Count Me In Campaign
The Count Me In Campaign was created in Spring 2019 as a way to promote the self-identification of disabilities. Rudy Jones, ADA Coordinator, announced the Campaign at the Spring 2019 Empowering Carolina Seminar.
When the Campaign was announced in April 2019, there were 654 UNC employees who self-identified as having a disability. Since the Campaign launch, Rudy has passed along information at a number of meetings and trainings with varying offices and departments on campus, sent mass emails, and has provided information at tabling events. Through those efforts, we saw the number increase to 901 employees who have self-identified.
What is the Count Me In Campaign and what do you hope to accomplish by it?
The Count Me In Campaign was kicked off at the spring Empowering Carolina Event on April 2, 2019. The purpose is to encourage more UNC employees to voluntarily self-identify as having a disability. Most studies conducted in this area indicate that only 25% of the employees who could voluntarily self-identify actually do so. We currently have 901 faculty and staff members that have voluntarily self-id’ed and we know there are many, many more who qualify to do so.
What’s in it for me – why should I voluntarily self – Id as having a disability?
There are two principle reasons why we are encouraging employees to self-id as having a disability. First there are new federal regulations that now require federal contractors to track their population of disabled employees. The University is a government contractor and is subject to those regulations. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has established a benchmark goal of having 8% of each job group represented by disabled employees. Our disabled population represents approximately 6% across our total employee population. So we have a significant ways to go.
Clearly the University wants to meet and exceed its compliance obligations. However, an even more important reason for encouraging employees to self-identify, is that we want Carolina to be a viewed as a welcoming and inclusive community. We want prospective faculty, staff and students with a disability to know they will be welcomed, valued and respected here and will have the resources and support to reach their full potential.
I have health problems, but I am not disabled and I can still work, do I need to self-identify?
Yes we still encourage you to self-id. In fact, that is one of the biggest misconceptions regarding the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Many employees think that having a disability means you cannot work or perform your job duties. While that may be true of employees applying for state disability programs or disability coverage under Social Security, that is not the case with ADA. Having a disability under ADA means you have a health condition that can significantly impact you compared to the average person. Many of us are dealing with conditions such as; allergies, asthma, hypertension, migraines, sleep apnea, etc. We may take medications or receive other treatments to mitigate these conditions and that allows us to continue to work and to be productive in our jobs. Yet we still have the health condition and that qualifies us as having a disability under ADA. So yes, we encourage you to still self-id even if you have a health condition that allows you to work. Even if you have a health condition that does not require an accommodation, we still encourage you to self-id. Under ADA, any ongoing health condition that you are seeing a doctor for, other than an annual physical, would qualify you to self-identify as having a disability.
If I self-Identify who will see that information, and will that be detrimental to my career?
Employees who self-id as having a disability can be reassured their information is kept strictly confidential and protected. There are only a few members of the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office that have access to it. We want employees to view ADA as a positive resource that is here to help and to provide the assistance that may be needed. Even in situations where we meet with an employee’s supervisor to discuss the feasibility of an accommodation, we do not provide any of the documents or medical information that employees have given us. We let the supervisor know the employee has gone through our ADA process and provided the necessary information needed. We also remind supervisors that any information regarding an employee‘s health or disability can only be discussed with those that have a direct business need to know and that typically means another level of management or human resources. Supervisors are also reminded that it is against University policy to retaliate in any against an employee who has self-id’ed as having a disability or has requested an accommodation.
If I want to voluntarily self-identify as having a disability how do I do that?
- Log-in to your Connect Carolina account.
- In the Self Service menu, choose “Personal Information”
- From the left-side menu, choose “Self-Identify Disability”
- Fill out the online form and click submit
Then you are registered. You are in and helping our Count Me In Campaign to be successful. I’m in are you in?
Click here to see photos from the Spring 2019 Empowering Carolina event and Count Me In campaign launch.