When can an employer ask an applicant to "self-identify" as having a disability?

Federal contractors and subcontractors who are covered by the affirmative action requirements of section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 may invite individuals with disabilities to identify themselves on a job application form or by other pre-employment inquiry, to satisfy the section 503 affirmative action requirements. Employers who request such information must observe section 503 requirements regarding the manner in which such information is requested and used, and the procedures for maintaining such information as a separate, confidential record, apart from regular personnel records.

A pre-employment inquiry about a disability is allowed if required by another Federal law or regulation such as those applicable to disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam era. Pre-employment inquiries about disabilities may be necessary under such laws to identify applicants or clients with disabilities in order to provide them with required special services.

For additional information, take a look at the following resources: 

Fact Sheet: Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace

Fact Sheet: Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace and the ADA

Fact Sheet: Work-Leave, the ADA, and the FMLA

FAQ: What are an employer's recordkeeping requirements under the employment provisions of the ADA?