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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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Disclosing your disability serves as an explanation

Disclosing a disability can be necessary to serve as an explanation. People can reference their disability to explain gaps in their employment history. Disclosing a disability allows people the chance to answer any questions the employer may have and assuage any doubts about their capabilities.

The Argument

An advantage of disclosing your disability to a potential employer is that you may need to reference it for an explanation. If you have gaps in your employment history, then you will need to explain how it is related to your disability.[1] Explaining the impact of your disability can also help the potential employer understand communication difficulties during the interview, especially with illnesses such as autism.[2] It is better that employers know the reason behind these issues then immediately disregard you because of them. It is also better to disclose your disability before your performance suffers because of it. An employer does not have to rescind discipline decisions based on poor performance if the employee then discloses that this is because of a disability.[3] You need to preemptively work with the company and request accommodations to help you succeed to avoid any performance problems. Disclosing your disability can also allow you the chance to answer any questions the employer may have and assuage any of their doubts about your capabilities.[4] It can also be discussed as a strength; despite your struggles, need to rest, or dealings with pain, look at everything you have accomplished. It shows employers your perseverance.

Counter arguments

Don’t disclose your disability to explain gaps in your work history. Instead, add a filler such as volunteer work or continuing education to explain what you did during that time.[5] Your disability may be an explanation, but it isn’t worth risking discrimination or impacting how an employer perceives you because of any preconceived notions they may have about your disability.[4]

Proponents

Premises

[P1] People can reference their disability to explain gaps in their employment history or communication difficulties during the interview. [P2] Disclosing a disability allows people the chance to answer any questions the employer may have and assuage any of their doubts about your capabilities. [P3] A disability can be referenced when discussing a person's strengths.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Instead of assuaging doubts, disclosing your disability can impact how an employer perceives you because of any preconceived notions they may have about your disability.

References

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2016/mar/11/i-have-a-disability-when-do-i-tell-a-prospective-employer
  2. https://iancommunity.org/tell-or-not-tell-disclosing-disability-workplace
  3. https://abilityjobs.com/should-i-or-shouldnt-i/
  4. https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/learning-disabilities-at-work
  5. https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/disclose-disability-on-resume
This page was last edited on Monday, 10 Aug 2020 at 03:21 UTC

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