New measures from Department of Labor will strengthen the university’s efforts to maintain an inclusive workforce.
In compliance with new rules under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the George Washington University next month will encourage new job applicants as well as employees with disabilities and those who are protected veterans to voluntarily self-identify through the GWeb system or through the online job system.
“This process is completely voluntary,” said Vickie Fair, director for equal employment opportunity (EEO) and employee relations, “and will allow the university as an employer to better assess its efforts to attract and retain protected veterans and individuals with disabilities, and to work with individuals who may require a reasonable accommodation in order to perform their job duties.”
The new Department of Labor rules, which apply to government contractors like GW, include a provision that requires employers to invite employees to voluntarily self-identify as having a disability every five years. Similar rules were put into place for veterans through the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA). No adverse consequences will result from providing the information and only Human Resources and the EEO will have access to it, Ms. Fair said.
As an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer committed to maintaining and adhering to a non-discriminatory, diverse work environment, the university continually takes affirmative action to employ and advance in employment individuals with disabilities and protected veterans. While the university has a self-identification process in place for applicants, the expansion of this to include current employees is also based upon the recent guidelines from the Department of Labor.
“These efforts are important to GW.” said Sabrina Ellis, vice president for human resources, “and align to our values as an institution.”
The EEO office is requesting employees to complete the process between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, though forms are currently available. Employees can self-identify through GWeb (veteran status and disability status) by selecting the “Personal Information” menu tab and clicking either “Veterans Classification” or “Disability Status.” The information will be kept confidential and will be used only in ways that are consistent with applicable law.
An Infomail containing instructions on how to self-identify will be sent. Employees seeking information related to accommodation for a disability should contact the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity at [email protected] or 202-994-9656.