When you’re searching for a new job opportunity, determining if, when, or how to discuss a disability isn’t always easy. Many professionals with disabilities worry about disclosing the nature of their condition, particularly since employers may associate the term “disability” with limitations. However, many candidates with disabilities also understand that they may require reasonable accommodations to succeed in the role and that generally means discussing their medical condition, at least to a degree.
Fortunately, it isn’t as challenging to figure out how to proceed as it may seem. If you’re a candidate with a disability and want to know what to discuss with your employer, here is some guidance that can help.
Know What You Do and Don’t Have to Disclose
Understanding the requirements regarding disclosing a disability is a critical part of the equation. Generally, if your disability has no impact on your ability to perform the duties associated with a position without a reasonable accommodation, you do have the option of not mentioning your condition.
However, if you need a reasonable accommodation or other support as outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or similar legislation, discussing the matter with the hiring manager during the hiring process is typically a must. Ultimately, what’s deemed a “reasonable accommodation” can vary dramatically from one workplace to the next. As a result, you need to find out if the prospective employer can provide what you require.
In some cases, it’s also wise to disclose a disability if it will lead to seemingly unusual actions on your part while at work. For instance, certain medical conditions may necessity more trips to the bathroom during the day or more frequent eating during a shift. In those cases, you may need to discuss the condition in advance.
Precisely what you need to disclose does vary. Normally, you don’t have to dig into the details of your condition. Instead, you can simply state that you have a condition and require reasonable accommodation. Then, outline what you’d need to thrive in the workplace.
Timing the Disclosure of a Disability
Exactly when you need to disclose a disability varies depending on several factors. First, if your disability impacts you during the hiring process and you may need accommodations to take part in interviews or complete skills tests, then it’s wise to mention it when you’re contacting to participate in those activities.
If your disability doesn’t affect the hiring process, you can choose to wait. You could present the information during the interview itself or wait until you’re extended a job offer. Which option is best may be based on the degree of accommodations required. If the accommodations are minimal and won’t need the procurement of additional equipment, tools, or solutions, waiting until a job offer is made could be an option. However, if the accommodation is more complex or potentially requires an investment or arrangements on the employer’s part, it may be better to discuss it earlier, giving them time to assess the company’s capabilities.
How to Tell an Employer About a Disability
As mentioned previously, you aren’t required to give in-depth details about your medical condition. Instead, you can provide a basic overview that shows why the accommodations you’re requesting are needed. Then, you can outline the nature of the accommodations themselves.
If you present the information in person, it may be wise to follow that up with an email. Along with allowing you to formally outline what’s being requested, it serves as a record of the interaction. Plus, you can let the employer know that they can ask questions or present alternatives when it comes to the accommodations, ensuring there’s a simple way to move forward.
How to Find a Job When You Have a Disability
While finding a job when you have a disability is challenging at times, there are ways to make it easier. By partnering with GSG Talent Solutions, you can take advantage of the WorksWonders program.
Through the WorksWonders program, GSG Talent Solutions ensures individuals with disabilities have access to critical support, training, and guidance, as well as access to job opportunities that meet their needs. Additionally, the team at GSG Talent Solutions is dedicated to maintaining confidentiality at all times.
If you’re ready for a different kind of job search, the team at GSG Talent Solutions wants to hear from you. Contact us today.