Your disability is personal to you and no one else. The amount of information you disclose regarding it is up to you. However, in the workforce, employers may feel that they are entitled to know details about your disability for logistical or other reasons. What you need to know is that, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you are not required to disclose such information, keeping your private details just as you want them—private. To help you know what you have the right to keep private and to make sure your employers are not discriminating against you, here are four questions employers can’t ask about your disability.
An Employer Can’t Ask You To Take a Medical Examination
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is illegal for a potential employer to require any applicant with a disability to take a medical exam before hiring. With such a medical exam, an employer would have unethical access to certain medical details that are personal to you and your doctor alone.
Furthermore, with this medical information in hand, an employer could make quick and rash decisions regarding your ability to do the job in question without even speaking with you about this. This would result in unethical and uninformed discrimination against you, and therefore it is not legal for an employer to do.
How Many Sick Days You Were Absent From Your Previous Job
Your disability may cause you to miss days of work, or it may not, but this should never be a reason you are overlooked for a position. By asking how many sick days you were absent from work in your previous position, an employer might come to uninformed conclusions about how well you’ll be able to perform the role based on what they determine about the severity ofyour disability. This sort of question is another that may result in discrimination based on your disability alone.
If You Have Ever Applied for Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ Compensation is insurance paid for by the employer that provides medical care for an employee that has been injured or disabled as a direct result of their job. If you are able to perform the job that you are being considered for by the employer, any past injury or Workers’ Compensation claims are not relevant to their consideration. If an employer is asking about past claims, they are most likely trying to gauge if hiring you will be a liability to them or cost them in the future. This is discrimination based on your past injury or disability, and illegal for an employer to do.
What Medications You Are Taking
Regardless of what you take medications for, it is important to know that your employer cannot ask about them. Seeing your list of medications could disclose disabilities or injuries that you have the right to keep private, as well as allow an employer to make uninformed decisions about how well you would be able to perform the role in question. Just like any other medical records, you have a right to privacy regarding your prescriptions.
It’s important to remember that you have a right to privacy regarding your disability in the workplace. When applying and interviewing for jobs with new employers, you will often have the opportunity to choose how much you want to disclose, thus keeping you safe from discrimination and unethical treatment. Employers are allowed to ask some questions that pertain specifically to your safety in the workplace and if you have accommodations that the employer will make sure are present for you, but anything outside of job-specific information is unnecessary and illegal to ask. Having a disability in the workforce can feel scary, and you may be wondering how you can make sure you are not the victim of discrimination. Delta Center can help—we offer free advocacy services for adults with disabilities to help you navigate the ins and outs of the hiring process as well as any other situation you may have concerns about. We offer coaching for self-advocacy as well as helping you find programs in the workplace and community that may benefit you. You deserve to know all of your options and to be able to advocate for the very best for yourself in every situation. For more information, visit our advocacy services page.