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 Disability Resources for New Workers

PAGE INDEX:

Activity
 
Employment Rights for Disabled
Myth Busters
 
Reasonable Accommodations?
Job Seeker Tip Sheet
 
 
Disability Friendly Employers Can an Employer Require Medical Exams?
Preparing for the Interview
 
Guide to Employment
Disability Related Objections from Employers
 
Employer Discrimination-What Can You Do?
Interview Questions-Good/Bad
 
Career Information
Interview Questions-What is up with these Questions?
 
Professional Associations
Disclosure-To Tell or not to Tell?
 
Job/Internship Links
What Students Need to Know
 
Frequently Asked Questions
How is a Disability Determined?
 
More Frequently Asked Questions
  What to do if You are Being Discriminated Against

Click here for Student  Disabilities Services Office


Activity-top

What your first thoughts when you see these words:
1.  Disabled
2.  Job Assignments
3.  Reasonable Accommodations
4.  Stress
5.  Discrimination
6.  Affirmative Action
7.  Dress Suit
8.  Illegal Interview Questions
9.  Compliance
10.Employee Support

Think about how these words relate to a job interview and how you must not let these words intimidate or confuse you.  Go in to the job search with a clear and open mindset.


Myth Busters For Hiring People with Disabilities-top


ACCOMMODATIONS ARE TOO EXPENSIVE!
Average cost is under $500
For every dollar spent on accommodation, a company gets back $29.
Providing adaptations costs less than training a replacement.
Employers are only required to make accommodations that are within their fiscal means.
Businesses may be eligible for tax deductions and incentives toward access expenditures.

INSURANCE COSTS WILL INCREASE!
Insurance rates are based on an organization's accident history, etc., not on whether employees have disabilities.
31% of employers surveyed reported "substantial savings" on insurance costs.

PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ARE NOT VERY PRODUCTIVE!
According to 4 studies done by DuPont over a 25 year period, employees with disabilities equaled or surpassed other workers in performance, attendance and safety.

HIRING A PERSON WITH A DISABILITY WILL OPEN ME UP TO LITIGATION!
The key phrase is "reasonable accommodation". This indicates that any change in the workplace or in the way things are usually done, to insure ensure equal employment opportunity and does not require undue hardship.
Since discrimination on the basis of disability is against the law, chances of finding yourself the target of litigious claims are greater than for companies who do not hire people with disabilities.

WORKERS WITH DISABILITIES ARE A GREATER SAFETY RISK TO THEMSELVES AND OTHERS.
Nearly half of employers surveyed agreed that workers with disabilities have
fewer accidents on the job than workers without disabilities.

WORKERS WITH DISABILITIES DON'T FIT IN WITH CO-WORKERS.
Almost all employers surveyed reject the argument that workers with disabilities don't fit in with most workers without disabilities.
Two-thirds of the public surveyed say most of their co-workers would have no problems working alongside individuals with disabilities.

WORKERS WITH DISABILITIES DO NOT WANT TO WORK.
Two/thirds of working-age Americans with disabilities surveyed are not employed; of those, two/thirds want to work.
More than three-fourths of department heads/line managers surveyed rate workers with disabilities as equally or more willing to work hard compared to workers without disabilities.

BRINGING MORE WORKERS WITH DISABILITIES INTO THE WORKFORCE WILL TAKE JOBS FROM PEOPLE WITHOUT DISABILITIES WHO NEED THEM.
People with disabilities need jobs too. Costs to be self-supporting exceed government allowances.
Only a small portion of the public surveyed think bringing more people with disabilities into the work force will threaten to take jobs from people without disabilities; conversely, more than three/fourths thinks it will be a boost to the nation by taking people off welfare and putting them to work.


Disability Job Seeker Tip Sheettop

What Job Seekers with Disabilities Need to Know
Whether you are entering the workforce for the first time, returning to the job market, or seeking advancement, the challenges of a job search are similar. Your goal is to find the position that best meets your needs. You must be qualified and able to sell yourself as the best applicant for the job(s) for which you apply. Here are some tips that can help you in meeting your job search goal.
Know Thyself
Have a strong sense of who you are. Know your assets and how to market them to employers.
Committed to Lifelong Change
Follow job trends. Take the initiative to maintain cutting edge skills that match changing employer requirements.
Be Computer Literate
Increasing your technical computer skills increases your marketability in the job market. Conduct online job searches. Visit employer Web pages and key job sites such as:
CareerPath: http://www.careerpath.com/
Monster Board: http://www.monster.com/
CareerMosaic: http://www.careermosaic.com/
Update Your Resume Often
Customize your resume to reflect the assets you bring to each job. Use key words that can be electronically scanned by potential employers to positions you want. Reflect continuous employment in your skill area. Summer employment should support your field of interest. Volunteer or obtain temporary jobs if you are unemployed. Select a resume format that minimizes any gaps in employment.
Be Your Best
Locating a job is a full time endeavor. Give full attention to all that you do. Errors will knock you out of the running.
Be Organized
Have a written personal plan for vertical and lateral growth opportunities. Know what you must do each day to move closer to your goal. Stay focused.
Expand Your Network
Maintain and continuously strive to broaden your network. If you are working, network inside the company. Join professional groups.
Research Job Trends and Companies
Select targets of opportunity that match your skill areas. Request and study annual reports of select companies. Reflect each company s image in all communications with each company s representatives. Make good use of library resources. Read trade journals and business publications.
Have a Positive Attitude
A pleasant personality is a necessary asset. Your eagerness to adapt and to be a team player is essential. Show that you are flexible. A sense of humor and positive attitude are pluses.
Disclose a Disability Only as Needed
The only reason to disclose a disability is if you require an accommodation for an interview or to perform the essential functions of a particular job. Your resume and cover letter should focus on the abilities you bring to the job, not on your disability.
Be Prepared to Conduct an Effective Interview
Look your best from head to toe. Dress conservatively. Be brief and to the point when answering interview questions. Maintain a demeanor of success and reflect the company image when you respond. Have full confidence in what you bring to the employer and show how your skills meet the company's specific hiring needs. Ask thoughtful questions about the job and the company. NEVER say anything negative. Follow up immediately with a thank you letter or e-mail transmission.
Remember
Push yourself to go the extra mile in your job search and you will find the opportunity you are seeking.


Identifying Disability-Friendly Employerstop


There are some ways in which you can easily identify those employers who positively encourage disabled people to apply for their jobs.  Although employers are bound by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) to treat you fairly, some have demonstrated that they are particularly positive about employing disabled people.

The points below may help you identify those employers.

The 'two ticks' disability symbol-Click
here to view symbol
Some employers make very clear their commitment to employing disabled people by placing the Jobcentre Plus 'two ticks' disability symbol on their job adverts.

This means the employer has made some commitment to employing disabled people. The symbol also means that you are guaranteed a job interview if you meet the minimum conditions for the job.

Equal opportunities policies
Many employers have equal opportunities policies. If so, then the employer will have a certain commitment to recruiting and employing without prejudice. You may feel more comfortable disclosing a disability if the company has declared that it will not discriminate against you on that basis.
An employer may include a statement in a job advert that positively encourages disabled people to apply and states that the employer is clear about their legal responsibilities under the DDA.

Job adverts and application forms
Look out for the following:
is the ‘two ticks’ symbol displayed on adverts and application forms?
has an employer advertised in a wide range of formats, for example, large print or audio tape?
where did you see the advert? Some employers deliberately place adverts in places where disabled people are more likely to see them, such as with a Disability Employment Adviser at a Jobcentre Plus office
are application forms available in different formats?
are arrangements in place that enable candidates to submit forms in the format best suited to them?
are you asked on the application form to say whether any special provisions are required at interview?
is there a section on the application form setting out very briefly their duty as an employer to make adjustments and asking you to comment on any adjustments you think you might need because of disability or a health condition?


Preparing for the Interview top

An interview is your opportunity to sell yourself. It is during this time that you can showcase your talents, abilities and knowledge. Be confident in yourself and in your ability to do the job you are applying for. The potential employer has selected you for an interview because there is something in your application or resume that he/she likes. It is now up to you to convince them that you are the best person for the job. If you have not already disclosed that you have a disability, you should do so before the interview. You want your meeting to be focused around you and your abilities, not the shock that the person before them uses a wheelchair, crutches, etc.

Things to do to Prepare for your Interview:
Find out as much as possible about the company and job you are applying for.
Practice answering potential questions with friends/family.
Decide what you are going to wear and ask the opinion of others.
Check the accessibility of the interview site (if possible)

Interview Day Tips
Get up early, to make sure that you have plenty of time for any unexpected complications.
Arrive early to the interview site in case you have to deal with any unpredicted barriers.
Take care of any personal needs before the interview.
Think about how you may handle any uncomfortable or awkward moments. Whatever may happen, it's only a big deal if you make it one!

During the Interview
Be confident.
Be enthusiastic.
Use professional /business language (no slang).
Remember that your body language and eye contact can mean as much as what you say.
Respond directly to the interview questions and stay on topic.
Ask any questions about the company and job that you had while preparing for the interview.
Be prepared to discuss why you consider yourself the best applicant for the job.

Addressing Your Disability
Acknowledge differences.
Emphasize your strengths.
Talk about how you have learned from the SCI. (Examples: overcoming difficulty, problem solving, talking to different sorts of people, and handling stressful situations).

An Employer Can Ask
How you will complete job tasks.
Relevant issues as to you knowledge, skills, and abilities that pertain to the job.
If you can do the job with or without accommodations.
Cost factors related to accommodations.

An Employer Cannot Ask
Disability specific questions.
Personal questions related to your disability.
About family members with disabilities.
Remember:
You do not have to answer any question that you are uncomfortable with.
No job is worth compromising your personal beliefs.

Dealing with Discrimination
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities. Hopefully, you will never have to deal with discrimination in an interview. But if you do, here are a few things to remember.
Handle the situation with a positive attitude.
Be an effective self-advocate.
Try to record or write down as much about the situation that you can. (Company name, address and phone number, interviewer's name, date, time, and the discriminating act)
Report the information to The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A charge may be filed in person or by mail. To be automatically connected to the nearest EEOC office, call 1-800- 669-4000 (TTY: 1-800-669-6820).


If at First You Don't Succeed
You may not get the job(s) that you apply for, but..
Keep plugging away and try not to get discouraged.
Try to get feedback from employers as to why you weren't selected for the position.

When the Offer Finally Comes, Should You Accept?
Evaluate all aspects of the job
Pay.
Benefits.
Hours.
Cost of Transportation.
Quality of Life.
Other prospects or job offers.
Effect on your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) income.
Ask yourself: "If I take this job, will I be better off than I am now?"

Reasonable Accommodations
Reasonable accommodations are supports you need to complete your essential job functions. They are provided for under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and are paid for by the employer. It is best to wait until the job is offered and/or accepted before requesting accommodations.
Remember:
It's your responsibility to request reasonable accommodations! An employer has no responsibility to offer an un-requested accommodation.

Accommodations may include:
Making the facilities used by employees structurally accessible to, and usable by, people with disabilities.
Restructuring jobs.
Modifying work schedules.
Reassigning a person with a disability to an equivalent job when one becomes available.
Buying or modifying equipment or devices so that they can be used by people with disabilities.
Providing appropriate adjustment or modification of exams, training materials or policies.
Providing readers for the blind or interpreters for the deaf.



Typical Disability-Related Objections from Employerstop

Dispelling Myths About Workers with Disabilities will give you a start on disarming employers using powerful statistics.

Suppose an interviewer says, " Our organization runs a tight ship. Every employee must work to 100% productivity." Translation: Workers with disabilities are less productive so I can't hire you.
Your response could be something like this: "I agree the success of an organization rests on the productivity of its employees. Did you know that more than three-fourths of line managers surveyed recently say workers with disabilities are equally or more productive than their co-workers?"
If you can truthfully say it, an alternative response would be: "I agree that the success of an organization rests on the productivity of its employees. That's why I was pleased when my last supervisor specifically mentioned my high level of productivity in my performance review."
Will my insurance rates go up if I hire you? This may be the number 1 concern of employers in today's market of skyrocketing premiums. Unless you are interviewing at a large organization with a policy of hiring people with disabilities (where the interviewer will know the facts), calm this fear before leaving the interview.
When discussing insurance and disabilities, remember: claims affect insurance, not disabilities. If you fear an employer will falsely assume you will have greater than average medical claims because of your disability, speak up. "I know rising medical insurance premiums is on everyone's mind today. I want you to know that my disability requires no greater medical care than any of my friends or co-workers who don't have disabilities."

How would you be able to get out of the building in case of an emergency--- such as a fire? The employer is not only worried about your safety here, but also worried about the organization's liability in case something were to happen to you. Make the employer comfortable on this issue. Explain the buddy system…3 employees who volunteer to assist you in exiting the building safely. The employer knows that in a fire, for example, the elevators will be off limits. If you work above ground level and use a wheelchair, describe exactly how your "buddies" would carry you down the stairs.

How will you get to work? If you sense it's an issue, answer it…in a positive way before it is asked. "Since I will be driving my van to work every day, if anyone ever needs a ride to outside meetings, I would be happy to drive them." With this statement, you've said you have transportation to and from work, you are mobile and independent should you need to leave the office during the workday, and you are a team player.
If you use public transportation, you might say: "I was happy to see that the bus stop is so convenient to the office. It's also nice that it runs so frequently and so late…I prefer not to take a cab when I work late." Here you've said that you've planned ahead and know the bus route and schedule, that sometimes you expect to work late, and that you will take a cab if you need to.

What if I hire you and you don't work out? Will I have a difficult time firing you? This may be in many interviewer minds, although few, if any, will speak it. Here is where you dispel the myth…cite a statistic, state a positive personal fact, and then briefly follow with a comment that if you don't perform to the employer's satisfaction, you would expect to be let go. "Nearly half of the department managers surveyed recently rate their workers with disabilities a being more punctual and having a better attendance record than co-workers. I've found that to be true in my case. As a matter of fact, I only missed 3 days of work in the two years I was at XYZ Company. I'm sure I would have no problem complying with your company's attendance policies, but if I failed to do so, I would expect to be released."

This position deals with highly sensitive information. If you are hired, your reader or interpreter will have access to confidential material. This objection may come up if you are seeking a position that deals with confidential information and you are blind and use a reader or deaf and use an interpreter. "I understand your concern for confidentiality since I rely on readers/interpreters to handle many of my business or personal matters. Just as you must check histories and rely on your judgment about hiring trustworthy employees to handle confidential information, I must select trustworthy readers/interpreters to handle any confidential information with which they assist me."

I know you've said you can do the job, but in light of your disability, I'm having a hard time understanding how you would do it. Would you mind showing me? While many employers will want to believe that you can perform on the job, they may find it difficult to envision how. Even though this question is legal, many interviewers who are thinking it will not ask it. You have an ideal opportunity to calm employer fears by using a 1-2-3 strategy. persuade by personal example, persuade by another person's example, persuade by an employer's experience.

Persuade by personal example: Demonstrate for employers what you can do. If practical, take devices, computer software, etc. with you to the interview to show the potential employer how you would perform the job.

Persuading by another person's example: After showing the interviewer how you would perform the job…or explaining the technique if taking the devices with you is impractical…offer the names and telephone numbers or two or three successfully employed individuals with similar disabilities whom the employer may contact for more information. Whether or not the employer ever makes the calls, you've scored points by demonstrating that other people with similar disabilities are productive workers.

Persuading by an employers experience: Give the interviewer the names and telephone numbers of two or three employers who employ people with similar disabilities. Your potential employers are more likely to ask other employers than to ask you the frank questions that will disarm their fears and many will more likely believe other employer's answers over yours.

Where do you find the "persuaders" for this strategy? They may be people you already know or they may be people to whom the Job Accommodation Network or another agency refers you. If you are operating from a referral, contact the persuaders, explain your goal, and get their permission to give their names and numbers to potential employers

I don't know anything about making accommodations for a disability such as yours. I wouldn't know where to start. I'm an expert at dealing with my disability and I am certain we will have no problem addressing an accommodation for this position. If we need help, the Job Accommodation Network, which operates a toll-free hotline, can probably have a solution within 24 hours. Many other service organizations also offer free advice and counseling…some even offer financial assistance. I am confident accommodation will not be a problem.
 


INTERVIEW QUESTIONS?  /GOOD OR BADtop

Potentially discriminatory questions may not be asked regardless of why they are asked or what the employer does with the answers.

Topic Questions:
a..Are you disabled? Do you have any back problems? Have you ever filed a workers comp claim?
b. Are you able to perform the essential functions of this job (show candidate job description) with or without reasonable accommodations?

..No

Examples of improper questions (disability):
Do you have any disabilities or medical conditions?/Do you have any handicaps?
What caused your handicap?/What is the prognosis of your handicap?
What is your medical history?/Have you ever had a serious illness?
How serious is your disability?
How does your condition affect your abilities?
Do you take any prescription drugs?
Do you take any drugs? (Because it does not distinguish between illegal and legal drug use, this question may cause applicants to disclose their lawful use of prescription drugs.)
Have you ever been in rehab?/Have you ever been addicted to drugs or been treated for drug addiction?
Have you ever been an alcoholic?/How much alcohol do you drink?/Do you have a drinking problem?
How many sick days did you take last year?
Do you have AIDS?
Have you been diagnosed with any mental illnesses?
Are you receiving any psychiatric treatment?
Have you ever received worker’s compensation or been on disability leave?
Have you had any recent or past illnesses or operations? If yes, list them and give dates when these occurred.
What was the date of your last physical exam?
How is your family’s health?
When did you lose your eyesight (or hearing, leg, etc.)? How?
Do you need an accommodation to perform the job? (This question can only be asked after a job offer has been made.)
Questions asking about an applicant’s legitimate use of sick leave are also improper. (This question is likely to elicit information about a disability.)
Have you ever taken a test that revealed hearing loss?
Do you use any assistive devices for a hearing impairment (such as a hearing aid) or have you in the past?
Do you have any hearing loss due to an on-the-job accident or injury?

Examples of proper questions (disability):
Can you perform the specific duties of the job?/Are you able to perform the essential functions of the job? (This question should come after the interviewer has thoroughly described the job.)
Can you demonstrate how you would perform the following job-related functions? (The applicant is given a common job-related task to perform.)
Questions about an applicant’s current use of illegal drugs are proper.
If an applicant voluntarily discloses that he or she has a disability, an employer may ask two follow-up questions: Whether he or she needs a reasonable accommodation, and if so, what type? The employer must keep any information an applicant discloses about his or her medical condition confidential.
After hiring, the employer may ask questions about medical history on insurance forms.
As part of the hiring process, after a job offer has been made, you may be required to undergo a medical exam. (Exam results must be strictly confidential, except medical/safety personnel may be informed if emergency medical treatment is required and supervisors may be informed about necessary job accommodations, based on exam results.)


INTERVIEW QUESTIONS?  What is up with these questions?top


Is it legal for a job interviewer to ask me if I have a disability?

No. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits questions about medical conditions; past hospitalizations; nature and severity of disabilities; and other related matters on job applications and in job interviews.

Unfortunately, some employers persist in asking questions that are prohibited under the ADA. This places job applicants in the uncomfortable position of deciding how to respond.

What type of question is an interviewer allowed to ask?

An employer may ask you whether you can perform the job-related functions, as long as they don’t phrase the questions in terms of the disability. For example, if driving a vehicle is a function of the job, the employer may ask if you have a driver’s license. However, they may not ask if you have a visual disability that would prevent you from driving.

Do I have to tell the truth about my disability?

It is recommended that you never lie on a job application or job interview. The employer could have a legitimate justification to fire you later on if it’s revealed that you lied. Some courts have ruled that lying on a job application or in an interview is a legitimate ground for firing an employee, even if there is evidence that the firing was also motivated by unlawful discrimination.

Can the interviewer ask about gaps in my employment history if those gaps were related to my disability?

Under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), potential employers cannot ask certain questions at a job interview that would result in the applicant revealing information about the existence or nature of a disability.

Questions about gaps in employment history are likely to lead to information about an applicant’s disability and are therefore arguably illegal. However, until the courts and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) clarify the issue, the law on this question is unsettled.

What should I do if an interviewer asks me unlawful questions about my disability?

There is no easy answer. If you are asked a question at a job interview that is not allowed under the ADA and you answer the question, you may be revealing information that the law allows you to keep private, at least at that stage of the job application process.

There are two basic issues for you to consider: (a) do you want to get the employer to change the illegal job application or interview process or (b) do you want to get the job? Accomplishing both objectives at the same time may be difficult.

If your main goal is to pursue the job, you may choose to refuse to answer a question in a nonconfrontational manner. For instance, you could state that you read about a law that prohibits questions of this type during job interviews. This lets you avoid answering the question without giving the employer the impression that you have a disability.

If your main goal is to get the employer to change the illegal interview process, then you can file a complaint with the EEOC or state or local human rights agencies, and ask them to take up the problem of the illegal question with the employer.

What should I do if I encounter an illegal question on a written job application?

You may leave the question blank or ask if you can take the application to fill it out at home. If you are permitted to take the application home, you can show the application to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), NYLPI, other advocacy organizations, or state or local human rights agencies, and ask them to take up the problem of the illegal question with the employer.

If you do this, you can also request that the agency to whom you show the application not reveal your identity to the employer. This may enable you to get the application changed while continuing to pursue the job.

What should I do if I refuse to answer illegal interview questions and then don’t get the position?

The employer has violated the law. You may want to consider filing an administrative complaint with the EEOC or a state or local human rights agency.

If I apply for a job and I am not hired, how do I know if the employer has violated the law and discriminated against me because of my disability?

There is no way to know for certain. This is especially true when an employer doesn’t directly state that you weren’t hired because of your disability or provides no reason at all for not hiring you.

Then, how can I prove that I wasn’t hired because of my disability?

(a) You must show that you are a person with a disability; you were qualified for the job; you were denied the job; and the job either remained open or was given to a person without a disability.

(b) The employer must offer a neutral or non-discriminatory reason for the decision not to hire you, such as the fact that you were not qualified for the job or were not as qualified as another applicant who was hired.

(c) If the employer can meet this burden, then you have to show that the neutral reason given by the employer is not the real reason for the employer’s decision not to hire you, and your disability was the true reason. Any information that you can obtain on these issues prior to filing a complaint will be helpful to your case.

What’s my chance of success if I file a complaint based on disability discrimination by an employer?

Even if you can prove that an employer asked an illegal question on a job application or at an interview, and you can prove that you were not hired as a result of your response to the illegal question, you will not necessarily win an administrative proceeding challenging the employer’s decision not to hire you.

To win an administrative complaint or lawsuit challenging a decision not to hire you, you will also have to prove that you were able to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation. You will need concrete evidence that the employer’s decision not to hire you was based, at least in part, on your disability.

Does an employer who asks an illegal job interview question violate the ADA even if they extend a job offer?

The employer may have violated the ADA even if you are offered the job or even if you decide that you do not want the job and withdraw your application before a hiring decision is made. In either of these situations, you may want to ask the EEOC, NYLPI or state or local human rights agencies to investigate and ask the employer to change the application or interview process so that the question is not asked of other applicants.

Does the ADA require employers to give preference to hiring people with disabilities?

No. While the ADA and state and local laws protect people from employment discrimination on the basis of disability, they do not require an employer to hire or promote the person with a disability over other people.

These laws prohibit an employer from refusing to hire or promote or from taking other adverse action against a person because of the person’s disability, if he or she can perform the essential functions of the job.

An employer can, under the ADA, choose a person without a disability with more experience over an individual with a disability even if the individual with the disability is qualified for the job.

An employer can choose a person without a disability over an individual with a disability, if the two individuals are equally qualified, as long as the choice was not made because of the individual’s disability.


Disability Disclosure-To Tell or Not to Telltop
by Sandy Lovejoy
Monster Contributing Writer

When you're seriously engaged in finding a job in this competitive market and you have a disability, you have some soul-searching to do. If you have a physical disability that will be obvious as soon as you meet someone, the question is: At what point in the job-seeking process do you address the disability? If your disability is outwardly invisible, the question is: Do you tell or not?

When Your Disability Is Obvious
If you are responding to a job opening, make sure you're confident you can handle the job as you understand it, given the information you have at the point of applying. Will the ability to drive, see well, communicate without an interpreter, lift objects or help others get around be required? If you don't foresee a problem or if you know how to handle it, go for it.

There may be jobs or positions you have held in the past that prove your ability. If you know previous employers will give you positive recommendations and perhaps even note that your disability either didn't hinder you or gave you an extra leg up, you may feel confident discussing such information and even including it in your cover letters. For example, maybe you were able to work with others with similar disabilities or find ways to do the job that were helpful to other employees as well.

Some employers may pass you by, but others may be excited by your creativity and ability. Certainly bring that up in the interview as part of your strategy for selling yourself. By all means, come to the interview prepared to discuss how your particular disability will be an asset to the job or at least not a major handicap.

When You Have a Hidden Disability
This is a trickier issue. For the most part, the common wisdom is not to disclose prior to receiving a job offer. Interviewers are not allowed to ask you direct questions about whether you have a disability. That doesn't mean you might not get asked indirectly. So be ready for any possibility.

When getting ready for the interview:
Be prepared to talk about your disability if you are somehow asked a direct question, or if you get a hunch during the interview that it will not negatively affect your candidacy.
Be prepared to handle questions about gaps in your work history if you have been out of work due to illness or psychiatric hospitalization.
Keep it simple and short. Don't dwell on the problems, but do acknowledge them. Talk about how you imagine you will handle the job and the disability. Highlight skills and experience you have that make the disability less relevant or problematic.
Find a few people you trust (if you can, include at least one person who has experience hiring) to listen to your prepared answers. Take their feedback seriously.
You may not need to use this material during the interview, but you will be more confident if you feel prepared to answer any potential question.

You have difficult decisions when your disability is one that carries a stigma, such as mental illness, a developmental disability, dyslexia, ADHD, communication disorders and other “mental” disorders, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C.
People uneducated about your disability may make assumptions or have unwarranted fears. Talk to others like you for ideas and support. Check Web sites for your particular disability if disclosure is an issue for you. Here are a few possibilities:

If you have a psychiatric disability, check out the Center for Mental Health Services. This is an excellent resource.
Here are some tips if you have a learning disability such as dyslexia or ADD.
Remember: You are a person with unique experiences and talents. Make sure this is firmly planted in your mind before you go to an interview, and find a way to showcase those talents at that important meeting.


What students need to know about their rights when undergoing a job search and when entering the workforce with a disabilitytop

Disabled persons face serious challenges in looking for work. Assistance programs are often complex and poorly coordinated, forcing individuals to piece together information and to develop work strategies on their own. Employers are often reluctant to hire the disabled, which can discourage them from looking for work. Young people with disabilities, especially those who are leaving school and preparing to work, face a particularly rough road.. 
-
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
makes it unlawful to discriminate in employment against a qualified individual with a disability. The ADA also outlaws discrimination against individuals with disabilities in State and local government services, public accommodations, transportation and telecommunications. This booklet explains the part of the ADA that prohibits job discrimination. This part of the law is enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and State and local civil rights enforcement agencies that work with the Commission.


HOW IS A DISABILITY DETERMINED?top

The manner in which disability benefits are determined is, in some regards, a complex process. And very often, depending on the extent to which a social security disability or ssi disability claimant decides to pursue a claim, it can be one that involves a number of different agencies and individuals working on a case.

All disability claims, of course, begin with a claimant's application at the social security office (generally, the one that is nearest to where they live). It is there that an applicant for benefits will speak to a CR, or claims representative. This individual is the contact person for an individual seeking to apply for ssd or ssi. A CR will take a person's disability application and then forward this application to a state agency that, in most states, is known as DDS (disability determination services) or the Bureau of disability determination. This is where a person's disability benefits are determined at the initial application level.

Case processing at this agency can vary widely. A claim can be decided in as little as a few weeks, or take as long as a half year or longer to be determined. Eventually, though, a decision will be made and an applicant will be notified of the decision.

Unfortunately, most of the time, the answer received is a turn down. However, claimants who have an experienced attorney working on their claim will often have been warned that such an outcome is likely, allowing them to mentally prepare for a denial letter.

A claimant who gets denied on an ssi or ssdi claim for benefits should, in almost every instance, consider filing an appeal. Appeals are generally the most advantageous route for a disability applicant to take. And, not surprisingly, the appeal route that offers the most advantage is the second appeal, the "request for hearing before an administrative law judge" (which can be filed after a denial on a reconsideration or review---the first appeal---has been received).

At the ALJ hearing level, a claimant's eligibility for benefits is determined by, of course, an ALJ, or administrative law judge. ALJ's hold hearings at which a disability claimant and their designated attorney are present. At a hearing, a claimant's medical records will be discussed and a claimant's attorney will present an argument as to why a claimant should be awarded benefits.

Following a hearing date, the disposition of a claimant's case will be determined by their judge. If the ALJ has determined that a claimant should be approved, a favorable decision letter will be sent. If, on the other hand, the ALJ has determined that a claimant should be denied, an unfavorable decision notice will be sent. This notice will state the basis for the denial and explain the claimant's appeal rights (appeals must always be filed within 60 days from the date of the denial).

How disability benefits are determined is no light matter and at all levels of case processing (the social security office, disability determination services, and the office of hearings and appeals), the handling of a disability claim is taken quite seriously. Despite that fact, though,
more claims are determined to be ineligible than vice-versa. And too often, this occurs because a claimant's case was not given due and proper consideration. For this reason, any disability claimant filing a claim, or the appeal of a denial, should make a concerted effort to stay on top of their case. How is this done? By staying in touch with the social security office or DDS, by getting a consultation with a qualified attorney, and by making sure that all required paperwork is filed in accordance with stated deadlines.


EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS FOR DISABLEDtop

An important legal right for people with disabilities is the right to live free from discrimination in employment. Discrimination may take several different forms. Some employers use pre-employment physicals to identify individuals with disabilities and to refuse their job applications. Some employers deny training, promotions and fringe benefits to employees with disabilities. Employees have been downgraded, discharged or harassed when an employer learns of the existence of a disability, or thinks that an employee is disabled.

All of these actions are prohibited by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), covering employers with fifteen or more employees. Under these laws, it is illegal to discriminate against mentally and physically disabled people. People with mental impairments such as depression are protected just as physically disabled people in wheelchairs are protected. These laws also protect people with a past record of a disability and those people who have no disability but are treated as if they did because of a mistaken belief on the employer's part.

Federal and state law prohibit employers from refusing to hire or promote disabled people and from discriminating against them in working conditions, wages or benefits. Employers are prohibited from asking any job applicants (not just disabled applicants) medical questions or from putting such questions on job applications. If you have an obvious physical or mental impairment or offer information that you have an impairment that could affect your ability to do the job you are applying for, the employer may ask you to explain or demonstrate how you would perform the essential functions of the job. After you accept an offer of employment, the employer may ask medical questions or require a physical exam, and may rescind an offer of employment if you would be unable to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodations. An employer must ask the same questions or require the same medical examination of all applicants for that job category.

For those already employed,
federal and state laws require employers to make changes to their workplace or company policies that will enable disabled employees to perform their job in a safe and efficient manner. If you have a physical or mental impairment and believe that a reasonable accommodation would allow you to perform your job better, you should immediately talk to your supervisor. Spend a few minutes before you approach your supervisor and think about which job duties are affected by your impairment, how your impairment is causing you to be limited, and then come up with a few suggestions for accommodation. Reasonable accommodation might mean asking for an ergonomic computer keyboard or wrist pads if you have a wrist problem, or asking to have the office furniture rearranged so you can maneuver your wheelchair around the office. It could also mean asking to have certain office policies relaxed or changed. For example, if you have a mental disability that causes you to get little sleep, you might need to be excused from an office policy that prohibits employees from arriving late to work.

Employers have a duty to workers who are off work because of a job-related injury that results in a compensable Workers Compensation claim. Once an injured worker tells an employer that the worker can return to work, the employer has a duty to reinstate the worker to the previous job or to offer other suitable work if the previous job has been eliminated for a legitimate reason. If the injured worker is unable to perform the previous work, but could perform a modified position, the employer has a duty to reemploy that worker.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a federal law, prohibits employers who receive financial assistance from the federal government from discriminating because of a physical or mental disability. You can get information about the enforcement procedures for this law from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by calling 800-669-4000.

The Rehabilitation Act also requires these employers to take affirmative action to hire persons with disabilities and to advance them in employment. The Office of Contract Compliance, an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor, enforces this law. The number is 503- 326-4112.

Persons with disabilities who cannot afford an attorney can also contact the Legal Aid Office in their area. Legal Aid provides some kinds of legal assistance free of charge to individuals within certain income limits. You can contact Legal Aid by calling its office at the number listed in your local telephone directory.

There are several other topics related to this topic that you may want to listen to in order to gather more information about disability law. If you want to learn more about Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, read the Tel-Law topic entitled ADA – Title I. If you want to learn more about Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which covers public programs and services, read the Tel-Law entitled ADA – Title II. If you want to learn more about what employers and businesses need to know about the disabled, read the Tel-Law topic entitled What employers and businesses need to know about people with disabilities.


What is Reasonable Accommodation?top

Reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that permits a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the job application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities. For example, reasonable accommodation may include:
providing or modifying equipment or devices
job restructuring
part-time or modified work schedules
reassignment to a vacant position
adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies
providing readers and interpreters
making the workplace readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities
An employer is required to provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified applicant or employee with a disability unless the employer can show that the accommodation would be an undue hardship -- that is, that it would require significant difficulty or expense.

Some Other Common Types of Reasonable Accommodations

Below are some common challenges and possible accommodations you might ask your employer to consider. If you decide to disclose your disability and ask your employer for an accommodation, it is a good idea to have already considered what type of accommodation you need to better perform your job. This list may help you think about possible solutions.

Challenge: Possible Accommodations:
Maintaining consistent attendance -Flexible leave to attend counseling
-Making up time missed
-Schedule a later start time
Dealing with change -Maintaining open lines of communication with supervisor
-Scheduling regular meetings with supervisor to discuss work-related issues
Interacting with others -Providing a mentor, a team leader or a buddy to facilitate social and work-related interactions
-Participating in team activities
Managing time -An electronic calendar marked with meetings and deadlines
-Use E-mail as a time management tool
-Daily or weekly performance goals
-A partner or a mentor to help with time management
Organizing information -Assistance in prioritizing tasks
-A written to-do list, which can be reviewed on a regular basis
-Dividing large assignments into smaller tasks
-A personal data assistant or other electronic organizer
Handling stress and emotions -Short breaks to walk around the block
-Praise and positive reinforcement
-Permission to call or instant message a support person
Maintaining concentration -A quiet location
-Space enclosures
-Wearing a headset or ear sets and listening to music or "white noise"

Conclusion

Transitioning to work can be a challenge for youth with mental health impairments. Nonetheless, understanding your disability, disclosure options, and rights under the ADA can help make the transition a successful one.

Resources and References

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a free consulting service from the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy providing individualized workplace accommodation solutions, as well as information on the ADA and services related to employment for people with disabilities.

1-800-526-7234 (V) 1-877-781-9403 (TTY)


Can an Employer Require Medical Examinations or Ask Questions About a Disability?top


If you are applying for a job, an employer cannot ask you if you are disabled or ask about the nature or severity of your disability. An employer can ask if you can perform the duties of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. An employer can also ask you to describe or to demonstrate how, with or without reasonable accommodation, you will perform the duties of the job.

An employer cannot require you to take a medical examination before you are offered a job. Following a job offer, an employer can condition the offer on your passing a required medical examination, but only if all entering employees for that job category have to take the examination. However, an employer cannot reject you because of information about your disability revealed by the medical examination, unless the reasons for rejection are job-related and necessary for the conduct of the employer's business. The employer cannot refuse to hire you because of your disability if you can perform the essential functions of the job with an accommodation.

Once you have been hired and started work, your employer cannot require that you take a medical examination or ask questions about your disability unless they are related to your job and necessary for the conduct of your employer's business. Your employer may conduct voluntary medical examinations that are part of an employee health program, and may provide medical information required by State workers' compensation laws to the agencies that administer such laws.

The results of all medical examinations must be kept confidential, and maintained in separate medical files.


Guide to Employment - Overviewtop


What You Need to Know
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the federal agency responsible for administering disability benefits. However, it also takes a leadership role in creating programs and supports for individuals with disabilities seeking employment. According to the SSA, “Congress intended the employment support provisions to provide you with the assistance you need to move further on the way from benefit dependency to independence. In other words, employment supports help you to enter, re-enter, or stay in the workforce by protecting your eligibility for cash payments and/or health care until you achieve this goal.”

The SSA assists you in your employment goal in two ways:
1.  By providing financial support (“employment supports”) while you are exploring and trying out employment opportunities (from the SSA: “Congress intended the employment support provisions to provide you with the assistance you need to move further on the way from benefit dependency to independence. In other words, employment supports help you to enter, re-enter, or stay in the workforce by protecting your eligibility for cash payments and/or health care until you achieve this goal.”)
2.  By providing local programs that offer assistance such as training or retraining, guidance on finding jobs, and navigation through the SSI and SSDI requirements regarding the impact of income on disability benefits.

Employment Supports/Work Incentives
It often comes as a surprise to people who receive disability income and still want to work, that they can continue receiving benefits while they test their ability to work.
Employment Supports/Work Incentives provide help over a significant period of time to allow you to test your ability to work, or to continue working, and gradually become self-supporting and independent. In general, you have at least 9 years to test your ability to work. This includes full cash payments during the first 12 months of work activity, a 36-month extended eligibility period, and a 5-year period in which you can start your cash benefits again without a new application. You may continue to have Medicare coverage during this time or even longer.

The employment supports/work incentives provided for both SSDI and SSI recipients are:
-Ticket to Work program
-Impairment-Related Work Expenses
-Subsidy and Special Conditions
-Unincurred Business Expenses (Self-Employed Only)
-Unsuccessful Work Attempt
-Continued Payment under a Vocational Rehabilitation or Similar Program, also known as Section 301
-Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS)
Click
here for more information on employment supports for both SSDI and SSI recipients

Employment supports/work incentives for SSDI recipients are:
-Trial Work Period
-Extended Period of Eligibility
-Continuation of Medicare Coverage
-Medicare for Individuals With Disability Who Work
Click
here for more information on employment supports for SSDI recipients

Employment supports/work incentives for SSI recipients are:
-Earned Income Exclusion
-Student Earned Income Exclusion
-Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS)
-Property Essential for Self-Support
-Special SSI Payments for Individuals Who Work – Section 1619(a)
-Medicaid While Working – Section 1619(b)
-Special Benefits for Individuals Eligible under Section 1619(a) or (b) Who Enter a Medical -Treatment Facility
-Reinstating Eligibility Without a New Application
Click
here for more information on employment supports for SSI recipients

Employment supports/work incentives are there to ensure that you are not penalized in terms of your disability benefits while you are making an effort to rejoin the workforce. To get more detailed information about the employment supports/work incentives available to you based on your particular circumstances, contact your local Work Incentive Planning Assistance (WIPA) office.

Connecting with Local Job Assistance: 3 Steps to Getting Help with Your Job Search
One of the biggest challenges of using the many programs that have been set up to assist you is simply understanding how to navigate the system, knowing where to start. Following is step-by-step guidance to help you through that process.

Step 1: Go through the packet of employment information the Social Security Administration sends you along with your first disability payments. This material will explain the SSA’s Work Incentive program, including what programs are available to help you get training, what the process for getting help is, how employment income will impact your disability payments, and who to contact for additional information. (Keep in mind that this information doesn’t mean you have to look for employment, it’s just sent to you in case you want to look for a job.)

One of the items in your packet will be something called a “Ticket to Work.” Part of the SSA’s Ticket to Work Program, this “ticket” should be given to the person you meet with when you visit your local Vocational Rehabilitation office or chosen Employment Network.

Step 2: Visit your local Work Incentive Planning Assistance (WIPA) office. This is the starting point for employment assistance, so you’ll want to call your local office and arrange a visit as soon as possible. (The Work Incentive Planning Assistance program is a federally funded program, but the SSA contracts with local organizations to implement the program.)

The WIPA staff will provide one-on-one benefits and work incentive planning services that entail information gathering and sharing regarding your unique circumstances and receipt of benefits. During this benefits session, the WIPA staff, or Community Work Incentive Coordinator will help you better understand your benefits and respond to any concerns you have regarding eligibility, continuation and unexpected termination of benefits.

When you go for your initial visit, you’ll want to take the following items with you:
-Any Social Security documents sent to you since your initial application
-Any paycheck stubs from employment over the past two years
-Names and social security numbers for everyone in your household receiving benefits.
-The WIPA organization can also help you with “benefits planning.” Basically, this helps you make informed decisions about your potential to earn wages, maintain your benefits, and access private and public services (such as job assistance). They’ll discuss points such as:

-How you can go back to work and still retain your benefits
-Limitations on earnings/employment, and exceptions
-Changes in the Medicaid system, and how to keep your Medicaid benefits
-The PASS PLAN opportunities to maintain essential services
-Deciding when to seek benefits, and when to seek employment income
-Work incentives
If you are the parent of a child with disabilities, you can also learn how your child’s benefits will change at the age of eighteen, how your income affects your 18-year-old’s benefits, whether or not your child’s income affects his or her benefits, and how your child can still keep his or her medical or cash benefits while working.
To find the job placement organization closest to you, click
here.

After your visit with the WIPA staff, they may recommend Vocational Rehabilitation or further employment-related services. If so, your next step will be to contact this provider.

Step 3: Contact and sign-up with the recommended employment assistance and training provider. With your Ticket to Work, Social Security included a list of organizations that will gladly help you with a job search. There are two categories of employment assistance organizations that can assist you. They are:

State Vocational Rehabilitation
This is a state-funded program whose goal is to help you develop new skills or improve pre-existing skills in order to increase your employability. It involves orientation, assessment, counseling, and skills training, among other activities, all geared toward helping you land jobs for which you’re qualified. This is one of the most important steps in your quest for employment, as the Voc Rehab team is totally focused on helping you as an individual develop the work skills that will help you succeed.


What can I do if I think my employer or supervisor is discriminating against me because of my disability?top


Individuals with disabilities are protected from discrimination in employment primarily by two federal laws.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (P.L. 101-336), enacted into law on July 26, 1990, prohibits private sector employers who employ 15 or more individuals and all State and local government employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in all aspects of employment.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-112), as amended, prohibits discrimination in employment in three areas.

Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits federal executive branch agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service and the Postal Rate Commission, from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities. It requires executive branch agencies to take affirmative action in the hiring, placing and advancing of individuals with disabilities.

Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act requires contractors who have a contract with the federal government for $10,000 or more, and their subcontractors who have subcontracts satisfying the same criteria, to take affirmative action to employ and to advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities.

Section 504 prohibits recipients of federal financial assistance from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in employment and in their programs and activities.

Section 188 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) forbids disability-based discrimination, in employment or in provision of services, by any organization or other entity that receives Federal financial assistance under WIA, and by any program or activity that is provided as part of the nation's One-Stop job training system by a One-Stop partner.

Veterans with disabilities are protected further by 38 U.S. Code 4212 of the Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA). VEVRAA requires that contractors or subcontractors who have a contract with the federal government for $25,000 or more take affirmative action to employ, advance in employment, and otherwise treat covered veterans without discrimination.

Individuals with disabilities also may be protected by their state anti-discrimination laws, some of which are more stringent than the federal laws. To learn more about rights under state laws, contact the State Human Rights Commission or its equivalent, or contact the State Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities.


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Applicants or Employees with Disabilities in the Private Sector

If a private sector employer employs 15 or more people, an individual with a disability who is employed by or applies for employment with that employer is protected by Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), enforced primarily by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

To file a complaint under ADA Title I, contact the nearest EEOC office or call (800) 669-4000 (VOICE) or (800) 800-3302 (TTY/TTY).

If EEOC dismisses the complaint or fails to take action within 180 days, EEOC will issue the individual a right to sue letter, upon the person's request. The individual must sue within 90 days of the date of the notice.

If a private sector employer has a contract with the federal government for $10,000 or more, or a subcontract for that amount with a Federal contractor, an individual with a disability who is employed by or applies for employment with that employer is protected by Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

To file a complaint under Section 503, send it to OFCCP at the nearest U.S. Department of Labor district or regional office. Complaints can also be sent to OFCCP, U.S. Department of Labor, Frances Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20210.

If a private sector employer is a recipient of federal financial assistance, an individual with a disability who is employed by or applies for employment with that employer is protected by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, enforced by the federal agency that provided the federal financial assistance.

To file a complaint under Section 504 with the Federal government, send it to the Office of Civil Rights at the agency that provided the funds, or to the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Coordination and Review Section, P.O. Box 66118, Washington, DC, 20035-6118.

Individuals do not have to exhaust administrative procedures under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. They may file suit in federal district court against a private employer receiving federal financial assistance, without filing a complaint with the administrative agency.

If a private sector employer receives Federal financial assistance under WIA, or is a One-Stop partner that provides programs or activities as part of the One-Stop system, an individual with a disability who is employed by or applies for employment with that employer is protected by WIA Section 188, enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Civil Rights Center (CRC).

To file a complaint with CRC, send it to Director, Civil Rights Center, Frances Perkins Building, Room N-4123, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C., 20210. The employer is also required to establish a process for dealing with discrimination complaints itself. If, after filing with the employer, an individual is not satisfied with the outcome of the case, he or she may file with CRC within 30 days of receiving a Notice of Final Action from the recipient.


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Applicants or Employees with Disabilities in State or Local Government Agencies

If a state or local government employer employs 15 or more people, an individual with a disability who is employed by or applies for employment with that employer is protected by Title I of the ADA, enforced by the EEOC. A state or local government, regardless of the number of employees it has, is also covered by Title II of the ADA, which is enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice.

To file a complaint under ADA Title I, contact the nearest EEOC office or call (800) 669-4000 (VOICE) or (800) 800-3302 (TTY/TTY).

To file a complaint under ADA Title II, send it to the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Coordination and Review Section, P.O. Box 66118, Washington, DC, 20035-6118.


If a state or local government employer receives federal financial assistance, an individual with a disability who is employed by or applies for employment with that employer is protected by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, enforced by the federal agency that provided the federal financial assistance. The enforcement of Section 504 is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Justice.

To file a complaint under Section 504 with the Federal government, send it to the agency that provided the funds, or to the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Coordination and Review Section, P.O. Box 66118, Washington, DC, 20035-6118.

Individuals do not have to exhaust administrative procedures under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. They may file suit against a public entity in federal district court, without filing a complaint with an administrative agency.

If a state or local government employer receives Federal financial assistance under WIA, or is a One-Stop partner that provides programs or activities as part of the One-Stop system, an individual with a disability who is employed by or applies for employment with that employer is protected by WIA Section 188, enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Civil Rights Center (CRC).

To file a complaint with CRC, send it to Director, Civil Rights Center, Frances Perkins Building, Room N-4123, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C., 20210. The employer is also required to establish a process for dealing with discrimination complaints itself. If, after filing with the employer, an individual is not satisfied with the outcome of the case, he or she may file with CRC within 30 days of receiving a Notice of Final Action from the recipient.


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Applicants or Employees with Disabilities in the Federal Government

If an employer is an executive branch of the federal government, an individual with a disability who is employed by or applies for employment with that employer is protected by Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

To file a complaint, the individual must first contact an equal employment opportunity counselor at the agency where the alleged discrimination took place.

There is a private right of action under Section 501. An individual can file a private lawsuit in a U.S. district court within 90 days of receipt of a final decision taken by the agency on the complaint; or 180 days after the date of filing a complaint if there has been no agency decision; or 90 days after receipt of a decision by EEOC on an appeal; or 180 days after the date of filing an appeal with EEOC if there has been no decision on the appeal.


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Applicants or Employees Who are Veterans

If a private sector employer has a contract or subcontract with the federal government for at least $25,000 annually, Vietnam era veterans, special disabled veterans, recently separated veterans and veterans who served on active duty during a waar or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized are covered by the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, 38 U.S.C. 4212.

The nondiscrimination and affirmative action provisions of VEVRAA are enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

To file a complaint, contact the Veteran's Employment and Training Service of the Department of Labor through the local veteran's employment representative or designee at the local state employment office.

A complaint also can be sent to OFCCP at the nearest U.S. Department of Labor district or regional office, or to OFCCP, U.S. Department of Labor, Frances Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20210.


CAREER INFORMATIONtop

The ADA: Your Employment Rights as an Individual With a Disability
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) makes it unlawful to discriminate in employment against a qualified individual with a disability. The ADA also outlaws discrimination against individuals with disabilities in State and local government services, public accommodations, transportation and telecommunications. This booklet explains the part of the ADA that prohibits job discrimination.

Career One Stops
Employers and jobseekers can find the services they need at a convenient One-Stop Career Center. Or find other service provider locations relevant to employment, training, and economic development. Choose a search type and enter a zip code to find local services near you. Or just pick up the phone and dial 1-877-US2-JOBS for direct assistance!

Department of Labor-All 50 States
The International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC) (http://www.iaiabc.org/) also maintains an excellent detailed list of workers' compensation agencies. The N.C. Industrial Commission's list of U.S. workers' compensation agencies is a separate document.

DisabilityInfo.gov
Employment rights and advice for individuals with disabilities provided by the federal government.

Employment Network Directory
Search offices by state and city.  Your "Ticket to Work"

The Riley Guide: Employment Resources for the Disabled
Employment resources for the disabled; includes a specific job / career area, and has links to many resources and services to assist disabled persons in their quest for employment.

Equal Opportunity Publications, Inc.
Link to “careers and the disabled”, the nation’s first and only career-guidance and recruitment magazine for people with disabilities.

Monster
Workers with disabilities: disability disclosure; to tell or not to tell.

Job Accommodation Network
Welcome to JAN, a free consulting service designed to increase the employability of people with disabilities by: 1) providing individualized worksite accommodations solutions, 2) providing technical assistance regarding the ADA and other disability related legislation, and 3) educating callers about self-employment options.

recruitABILITY
Has a commitment to provide an online, targeted recruiting site that effectively connects proactive employers with job seekers with disabilities.

Center for Mental Health Services
The Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) is the Federal agency within the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that leads national efforts to improve prevention and mental health treatment services for all Americans.

US Department of Labor Disability Resources
The Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) provides resources to help people with disabilities find employment.

More Resources (click on links below)
www.hirepotential.com
www.disaboom.com
http://www.cosdonline.org/
http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/news/aa060700a.htm?terms=finding+work%20disabled
http://career.ucsb.edu/students/diversity/disabilities.html
http://www.diversityworld.com/Disability/index.htm
http://www.naceweb.org/education/workshop/012308disability/default.htm
http://career.berkeley.edu/Disab/Disab.stm
http://www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/brochures/wrp1.html
http://www.jan.wvu.edu/media/RIGHTSASANIND.html
www.ahead.org
http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/ada18.html
http://www.diversityworld.com/Disability/jobseek.htm#Disclosure<http://www.diversityworld.com
/Disability/jobseek.htm
http://www.jan.wvu.edu/job/
http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/
http://www.jobaccess.org/ada_definition.htm
http://career.berkeley.edu/Disab/Talk.stm
http://www.nd.gov/dhs/services/disabilities/vr/
http://www.und.edu/dept/dss/How to Talk About Your Disability.htm
www.nbdc.com
The Work Site.


PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONStop


American Association of the Advancement of Science
Offers outstanding paid, 10 week internships through Entry Point to students with disabilities majoring in Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Computer Science and Economics.

Learning Disabilities Association of America for Parents
Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) is dedicated to identifying causes and promoting prevention of learning disabilities and to enhancing the quality of life for all individuals with learning disabilities and their families by encouraging effective identification and intervention, fostering research, and protecting their rights under the law.

National Business and Disability Council
A free service of the office of disability employment policy, U.S. Department of Labor.

World Association of Persons with Disabilities
World association of persons with disabilities (WAPD) advances the interests of persons with disabilities at national, state, local and home levels.

DisabledPerson.com
Their commitment is to provide an online, targeted recruiting site that effectively connects proactive employers with job seekers with disabilities

Office of Employment Services–Maryland
The information on this page is provided to ensure that people with disabilities and employers are aware of the services available through Maryland One-Stop Career Centers and other employment resource centers, both locally and nationally. The links are not intended to be inclusive.


JOB/INTERNSHIP LINKStop


Ability Jobs.com

Abilityjobs.com works to help jobseekers with disabilities find companies searching for them. Jobseekers can post their resumes and search for jobs for free. Companies can post openings and search resumes.

American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

America's Job Bank

Bender Consulting Services, Inc. (BCS)

Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities (COSD)

DisabledPerson.com
Their commitment is to provide an online, targeted recruiting site that effectively connects proactive employers with job seekers with disabilities.

DisaBoom Jobs-Search by states and location.

Disabled Hiring Programs
Use to research job options and to locate information on many agencies including direct links to agency recruitment web sites and telephone contact information.

Emerging Leaders
Internships for disabled students.

Entry Point!
This program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) offers students with disabilities outstanding Internship opportunities in science, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and some fields of business. Application and program information is available on the site.

Equal Opportunity Publications, Inc.
Link to careers and the disabled, the nation's first and only career-guidance and recruitment magazine for people with disabilities.

esight

Hiredeaf.com

hirepotential

HIRE.US

Hire Sign Language
Site specifically for hearing-impaired job-seekers to search (by location, industry, and keywords) through current jobs, store up to five different resumes, and register for a personal job-search agent.

Lift, Inc.
Since 1975, this national organization has been working with major corporations to recruit, train and place people who have physical disabilities in information management and information technology positions. They seek candidates who have both excellent analytical ability and a strong desire to establish, or resume, careers in information technology or information management, and they will train qualified candidates without experience. Qualified candidates should be capable of working full-time (the hours can be flexible), and able to commute to the work place at least once or twice a week. Aptitude must be demonstrated by successful performance on one or more tests, as well as evaluation through personal interviews.

Maryland Workforce Exchange
Workforce Exchange is a “virtual” one-stop network created to improve access to information about jobs, training and workforce support throughout Maryland. Workforce Exchange connects agencies, programs and services electronically to assist employers and individuals in making the right decisions for future success.

National Business & Disability Council
The NBDC is the leading national corporate resource on all issues related to the successful employment and integration of individuals with disabilities into America's workforce. They offer a nice job lead database and a free resume database open to all college graduates with disabilities. This database is then made available to their members.

National Business and Disability Council
Provides a free resume database service as well as job postings by companies wishing to integrate people with disabilities into the workforce.

National Rehabilitation Information Center
Welcome to the National Rehabilitation Information Center's online gateway to an abundance of disability- and rehabilitation-oriented information organized in a variety of formats designed to make it easy for users to find and use.

New Mobility's Interactive Café
The largest community on the web for disability news, resources and culture. " Check their Jobline for job listings or a place to post your resume.

Projecthired

Recruitability
Must register.

The ServiceSource Network

The Washington Center TWC Disability Services
Student development options-internships

US Department of Labor Office of Disability


Frequently Asked Questions and Answers top


Q. Is an employer required to provide reasonable accommodation when I apply for a job?

A. Yes. Applicants, as well as employees, are entitled to reasonable accommodation. For example, an employer may be required to provide a sign language interpreter during a job interview for an applicant who is deaf or hearing impaired, unless to do so would impose an undue hardship.

Q. Should I tell my employer that I have a disability?

A. If you think you will need a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions, you should inform the employer that an accommodation will be needed. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation only for the physical or mental limitations of a qualified individual with a disability of which they are aware. Generally, it is the responsibility of the employee to inform the employer that an accommodation is needed.

Q. Do I have to pay for a needed reasonable accommodation?

A. No. The ADA requires that the employer provide the accommodation unless to do so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business. If the cost of providing the needed accommodation would be an undue hardship, the employee must be given the choice of providing the accommodation or paying for the portion of the accommodation that causes the undue hardship.

Q. Can an employer lower my salary or pay me less than other employees doing the same job because I need a reasonable accommodation?

A. No. An employer cannot make up the cost of providing a reasonable accommodation by lowering your salary or paying you less than other employees in similar positions.

Q. Does an employer have to make non-work areas used by employees, such as cafeterias, lounges, or employer-provided transportation accessible to people with disabilities?

A. Yes. The requirement to provide reasonable accommodation covers all services, programs, and non-work facilities provided by the employer. If making an existing facility accessible would be an undue hardship, the employer must provide a comparable facility that will enable a person with a disability to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment similar to those enjoyed by other employees, unless to do so would be an undue hardship.

Q. If an employer has several qualified applicants for a job, is the employer required to select a qualified applicant with a disability over other applicants without a disability?

A. No. The ADA does not require that an employer hire an applicant with a disability over other applicants because the person has a disability. The ADA only prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. It makes it unlawful to refuse to hire a qualified applicant with a disability because he is disabled or because a reasonable accommodation is required to make it possible for this person to perform essential job functions.

Q. Can an employer refuse to hire me because he believes that it would be unsafe, because of my disability, for me to work with certain machinery required to perform the essential functions of the job?

A. The ADA permits an employer to refuse to hire an individual if she poses a direct threat to the health or safety of herself or others. A direct threat means a significant risk of substantial harm. The determination that there is a direct threat must be based on objective, factual evidence regarding an individual's present ability to perform essential functions of a job. An employer cannot refuse to hire you because of a slightly increased risk or because of fears that there might be a significant risk sometime in the future. The employer must also consider whether a risk can be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level with a reasonable accommodation.

Q. Can an employer offer a health insurance policy that excludes coverage for pre-existing conditions?

A. Yes. The ADA does not affect pre-existing condition clauses contained in health insurance policies even though such clauses may adversely affect employees with disabilities more than other employees.

Q. If the health insurance offered by my employer does not cover all of the medical expenses related to my disability, does the company have to obtain additional coverage for me?

A. No. The ADA only requires that an employer provide employees with disabilities equal access to whatever health insurance coverage is offered to other employees.

Q. I think I was discriminated against because my wife is disabled. Can I file a charge with the EEOC?

A. Yes. The ADA makes it unlawful to discriminate against an individual, whether disabled or not, because of a relationship or association with an individual with a known disability.

Q. Are people with AIDS covered by the ADA?

A. Yes. The legislative history indicates that Congress intended the ADA to protect persons with AIDS and HIV disease from discrimination.


More Frequently asked questionstop
 

General
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What is the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)?

*
How many people with disabilities are there in the United States?

*
How many people with disabilities are working?

How does the federal government define "disability"?

What is National Disability Employment Awareness Month?

Does the Office of Disability Employment Policy have "disability awareness" materials that can be used for NDEAM events, or for other trainings and workshops for employers and other organizations?

Where can I find more information on specific disabilities or medical conditions?

Can organizations apply for grants from the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)?

Does the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) give grants to individuals with disabilities?

How do the Department's equal treatment regulations apply to faith-based and community organizations that manage policy demonstration projects funded by ODEP?

How does the new Medicare prescription drug benefit apply to persons with disabilities?

Workers/Job Seekers with Disabilities
*
Can DOL's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) help people with disabilities find jobs?

*I'm a person with a disability and I would like to work for the federal government. How do I get a job with the government?

*I am a person with a disability. Where can I get information and financial assistance to start my own business?

What can I do if I think my employer or supervisor is discriminating against me because of my disability?

I have recently become disabled and cannot do the work I had been doing in the past. Where can I get financial assistance for training or retraining?

*Is there anything that my employer must provide to help me do my job and accommodate my disability?


*
Are there any specific financial assistance or scholarships available for individuals with disabilities who want to go to college?

What can I do if I am having difficulty with disability payments from my insurance company?

How do I file a worker's compensation claim or check on the status of my claim?

Employers:
We're new to the disability arena. Where do we start?

*Where can I access employers who have had successful experiences hiring people with disabilities?

*
What can we do to enhance our services to customers with disabilities?
 
What are my obligations as an employer under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act and where can I get technical assistance?

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Where can I get information about making workplace accommodations?

*
Where can employers find qualified applicants with disabilities?

How do I know whether I am complying with the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act?



What Do I Do If I Think That I'm Being Discriminated Against?
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If you think you have been discriminated against in employment on the basis of disability after July 26, 1992, you should contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A charge of discrimination generally must be filed within 180 days of the alleged discrimination. You may have up to 300 days to file a charge if there is a State or local law that provides relief for discrimination on the basis of disability. However, to protect your rights, it is best to contact EEOC promptly if discrimination is suspected.

You may file a charge of discrimination on the basis of disability by contacting any EEOC field office, located in cities throughout the United States. If you have been discriminated against, you are entitled to a remedy that will place you in the position you would have been in if the discrimination had never occurred. You may be entitled to hiring, promotion, reinstatement, back pay, or reasonable accommodation, including reassignment. You may also be entitled to attorneys fees.

While the EEOC can only process ADA charges based on actions occurring on or after July 26, 1992, you may already be protected by State or local laws or by other current federal laws. EEOC field offices can refer you to the agencies that enforce those laws.

To contact the EEOC, look in your telephone directory under "U.S. Government."
For information and instructions on reaching your local office, call:

(800) 669-4000 (Voice)
(800) 669-6820 (TDD)
(In the Washington, D.C. 202 Area Code, call 202-663-4900 (voice) or 202-663-4494 (TDD).)

 

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