for applicants and employees.

Several initial thoughts are important here. First, OFCCP is in the midst of potentially changing its regulations regarding veterans and persons with disabilities. Under OFCCP proposals from 2011, federal contractors and subcontractors would be required to collect veteran and disability information from applicants as well as employees. These proposed changes have NOT been implemented yet, and companies should wait to make changes to applicant surveys until these proposed regulations are issued in final form. <