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If you are concerned about disclosing your disability during the application process, know that you are not alone. The decision to disclose and knowing when to disclose is not always straightforward.

This document addresses topics related to disability in the workplace. Remember, you have the power to choose if you want to disclose your disability, and choose when to disclose.
If you are unsure about what to do, we encourage you to read this document.

Know Your Legal Rights

  • The ADA does not include a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA has a general definition that each person must meet. According to the ADA, a person has a disability if “a physical or mental impairment substantially limits one or more major life activities.” To read more about the definition and meaning of disability, check out the article titled Americans with Disability Act Amendment Act.
  • The ADA and Apprenti prohibit job discrimination against qualified applicants with disabilities. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified candidates with disabilities unless such accommodations would pose an undue hardship. The general intent of accommodation is to enable you to perform the duties of your current role to the fullest extent possible.
  • An employer is not required to provide accommodation if they do not know the candidate or apprentice has a disability.
  • Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and the ADA, employers are required to provide accommodations to pregnant employees who experience work restrictions on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
  • Apprenti seeks equal justice and equal dignity without discrimination. If you feel that you have been harassed, bullied, and/or experienced other disruptive behavior should report it via email to Andrea Anderson or Sasha Rayburn.

Factors to consider before requesting an accommodation

    1. Will you need accommodation during the hiring process?
      1. If you know that you will experience a barrier in the hiring process related to your disability, it may be helpful to disclose your disability as soon as possible. This will ensure the appropriate measures are in place for you to fully and equally participate in the interview process.

 

    1. When is the best time to disclose?
      • While there is no one right answer about when to disclose your disability, here are some things to keep in mind.
      • Disclose Pre-interview: If you have a disability (visible or invisible), it may be beneficial to disclose your disability before the interview so you can request accommodations for the interview.
      • During the interview: If you plan to tell stories about or reference your disability in response to interview questions, it may be helpful to disclose your disability at the beginning of the interview.
        Additionally, if you feel that the interviewer is wondering about your disability and the workplace accommodations you may need, it can be helpful to address those concerns directly since the interviewers cannot legally ask them.
      • After the Interview: If you anticipate that you will need accommodation to perform the essential functions of your job, we encourage you to notify your training provider and/or manager at your employer site before you start. This will help ensure the accommodation is processed and implemented on day one (or soon after).
      • During technical training: Apprenti’s technical training programs are generally accelerated in nature and are not designed to be taken at a slower overall pace. In order to give you the greatest chance for success and the widest range of options, please let us know before the first day of class if you will need accommodation. While we will work with students on any disclosure timeline, waiting to disclose an accommodation need may hinder your academic progress. Because of Apprenti’s very tight timeline, it’s not easy to catch up if you fall behind?

 

    1. When is disclosing a disability an advantage?
      • When you want to use your disability to explain how you have a skill the employer is looking for (i.e., problem-solving, leadership, grit, etc.) or if you want to answer an interview question with a story or example that connects to your disability.
      • It may give you permission to be more authentic at work and free to share experiences from your past / current life experiences. Hiding a disability takes emotional energy.
      • If you have a visible disability and use an ASL interpreter or wheelchair, for example, it may be easier to address your disability upfront. State how you can perform the job tasks with an accommodation in place, then continue with the interview.
      • If the job description suggests that the employer is particularly interested in hiring a person with a disability, it may be advantageous to disclose.

 

    1. What are the disadvantages of disclosing?
        • While the ADA and Apprenti prohibit job discrimination against qualified applicants with disabilities, there are cases of overt or covert discrimination in employment toward people with disabilities.

 

  1. How do I know if disclosing is the right choice for me?
    • This is a personal question that requires self-reflection. Consider these questions:
      • If you do not disclose, will it make the application process unexpectedly challenging?
      • If you don’t disclose, do you anticipate that you will be fearful of being discovered?
      • If you don’t disclose, will you feel like you can’t bring your authentic self to work?

FAQ

Can the employer ask if I have a disability during the interview?

No, an employer cannot ask you if you have a disability nor ask about the nature or severity of your disability during the interview.

Should I tell the hiring manager I have a disability even though I don’t need an accommodation for the interview?

If you don’t need accommodation, the hiring manager does not need to know about your disability or health status.

I have a visible disability. Do I need to provide medical documentation when I request an accommodation (after I received an offer)?

No, if your disability is visible you do not need to provide medical documentation.

I have an invisible disability. Do I need to provide medical documentation when I request an accommodation?

After the apprenticeship offer is extended, your employer is permitted to ask for documentation of your disability and the impact it has on your ability to complete work. Only share information that is directly related to the invisible disability and accommodation.

Who has access to disability related medical information I share during the interview process / with my employer?

Disability-related medical information is stored in a confidential file — separate from your general personnel file. Only authorized individuals have access to the information.

I am pregnant and developed an additional medical issue. Can I receive an accommodation?

  • Yes, if you are pregnant and unable to do any part of your job, your employer is required to provide you with reasonable accommodation.
  • If you’re not sure what accommodation you need, check out the list of typical accommodations for common medical issues during pregnancy from Center for WorkLife Law.

Do chronic conditions qualify as a disability even when they are not active?

  • Yes, a chronic condition that causes periodic flare-ups will qualify as a disability if it meets the definition of disability in its active state.
  • Similarly, a person whose cancer is in remission will qualify as having a disability if that condition, when active, would meet the definition.

Can I receive an accommodation for a short-term illness or condition?

Temporary conditions that don’t have serious long-term consequences will not qualify as a disability under the ADA. However, your employer may still be open to temporary modifications based on your illness or injury, so feel free to inquire with your manager or HR contact.

I am a caregiver for an individual with a disability. Am I entitled to receive a reasonable accommodation under the ADA?

No. To be eligible to receive an accommodation, an individual must have an ‘actual’ or ‘record or’ a disability, as defined by the ADA Amendments Act.

Can I request time off work as a reasonable accommodation?

  • It depends on whether it would create an undue hardship for the employer.
  • If regular attendance is an essential function of the job, employees who need significant time off may no longer be qualified for the job. Therefore, it is not protected under the ADA or entitled to reasonable accommodations.

What if I don’t know if I have a disability, can I still reach out to the Apprenti Access Team?

  • Yes! You do not need a documented disability to talk with the Apprenti Access Team. We are happy to discuss barriers and work and what supports you may need, even without a diagnosis. You can reach us at accommodations@apprenticareers.org or (206) 513-7924.

I would like to request an accommodation. Who should I contact?

Reach out to Apprenti’s Access Team at accommodations@apprenticareers.org or (206) 513-7924.

 

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