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Revealing Medical Conditions to Potential Employers: What You Should Know

Interviewing for a job can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you are concerned about health issues that could interfere with your ability to be hired. Though employees are discouraged from letting health issues or disabilities affect their hiring decisions when they do not affect a person’s ability to do a job, proving this to be the case can be tough. Knowing your health could play a role in whether or not you are hired might leave you wondering if, when, and how to disclose your health information.

What do you need to know about health and how it affects the hiring process?

Understand What a Potential Employer Cannot Ask You during the Interview Process

Potential employers are not permitted to ask any questions about medical issues prior to making you a job offer. You can also not be required to take a physical exam before an offer is extended. If you were asked a question such as “Is there a medical condition that would prevent you from doing this job?” during an initial interview, the employer has overstepped his or her boundaries. Employers are also not permitted to ask about your medications.

Understand What a Potential Employer Can Ask You during the Interview Process

There are a number of questions employers are permitted to ask during the interview process and some of them might indirectly relate to health. For instance, employers are permitted to ask if an applicant is able to perform the job in general before making a job offer. These questions must be general and not related to a specific condition, permanent or temporary. Likewise, if you were to show up for an interview with a temporary injury, the employer can ask general questions about the injury, but cannot ask about treatment, the extent of the injury, or the time expected for the injury to heal.

When You Should Share Information about Your Health

If an employer extends an offer for hire, they are permitted to make this offer conditional. For instance, you might need to pass a drug test before the offer is official. It is at this point that an employer is permitted to ask an applicant if he or she needs any special accommodations to perform the job.

If you have been holding back and not sharing information about your health with a potential employer, now is the time for full disclosure. In many instances, employers are required by law to accommodate your request, unless they are able to show undue hardship. If it is beyond their ability to accommodate your request, they can withdraw their offer.

Keep in mind, potential employers cannot use references to gather information. They can only ask references questions they are permitted to ask you. For instance, a potential employer cannot call your former employer and ask how much time you took off because of your medical condition or whether your medical condition “caused problems” in the workplace. You might not ever know these questions were asked, but if you were to find out this was an issue, you would have the right to take action.

Managing a career when you are faced with medical issues can be tough, but it is possible. There are laws designed to make it easier for you to achieve your career goals, even if you are challenged by a disability. If you believe a potential employer has broken any of these laws, you have the right to take action. Contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. to schedule a free consultation to review the details of your case and determine if you have been the victim of discrimination.

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