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What are the advantages and disadvantages of disclosing your disability to a potential employer? Show more Show less
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According to the CDC, 61 million adult Americans (or 1 in 4) have a disability. People with a disability have an unemployment rate that is twice as high as the rate for the rest of the population. It can be harder to get a job for people with disabilities. One of the biggest issues around applying for a job is deciding whether or not to disclose your disability to a potential employer. Legislation such as the Equality Act 2010 in the U.K. and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the U.S. have ensured certain protections such as protection from discrimination, reasonable accommodations, and restrictions on what employers can ask about your disability. Pre-offer employers can ask voluntary demographic information (including if you have a disability) to ensure diversity, or make limited enquires to determine if you can perform the tasks vital to the role and post-offer employers can ask medical questions (or require an examination) as long as they do for all individuals selected. However, it is generally up to the individual to decide if, when, and how much to disclose. There are both advantages and disadvantages to disclosing your disability to a potential employer.

Advantages of disclosing your disability Show more Show less

Disclosing a disability can be necessary to explain gaps in employment history. It also allows people to determine if the job is a good fit for them by having an honest conversation with the potential employer about if they can meet the requirements and seeing if the employer is understanding and open to providing accommodations. Finally, disclosing your disability means that then you are entitled to receive accommodations to apply, interview, or perform the job.
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People with disabilities are able to receive accommodations

The law requires employers to give reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities. The biggest advantage of disclosing your disability is that then you are entitled to receive accommodations to apply, interview, or perform the job.

The Argument

The biggest advantage of disclosing your disability is that then you are entitled to receive reasonable accommodations to be successful at work. People with disabilities may require accommodations to apply, interview, or perform the job. Legislation such as the Equality Act 2010 in the U.K. and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the U.S. has ensured reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are “any change in the work environment or in the way things are customarily done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform a job, or gain equal access to the benefits and privileges of a job”.[1] Some of these accommodations include changes in the facility or polices and assistive technology. In the United States, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said that allowing individuals to work from home may be a reasonable accommodation, and the ADA and FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) allow employees the right to work-leave for medical reasons.[1][2] If you don’t disclose your disability, then you cannot expect an employer to make such accommodations. If you need accommodations at any point, then you are going to have to disclose your disability. However, you do not have to disclose more information than is necessary to explain why you need the accommodation; how much information you disclose is up to you. You can request accommodations to complete the application process, for the interview, or at any point that you are employed. You don’t need to disclose your illness prior to the need for accommodation in order to receive one, but you should request accommodation before your work suffers.[3] It is also recommended that you don’t use unnecessary medical jargon and focus on how the accommodation will help you do an excellent job. Additionally, it is advised that you are prepared when you disclose and already you know what specific accommodations (or equipment) that you need and offer proactive solutions.[4]

Counter arguments

Unless you absolutely need accommodations for the hiring process, it is best to disclose your disability and discuss accommodations after you get the job to avoid hiring discrimination.[4] Additionally, the legislation provides ample leeway for employers to deny accommodations. Employers are not required to provide the specific accommodation requested. Businesses are not required to provide an accommodation if it causes undue hardship (excessive expense or isn’t feasible for the specific job). Undue hardship is vaguely defined and can be used as an excuse to deny claims. It is especially hard to get accommodations with small businesses because they have more limited resources.[5] If you might not receive the accommodation even if you do disclose then you are better not disclosing and not risking discrimination.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] The law requires employers to give reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities. [P2] You must disclose your disability to be entitled to receive accommodations to apply, interview, or perform the job.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] The law provides ample leeway for employers to deny accommodations under the vague excuse of undue hardship.

References

  1. https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/work-hometelework-reasonable-accommodation
  2. https://adata.org/factsheet/work-leave
  3. https://abilityjobs.com/should-i-or-shouldnt-i/
  4. https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/disclose-disability-on-resume
  5. https://www.disabledperson.com/blog/posts/how-should-i-answer-the-disability-question-on-job-applications-in-2019-your-disclosure-questions-answered
This page was last edited on Monday, 10 Aug 2020 at 02:42 UTC

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