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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    258

    Default How to Apply for Jobs When You Have an Obvious Disability

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: OK

    I am reviewing the resume of a disabled family member. He is an older (40ish), recent college grad in a technology area. He has multiple issues several of which would be evident in a pre-employment physical and drug screen. In addition, he will need time off during normal business hours for physician's appointments and treatments. He was a special ed student in high school and received some accommodations during college. He is not currently a client of the state vocational assistance agency, and they have no slots available to assist him.

    He has cancer (controlled with treatments) and bipolar ( controlled with use of multiple prescriptions), uses medical oxygen several hours a day (has FAA approved equipment so could travel on short assignments), and has learning disabilities of which the most debilitating is auditory processing involving memory of verbal information. Side effects of his conditions, treatments and medications occasionally result in his being bedridden from pain for several days once or twice a year. His IQ is in the gifted range and standardized test scores above the 97 percentile. He can respond appropriately in a conversation but cannot remember details of the conversation very long (less than an hour). He operates in a visual world which explains his academic record.

    Please suggest how these should be handled on a resume as he meets the qualifications for AA consideration and would need to disclose them for a physical exam and in an interview when asked about specifics. He has been very forthcoming on his mental health and learning disability issues but less so on his cancer; the cancer diagnosis is new compared to the other conditions. He appears "normal" when you meet him so many people in authority do not believe he is limited by his physical and mental health conditions.

    As you might guess, he is very sensitive on the subject but really needs a job. The ideal position would include the flexibility to work from home on occasion but the requirement to work at the office as well. Please help! If you know of a resource that includes sample resumes that would be especially appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,213

    Default Re: Disabled Individual Needs Resume Advice

    What sorts of jobs is he looking for?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    258

    Default Re: Disabled Individual Needs Resume Advice

    IT/software engineering. He is knowledgeable in a number of languages, digital systems design and embedded systems (microprocessor/robotics) programming. He knows database and networking basics. He also knows the usual office applications and is very capable in creating presentations and authoring articles on his areas of expertise.

    Although knowledgeable about topics generally coming into customer support call lines, his auditory processing issues and temperament are not suited to customer interaction. You want to put him in a corner where there are few distractions and leave him to do the assigned project in his own way and on his own schedule which might be 4 hours one day when he is not feeling well and then 30 hours without sleeping the next. He does best in intensive, short term projects (that can be completed in 4-6 week segments).

    One of our local universities offers certification courses which are an option once he obtains employment.

    A permanent part time position is also an option as long as he can earn enough to cover his living expenses and health insurance.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7,625

    Default Re: How to Apply for Jobs When You Have an Obvious Disability

    Not all jobs require a drug screen or health exam. That is set by the employer. In all my years of being an employee, including at the government where I had to pass a background check, I was never asked to do either one. Desk jobs are not high on the list of positions for which employers want to get such screenings, but some probably do ask for it. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) the employer cannot ask about disabilities during the initial hiring process, and if the employer wants health exams it must be a requirement for all applicants for the job — the employer cannot single out a particular applicant for that. Note that the ADA only applies to employers with at least 15 employees; some states however also have laws similar to the ADA that cover smaller firms.

    I would approach the job applications like most any other applicant. Submit a resumé that highlights his qualifications for the work he’s going for He need not disclose his disabilities before being offered the job, and in general I would suggest he not disclose them. Certainly I wouldn’t put that on the resumé. After he is hired, he can then approach the employer to ask for any reasonable accommodations he knows he will need to do the job (written summaries of meetings, for example, or whatever) and go from there. It is impossible to predict how any given employer will react to that. Ideally the employer will react as the drafters of the ADA intended and really work with the employee to find reasonable accommodations that are effective. But not all employers react that way.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    24,213

    Default Re: How to Apply for Jobs When You Have an Obvious Disability

    In addition to Tax's suggestions, given the number of limitations he's operating under I would suggest looking for smallish, newish companies, maybe start-ups or IPOs. They're less likely to have established policies and procedures set in stone and, at least in my experience, more likely to be flexible about hours and reporting. Obviously there are exceptions to that, in both directions, and no one can guarantee how any employee will react. But I've worked for both start ups and long established companies (my current employer is one of the oldest institutions in the US) and my experience has been that smaller, younger companies are more likely to be easy about working with you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    258

    Default Re: How to Apply for Jobs When You Have an Obvious Disability

    Thank you both for the suggestions. I am surprised that pre-employment physicals and drug screens are not the norm as I had these for my last positions also in IT for companies of 4,000 and 200 employees years ago.

    Unfortunately we are not located in an area where IPOs and startups are located. He is constrained to remain here because of his medical care and living arrangements. He could - and likely should - telecommute. Our state agency that assists the disabled with training and employment is not taking new clients at this time. I have found that there are benefits to a company for hiring the handicapped through this agency so will continue to pursue this option.

    Thanks again for your help.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,213

    Default Re: How to Apply for Jobs When You Have an Obvious Disability

    I'm 60 years old and have worked all my life. I've never once been asked to take a pre-employment physical and only once had to take a drug screen. For what that is worth.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    7,785

    Default Re: How to Apply for Jobs When You Have an Obvious Disability

    Only pre-employment physicals I've ever had to do were for law enforcement. Drug screens, drug screens everywhere though. Only one job hasn't had me do one.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    425

    Default Re: How to Apply for Jobs When You Have an Obvious Disability

    Has he checked out remote jobs? Many IT jobs can be done remotely, and can be done around his scheduled appts. https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/t...r-and-it-jobs/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    258

    Default Re: How to Apply for Jobs When You Have an Obvious Disability

    He is looking at that and also contacting the companies that have filed for guest workers.

    I suspect my former employers may have been using pre-employment physicals to screen out people who would increase the company paid health insurance costs.

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