I am starting to apply for a few jobs, and am unsure how to handle the disability question. Technically, i think the answer is "yes, I have a disability" because of my MS Dx; however, there really isn't anything one would know by meeting me. I don't have mobility issues, my hands are working fully again, my vision isn't back to 100% - I am truly blessed!
So how do I answer the "Do you or have you ever had a disability" question? I know they say it won't be used against you, but I don't believe it. One doesn't have to answer, but isn't that the same as a "yes"?!
Thoughts? MS is listed as an example of a disability.
That's a tough one, cjtmn. We really like this publication from the Job Accommodation Network:
Dos and Don'ts of Disclosure
As well as this information:
Disability Disclosure and Employment
Please call if you have questions, we have a Benefits and Employment team of specialists ready to answer questions! 1 800 344 4867, option 1.
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I don't work anymore, but when I applied for my last job, I let them know upfront about having MS. My bosses and HR never held it against me. As a matter of fact, they were very accommodating. Whether it was letting me go for solumedral treatments, vitamin B12 shots, doctors appointments, to even allowing me to park in the patient handicap spot.
They should not hold it against you especially if you are upfront with them right away, and especially if you do a good job.
Besides, if they discriminate against you in any way, you can sue.
Hope this helps
I have answered the question yes, more than once. I have been over qualified for these jobs. Not once have I been called or contacted, yet there's still hiring for same position. I'm fully functional, like yourself. Some days are rocky but nothing I can't fight against!
Thank you for the real question!
The only time I think you would have to mention it is if you have any symptoms that might affect your work/productivity....good days/bad days. If you have balance issues (losing your footing once in a while or walking into things)...someone may mistake it for substance abuse. If you forget things or have moments that you struggle to retain information...that might be another instance. If you have fatigue that may cause you not to go into work at times...your attendance could be an issue, but..if you have no symptoms that affect your abilites...then you have MS and have not reached the point of being disabled. MS doesn't necessessarily make you disabled...it depends on how it affects your abilities or interferes with activities. MS is not an automatic approval for disability benefits. In my case, I would have to disclose it because MS affects me quite a bit...in ways others may not notice...the invisible effects are the ones overlooked. It's an individual decision...if you think you can work at optimal potential...then there is no need to disclose, but if you know there could be instances that might cause an employer to fire you...then it might be better to be upfront.
I feel your frustration as I have been in this same boat for the past 2 years that I have been looking for a job. At first, I believed what the disclaimer stated but then got to thinking.... why wouldn't the recruiters use that as a process of elimination for potential candidates? They "SAY" they want to make sure they have a legal percentage of people with disabilities under their employment but I don't believe it. That's me personally. I always answer nothing now. My approach is if i do get an interview and it is worth mentioning... then I do. If not, I just keep it to myself until absolutely necessary. I came to this jaded point of view because of how my current company is treating me. Maybe I can find a great accommodating company like christie231 and things might change but in this very difficult and competitive job market, recruiters will find anything to thin the herd. I belive go with your gut feeling. I want employers to see me for my job and work ethic not my disability. Which most people can't even see. I have a bit of a walking issue sometimes but you would never know it if you saw me. Good luck to you in your job hunt. You are not alone.
I agree with kat2wolf - it depends on your level of disability. My personal experience (at a previous job) was that I didn't disclose anything to my manager at first. I don't have any visible symptoms, so in my opinion there was no point in bringing it up. Then I started experiencing debilitating fatigue, and my performance suffered. I knew my manager was getting frustrated with me and I was starting to worry about being fired. I finally broke down and let him know what was going on and his response was "Why didn't you tell me?" - in the most kind and understanding way. Now that I'm starting to apply for new jobs, I struggle with the "Do you have a disability?" question on the application too. Based on my experience, I check the "No" box - but at the first sign of a flare up or new symptom, I would inform my manager right away rather than wait until he's frustrated. (Also, in case anyone is wondering, my neurologist prescribed amantadine for the fatigue, and it has helped me.)
I was recently job hunting. You should always have the option to obstain, "choose not to answer". I did that on all of my applications.
I do not have any symptoms that people can see and my brain is still working well. I didn't see any reason to tell them.
Hang in there. The right one will come along!💗
Short sweet answer for you is don't tell them about it until you are hired and that is only if you need to because of a physical limitation or or some way you can't perform your job because of the MS. Just like an employer doesn't want to have to train a new employee they don't want to hire a person with a medical condition because they don't typically make the same amount of money from that employee as oppose to one in good health. Bottom line at an interview keep it to to yourself. It hasn't done me any good by letting a future employer know about my condition.
If the MS will not affect your new job, the answer is NO. Just because you have MS doesnt necessarily means you're disabled. If you applied for disability you may not qualify because you can still work. It then applies the other way around as well. There is no obligation to disclose your MS for employment purposes.
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