Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Self identification of disability

Last updated: July 20, 2023

The UW is committed to having an inclusive workforce and environment where individuals with disabilities feel secure and recognized for the unique skills and values they bring to the job. As a federal contractor, the University is required to ask job applicants and employees to voluntarily self-identify if they have a disability. Any information you provide will be kept confidential and not impact eligibility for University employment. It is completely voluntary and there are no negative consequences for choosing not to self-identify.

While UW is required to invite your self-identification as a federal contractor, we also want to build resources to support employees across all environments. Information provided by applicants and employees helps to allocate resources to enhance the inclusion and success of people with disabilities within the community.The UW has established initiatives to support the building and sustaining of inclusive environments, efforts such as the Diversity Blueprint 2022 – 2026: Actions toward Access, Inclusion, and Equity and the creation of the HR DEI Rubric. Disability representation is valuable to inform and measure our progress.

While UW formally invites all employees to complete the disability self-identification information in Workday annually, a disability can be acquired at any point during employment or access needs can change over time, and we encourage you to update your disability disclosure whenever appropriate.

Your confidential disability status may be completed in UWHIRES as an applicant or in Workday as an employee. For more information about this form or the equal employment obligations of federal contractors under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) website at www.dol.gov/ofccp

Definition of a disability

You are considered to have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment or medical condition that substantially limits a major life activity, or if you have a history or record of such an impairment or medical condition. Disabilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Alcohol or other substance use disorder (not currently using drugs illegally)
  • Autoimmune disorder, for example, lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, or HIV/AIDS
  • Blind or low vision
  • Cancer (past or present)
  • Cardiovascular or heart disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Deaf or serious difficulty hearing
  • Diabetes
  • Disfigurement, for example, disfigurement caused by burns, wounds, accidents, or congenital disorders
  • Epilepsy or other seizure disorder
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, for example, Crohn’s Disease, or irritable bowel syndrome
  • Intellectual or developmental disability
  • Mental conditions, for example, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD
  • Missing limbs or partially missing limbs
  • Mobility impairment, benefiting from the use of a wheelchair, scooter, walker, leg brace(s) and/or other supports
  • Nervous system condition for example, migraine headaches, Parkinson’s disease, or multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Neurodivergence, for example, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, dyspraxia, or other learning disabilities
  • Partial or complete paralysis (any cause)
  • Pulmonary or respiratory conditions, for example, tuberculosis, asthma, emphysema
  • Short stature (dwarfism)
  • Traumatic brain injury

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why am I being asked to fill out the disability self-identification form?
As a federal contractor, UW is obligated to take specific actions in its affirmative action programs for individuals with disabilities, including inviting current employees to self-identify their disability status at least once every five years.

This information allows UW to learn more about the employee community, including both staff and academic personnel, and thereby more effectively design and deliver programs, resources, and activities.

Am I required to complete the disability self-identification form?
No. While completing this form is voluntary, we would appreciate your participation so we may monitor the effectiveness of our efforts and attainment of our goals to attract, hire, and provide equal employment opportunity to qualified individuals with disabilities. An employee’s decision to not self-identify does not does adversely impact the employee.

If I report that I have a disability how is this information stored at the UW?
Self-identification is stored in Workday, UWHIRES (our applicant tracking system), and the Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW). Self-identification does not require employees to specify the type of disability or to provide documentation of the disability.

Who has access to this information?
Access to disability information is strictly protected and your manager cannot see your disability status. All demographic information, including disability status, has strictly restricted access for only a few individuals at the University with a compelling business need to know about demographics. Otherwise, your demographics cannot be shared unless they are de-identified from you personally or in an aggregated format, such as the Demographic Baseline Report.

If I have a disability but did not self-identify previously, will updating my disability status negatively affect my job?
Absolutely not. Under RCW 42.56.250, your disability status may not be shared, unless it is de-identified from you personally or in an aggregated format.

Does self-identifying as a person with a disability begin the reasonable accommodation process?
No. Because your self-disclosure is strictly protected and used for University demographic information, not tied to an individual, it does not begin an accommodation request process. Information on how to make a workplace accommodation request is found on the Disability Services Office website.

What can I do if I feel submitted information is being used against me?
If an employee believes they experienced any sort of discrimination based on disability, an employee may contact UCIRO, which is charged with formally investigating claims of discrimination and retaliation.

What if I do not have a disability now, but I become disabled in the future? Can I update my information then?
Yes, you may update your information at any time.

How often will I be asked to complete the disability self-identification?
As a federal contractor, the University is required to ask all employees to update their information every five years. However, because an employee may become disabled at any time, you may submit a new self-identification form at any time if your status changes.

Where can I find the disability self-identification as an employee?

  1. Log into Workday (https://isc.uw.edu) and, in the search field, enter “disability identification”
  2. In the search results, select the Change Self-Identification of Disability task
  3. In the pop-up window, verify your name auto-populates the Worker field, then select OK
  4. On the “Change Self-Identification of Disability” page, review the instructions then check one of the boxes to provide your disability status response
  5. Select Submit

My disability is not listed on the form. What should I do?
Because self-identification is a personal matter, the list included on the form is not exhaustive of all possible reasons why someone may identify as having a disability. You can select “Yes” if you believe you have a disability that is not listed.

What if I need a disability-related accommodation in order to perform my job?
Please contact the Disability Services Office, your Human Resources Consultant, or manager to begin the discussion about a reasonable accommodation. You may be asked to provide documentation of the need for accommodation.

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