Data on sex/gender and racial/ethnic heritage are used to determine key reporting categories for federal, state, system wide and institutional reports. A procedure that ensures the collection of accurate sex/gender and racial/ethnic heritage data at the time of hire or during a later correction procedure will lessen the number of errors in the annual AA&EEO data compilations and save the time of affirmative action personnel who must identify and correct errors. Such a procedure can also be used to ensure accuracy and timeliness in the collection of the federally required data on veterans and individuals with disabilities.

The purpose of UW System Administrative Policy 220 (SYS 220), Affirmative Action Data Collection is to ensure that Affirmative Action & Equal Employment Opportunity data are collected by all UW institutions in a manner that is consistent with federally mandated definitions using a reliable collection technique.

Under University Personnel Policy, as well as Executive Order 11246 – Compliance Assistance established by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance, and federal laws established by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, UW System institutions shall ensure equal opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment, and they shall maintain the affirmative action plans required by University policy.

The affirmative action provisions of the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) prohibits job discrimination and requires federal contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified Vietnam era veterans, special disabled veterans, recently separated veterans, and veterans who served on active duty during a war on in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized. This law is enforced by the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS).

All federal contractors and subcontractors with contracts exceeding specific thresholds must take affirmative action to hire and promote qualified targeted veterans. In addition, each year they are required to file a VETS-100 report which shows the number of targeted veterans in their workforce by job category, hiring location, and number of new hires.