Students with disabilities may have job search concerns that are unique to them. This web page aims to provide students with disabilities with the necessary information and resources to successfully navigate their job search.
There are always questions to explore before making a decision. Deciding whether or not to disclose a disability can sometimes be a stressful event. Keep in mind under the ADA the employer is only obligated to make reasonable accommodations for known disabilities. Therefore, if the employer does not know about the disability, it is left up to the individual to make their own accommodations. It may be helpful to conduct research about the potential employer’s attitudes about people with disabilities and the company they are representing. If you decide to disclose your disability, be prepared to negotiate terms of employment and accommodations. If you decide not to disclose your disability at all to the employer, you may be under a great deal of stress keeping your disability concealed.
The employer is not allowed to ask you if you have a disability. If you are an individual with a visible disability, be honest and upfront when relaying information about who you are and educate the employer about the disability. Providing appropriate information is likely to ease any doubts and also answer any unspoken questions that the potential employer may have. If you have a non-visible disability it is up to the individual with a disability to divulge any information. The following are thoughts on disclosing in the various stages of the job search:
Generally not a good idea at this stage unless you know that one of the essential duties of the position involves working with people with disabilities.
When called for an interview
If you need an accommodation for the interview or testing, then you will need to disclose in order to secure appropriate accommodation.
When job offer is extended
Employer may wonder why you did not disclose earlier and may be distrustful. You need to explain how the disability will not interfere with your ability to perform
After you start work
On one hand, you have a proven track record; however, the employer may feel you were less than honest, which could change your relationships with colleagues. Also, the longer you put off disclosing, the more difficult it becomes.
After problem on the job
You probably will have built up some successful experiences prior to the problem; however, perceptions and relationships may shift. It could make it more difficult to repair the damage
You may be constantly afraid that your disability will be uncovered; however, if you are sure that your disability will not impact your job performance, then the issue of disclosure becomes less critical.
Employer's Responsibilities Include, But Are Not Limited To:
- Remaining fair in their judgment of your ability to perform the essential functions of the job with or without accommodations
- Discussing accommodation alternatives
- Providing reasonable accommodation(s)
- Seeing and supporting the person, not the “disability”
Questions for Employers to Consider During the Accommodations Process
- Was the employee actively part of the accommodations process through all of its phases
- Does special equipment take advantage of the employee’s unique abilities?
- Was a simple, minimal cost solution found?
- Was the “right” problem solved?
- Is the solution portable and appropriate for other assignments within the company?
- Has an accessible career path been provided for the employee?
- Were all the accommodations that the employee requested truly “reasonable?”
Reasonable Accommodations Include
- Modifying the physical layout of a job facility to make it accessible to individuals who use wheelchairs or who have other impairments that make access difficult
- Restructuring a job that enables the person with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job
- Establishing a part-time or modified work schedule (e.g., accommodating people with disabilities who have medical treatment appointments or fatigue problems)
- Reassigning people with disabilities to a vacant job
Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices (e.g. buying a hearing telephone amplifier for a person with a hearing impairment
- Adjusting or modifying exams, training materials, or policies (e.g., giving an application examination orally to a person with dyslexia or modifying a policy against dogs in the workplace for a person with a service dog)
- Providing qualified readers or interpreters for people with vision or hearing impairments
Costs of Reasonable Accommodations
- About 50% of the reasonable accommodations surveyed cost nothing.
- 30% cost between $40 and $500
- 10% cost between $500 and $2,000
- 10% cost in excess of $2,000
University Center, Room 5
5240 North Jackson Avenue M/S ML125
Fresno, California 93740-8023
5044 N. Barton Avenue
Fresno, CA 93740-8012
(559) 445-6011 (VOICE)
(559) 266-3373 (TTY)
P.O. Box 24001
2550 Mariposa St., Room 2000
Fresno, CA 93721-2270
559-221-2342 (TTY/Video Relay)
3008 North Fresno Street
Fresno, CA 93703
***Adapted from “Disclosure Options” handout by Aase and Smith, University of Minnesota and “Disclosing Your Disability” handout from Cal Poly, Pomona