It is time for another #CareerTipTuesday and this week we're excited to provide information and resources for our friends with disabilities. Whether you're returning to the workforce for the first time since experiencing a disability or your disability has been a part of your entire professional career, navigating the hiring process can feel like a landmine. There are countless opportunities to misstep or lose firm footing.
Deciding whether to disclose a disability or to request accommodations can add to the pressure, fear and stress of the process...AND it is important to understand the protections in place in order to make the best decision for you!
Discrimination on the basis of disability is prohibited in ALL STAGES of employment under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This includes the pre-employment stage! However, even though these protections exist, both discrimination and stigma still remain a reality for many with mental and physical disabilities.
So how do you know WHEN and even WHETHER to disclose such information during the hiring process?
Our Tip: Understand Your Options and Resources!
Am I Required to Disclose?
The quick answer is: NO! Generally you are not required to disclose a disability during the hiring process unless you are requesting an accommodation needed DURING the hiring process. For example, if you have a need for an ASL interpreter in order to participate in the interview process or some form of assistive technology, you would have to disclose that during the interview process.
However, you are NOT required to disclose a disability during the interview process even if you plan to request accommodations once employed in order to perform your job duties.
Are Employers Allowed to Ask Me to Disclose a Disability?
Employers are permitted to ask candidates to VOLUNTARILY self-identify as having a disability during the application or interview process. However, doing so must be completely voluntary (and be stated as such) and a candidate's decision not to disclosure cannot result in any adverse actions (such as termination or the rescinding of an offer). It is also important to be aware that such voluntary self-identification information must be stored separately from a candidate's application as it is not to play any part in the hiring decision.
Will I Need Documentation of My Disability?
Some employers may request documentation of a disability as part of their process for providing workplace accommodations. This is likely to be more common for disabilities that are invisible or not easily apparent.
How Do I Report Discrimination?
Unfortunately, not all employers (or staff responsible for hiring decision) are knowledgeable on the protections of the law and therefore, discrimination may still take place. Therefore, if you believe that you've experienced discrimination, you can file a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Where Can I Learn More?
As is the case with all things, knowledge is powerful! Therefore, we encourage you to connect with service providers, information and resources to support you and equip you with the knowledge that you need to make the best decisions for yourself!
We Recommend starting with JAN (Job Accommodation Network)
Phone: (800) 526-7234
Ultimately, it is YOUR decision WHEN and WHETHER to disclose a disability to a current or potential employer...and it helps to have information and support in order to be equipped to make the best decision for YOU!
#CareerTipTuesday #InterviewTips #ClothingConfidenceCareer