Disclosing disabilities on the resume

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February 17, 2017

A few months back, I had a job seeker who approached me about my opinion regarding their legal responsibility for disclosing their physical disability in the resume?

My word of advice, there is absolutely no legal obligation for an applicant to disclose their disability in their resume. In many cases, job seekers with a disability may choose to ignore the disability specific questions or answer the question(s) as ‘Not Applicable’.

Although some individuals may choose to disclose, most individual’s with a disability fear this information as it may be seen in a negative or discriminatory manner by the employer and the job seeker may be shortlisted out of a potential opportunity. In many instances I don’t blame them as I have seen employer first-hand who have focused on the applicant’s disability, not on their job specific abilities.

If an applicant chooses to disclose their disability on resume, the disclosure should not be about the disability specifically that will lose an employer’s focus. Disclosure should only relate to the inherent requirements of the job and how work or ergonomic adjustments might overcome any perceived problems.  E.g. ‘I am excellent in the use of computers with the assistance of a specialized program called ‘Dragon Naturally Speaking’.

All applicants with or without a disability, are however responsible for researching and understanding the intrinsic requirements of the position to determine whether they are able to perform the duties in the position of employment. Applicants with a disability who require workplace or space adjustments to meet the requirements of the position may choose to disclose their disability when accepting a job interview, in the interview or when the position of employment has been offered.

Overall, every candidate as an equal opportunity and employers must keep this in mind when screening potential applicants regardless if an applicant decides to disclose their disability on a resume or not.

Information provided by HR Difference.

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