You’re a college graduate. You’re well qualified for a job in your field. You have a disability that isn’t outwardly visible, but it likely could be a factor when you interview or take a test for a job. You’re scared you won’t be able to complete the interview process.
That isn’t the case. There are laws to protect you.
Federal laws, along with California’s Fair Employment and Housing, were put into place to prevent employers from discriminating based on disability. The laws mandate that employers of a certain size provide “reasonable accommodation” for people to do their jobs, but they also extend to the job interview phase.
In California, disabilities are considered to be physical or mental conditions that can limit “a major life activity.” They include diagnoses such as cancer.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an employer can’t refuse to consider or interview you for a job because you need a reasonable accommodation. You can request the accommodation verbally or in writing, or a third party, such as a doctor, also can ask the potential employer.
A “reasonable accommodation” during a job interview or test can include some of the following, and this is just a partial list:
- Making written materials available in formats such as audiotape, large print or Braille
- Providing interpreters for sign language
- Holding all interviews or giving tests in handicapped-accessible locations
- Modifying devices or equipment
- Modifying application procedures or policies
If you make such a request, don’t be alarmed if the potential employer has questions. They might just want to clarify exactly what you need, so you should answer those questions as soon as possible. Explain how such an accommodation will help you.
You have every right to pursue a job for which you are well qualified – and to ask for an accommodation either in the interview or once you get the position. If an employer refuses to do so, that isn’t right. An attorney with experience in disability discrimination can answer questions you might have.