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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.

Disadvantages of disclosing your disability Show more Show less

Employers knowing that someone has a disability can result in discrimination. Employers may use the disability as a reason to eliminate the person from consideration. It can also mean that they are misunderstood, treated differently, left out, or passed over for promotions/raises.
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People with disabilities can be discriminated against

Discrimination still occurs. This can mean that people with disabilities may not get jobs despite being qualified or may lose jobs. It can also mean that they are misunderstood, treated differently, left out, or passed over for promotions/raises.

The Argument

Unfortunately, legal protection does not mean that discrimination no longer occurs. Bosses and colleagues can discriminate against people with disabilities. In the extreme, this can mean not getting jobs despite being qualified or the loss of a job. This discrimination isn’t legal, but employers can look for different justification to fire the person to avoid the appearance of discrimination.[1] There are also many other ways discrimination can be seen. People may not understand your illness and may make assumptions about you because of these preconceived ideas, especially with mental illnesses.[2] This can result in negative peer relationships, being left out, being treated differently, and/or being overlooked for groups.[3] Additionally, anything that goes wrong may be blamed on the person’s disability.[1] It can also result in people being passed over for promotions or denied raises. A big disadvantage of disclosing your disability is that you could be discriminated against.

Counter arguments

There are ways to protect yourself from discrimination. First, to avoid stereotypes or stigmas, people should not disclose their specific diagnosis.[4] Second, it is smart to research the company before disclosing to see if they mention diversity, have been involved in disability-related organizations, have other employees with disabilities, and/or have a flexible or accepting culture. Finally, people with disabilities need to know their rights. They can even work with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) or with vocational rehabilitation services to help mediate.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] People with disabilities may not get jobs despite being qualified or may lose jobs. [P2] Bosses or colleagues may make assumptions about you because of their preconceived ideas about your disability. [P3] People with disabilities can be treated differently, left out, or passed over for promotions/raises.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Stereotypes or stigmas can be avoided if people don’t disclose their specific diagnosis.

References

  1. https://iancommunity.org/tell-or-not-tell-disclosing-disability-workplace
  2. https://www.disabledperson.com/blog/posts/how-should-i-answer-the-disability-question-on-job-applications-in-2019-your-disclosure-questions-answered
  3. https://parentnetworkwny.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/PreparingYourChildYoungAdultForWork-PN_FactSheet32917.pdf
  4. https://abilityjobs.com/should-i-or-shouldnt-i/
This page was last edited on Monday, 10 Aug 2020 at 03:32 UTC

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