Unemployment among members of the workforce who have a disability is a much greater problem than for their abled counterparts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that only 19.1 percent of the disabled population was employed in 2021. Meanwhile, 63.7 percent of the non-disabled workforce were employed over the same period. Part of the disparity can be attributed to the tendency of the disabled population to skew toward those 65 and older. However, the BLS noted that “across all age groups, persons with a disability were much less likely to be employed than those with no disability.”
With that in mind, disabled job seekers have a challenge: determining how much of their disability – if any – they should disclose in the application and interview process. Those with more obvious disabilities are likely to have the issue come up at some point, if only during in-person interviews. On the other hand, applicants with an “invisible disability” (a condition that isn’t immediately apparent but often equally debilitating) may be able to go from applying to onboarding without the need to disclose their disability at all. But should they?
What the Law Says
You are not legally required to mention your disability while being considered for a job. That includes on your resume, cover letter, and the application itself, or during an interview. That’s because the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prevents eligible employers from discriminating against qualified job applicants and employees if they have a disability. However, employers are permitted to assess whether an applicant has the ability to perform essential job functions with or without reasonable accommodations – adjustments making it easier to perform those duties.
But Is It a Good Idea to Bring Up Your Disability?
Opinions vary, but there is a consensus that you shouldn’t disclose your disability any sooner than you have to. If it is apparent that you can do the job, but only with reasonable accommodations, you should bring up your disability sooner rather than later.
On the other hand, if you don’t need your boss or co-workers to know you’re disabled, you’re better off “under sharing” than oversharing. Despite the ADA, you may find you get fewer interviews if you do disclose your disability. While you can’t be explicitly denied employment because you’re disabled, employers do look for ways to winnow down their candidates.
Find a Job That Fits Your Skills
If you’re looking for great job opportunities in Eden or anywhere else in North Carolina, Mega Force can help. And we can provide more than job listings – we can help you make yourself more marketable. Contact our team today or browse our career portal today.