Why Employment and Disability Are No Longer Like Fire and Water

Why Employment and Disability Are No Longer Like Fire and Water

Disability and employment are two words that have not historically fit so well together.  Yet, more and more people with a disability are finding meaningful employment in part because of beneficial laws and more public exposure and information about disabilities. Here are some facts you should know if you are looking for disability employment opportunities.

Disabled job seekers are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.  This federal civil rights law was designed to protect disabled individuals from discrimination, and enable them to participate in all aspects of society. This law makes disability and employment aspects of life that can exist simultaneously.

Your Rights

As a disabled job seeker, you should be aware of certain rights you have. One of these rights is protection from discrimination while searching for a job. This includes protection against discrimination during all hiring procedures, pay rates, training, and promotions.  You are also protected from being harassed for asserting your rights under the ADA. Another right that makes disability and employment more attainable is your right to request reasonable accommodations. Reasonable accommodations include:

  • Making facilities physically accessible
  • Interpreters for those who are deaf or blind
  • Modified work schedules

You also have rights during the application process.  The ADA makes it illegal for employers to ask disability-related questions on an application.  However, you will need to disclose your disability to the prospective employer at some point during the application process for your own benefit. Certain questions are illegal for employers to ask during an interview:

  • If you have a disability
  • Any questions about medications you are taking
  • Whether you’ve ever undergone a psychiatric evaluation

Finding a Job

Employment and disability is only a theory until you actually land a job. Many disabled individuals need job training and/or career counseling.  The United States Department of Labor provides a list of employment and training resources for disabled individuals.  One-Stop Career Centers are another resource available nationwide that provide assistance with resume preparation, job training, and job searches. 

Combining a disability and employment is much easier if you know what type of employment you are looking for.  Ask yourself if you have the necessary skills required for that position.  Visit Career Quiz to take a free career assessment quiz. After receiving your results, visit the following websites to further assist you in your job search:

Being an informed job seeker is the most important aspect for any person, disabled or not.  Once you know your rights and what services are available to you, employment regardless of your disability can become a reality for you.