Friday, November 30, 2012
Should you Reveal a Disability in your Job Search?
The ADA law prohibits employers from asking job candidates any medical questions, and the consensus among legal experts in this field is that you're under no obligation to bring up the subject in an interview, unless you have reason to believe it could affect your ability to do your job. Since you managed to work around your condition in your last job, do you think you could do the same in a new position? ADA requires employers to make a 'reasonable accommodation' for people with disabilities but if you really believe you could not perform the job at a high level, then it would probably be better to not apply for the job in the first place. To decide this you must understand exactly what the job will entail. Ask for as many details about the daily routine as possible. Then, figure out what kinds of "reasonable accommodations" might be possible. If, for instance, it would help to be able to work from home occasionally, you can ask about that in an interview without going into detail about why you want to know. Look for employers with flexibility and focus on your abilities, not your disability. Remember, your employer cannot make reasonable accommodations if they are unaware of your situation. Ernst and Young has written a free online guidebook about this as a PDF here.