Among the new FAQs released on June 18, 2014, OFCCP responded to the following contractor question:
“If an individual self-identifies as a protected veteran at the pre-offer stage of the application process, but does not self-identify again at the post-offer stage, may a contractor still count the individual as a protected veteran for purposes of applying the hiring benchmark and performing the required data collection analysis?”
Essentially, this question addresses the appropriateness of changing self-identified protected veteran status at the post-offer phase to align with pre-offer status. With the requirement to apply a hiring benchmark, contractors are understandably interested in maintaining their count of new hires who are protected veterans. According to the FAQ response, the contractor may indeed identify an employee as a protected veteran if the employee has self-identified as a protected veteran pre-offer.
In spite of the green light conveyed by this FAQ response, DCI advises that employers do NOT change the post-offer self-identification response. It is recommended that each self-identification opportunity (pre-offer and post-offer) be handled as a separate event, garnering separate data points. If employers choose to override self-identified protected veteran status, the process will theoretically no longer involve a true self-identification. As a precedent for such an invitation to self-identify EEO information, collected race/ethnicity and gender data cannot be changed based on an employer’s belief that the information provided is inaccurate. DCI recommends that employers adhere to a similar practice for protected-veteran data.
Of note: A similar question could be posed for disability status. However, the Section 503 FAQ sheet, which also includes several new FAQs, does not address this issue.
By: Rachel Gabbard, M.A., HR Analyst, and Jana Garman, M.A., Consultant, DCI Consulting Group