Disclosing your disability during the hiring process

If you have a disability, the thought of going on a job search may be overwhelming. Whether your disability is hidden or visible, it is something you may have to address and deal with during or after your interview process. The question you may have is when to disclose to a potential employer that you have a disability. On the other hand, perhaps you do not need to reveal your challenges at all.

You may have the appropriate education, training and experience, but some New York employers will only see your disability. The last thing you want is for your dream job to slip away because an employer discriminates against you due to misunderstandings about your condition. It is important to know your rights so you can take action if a potential employer violates them during or after the hiring process.

What does the law say?

The legal definition of a disability is an impairment that limits you from performing one or more major activities, such as seeing, hearing or walking. These are obvious examples, but you may have a disability that is not so easy for others to recognize, such as damage to your circulatory system, depression or asthma. No matter your disability, if you meet all the job qualifications, an employer should give you equal consideration for the position.

It is important that you know and understand the qualifications for the job and whether your disability will prevent you from doing the job even with reasonable accommodations. It is your right to keep your disability private from your employer as long as you can perform the duties of your job without accommodations. However, if you require accommodations, you will need to request them.

To disclose or not to disclose

Making the decision to disclose your disability is personal and may depend on many factors. For example, if you feel it is not necessary to bring up your challenges during an interview, you may wish to keep silent. However, if proceeding with the interview will be difficult without mentioning your disability, you may have to be forthright and explain the kinds of accommodations that will help you succeed at the job.

Depending on your disability, you may need to reveal it as soon as possible, particularly if you need accommodations for the interview. You may find that talking about your disability during the interview is useful in demonstrating your qualities of resilience and flexibility. However, it may be in your best interests to wait until after you get the job to discuss reasonable accommodations with your new boss.

No matter when you disclose your disability, the law protects you from any kind of discrimination regarding hiring, promotions, pay, advancement opportunities or termination. If you experience unfair treatment because of your disability, you have the right to legal recourse.

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