Have a general question about employment law? Want to share a story? I welcome all comments and questions. I can't give legal advice here about specific situations but will be glad to discuss general issues and try to point you in the right direction. If you need legal advice, contact an employment lawyer in your state. Remember, anything you post here will be seen publicly, and I will comment publicly on it. It will not be confidential. Govern yourself accordingly. If you want to communicate with me confidentially as Donna Ballman, Florida lawyer rather than as Donna Ballman, blogger, my firm's website is here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Do I Have To Disclose My Medical Condition To A Potential Employer?

An AOL Jobs reader asked me:
Your columns are extremely educational and full of information. Thank you from an appreciative reader. I may have missed this, but when applying for a job, is it necessary to disclose any medical conditions? I am a Diabetic Type 1, and use a pump, which could bulge through my clothes, though I take care to avoid that.

I was hired by a high-end jewelry store one month ago, and after working for 10 days, was told by HR, that I was "not a good fit." No other explanation. Needless to say, I was devastated. I am a University graduate with a B.A. and have always worked diligently. Does this business have a right to dismiss me?
This question addresses an important issue about disabilities. In general, you should not disclose any disabilities when applying for a job. The potential employer is not supposed to ask about any disability until it makes what is called a "conditional" job offer. For details on how the Americans With Disabilities Act works and who is covered, read my article 15 Things You Need To Know About Disability Discrimination.

I answer my reader's question and explain how a conditional job offer works and what questions a potential employer can ask in interviews in my latest AOL Jobs column.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this!

    I have a few questions:

    When I accepted a conditional offer, I disclosed on the EOO Voluntary Disclosure Form that I am disabled. The corporate recruiter, who was with me while I filled out the paperwork, told me not to check the box unless I needed accommodations and proceeded to give me examples such as refilling oxygen tanks or administering insulin.

    I explained that I have an invisible disability and, from how the job was presented, the accommodations that I would need were already met due to the nature of the job.

    She proceeded to securely destroy the form and provided another, telling me to not check off the box because "it will just create more paperwork."

    Today I accepted a firm offer of employment. Should I officially disclose accommodations that I need even if the job already meets the requirements? What should I do if they refuse to acknowledge my disability again?


I appreciate your comments and general questions but this isn't the place to ask confidential legal questions. If you need an employee-side employment lawyer, try http://exchange.nela.org/findalawyer to locate one in your state.