While you may also have some type of disability, this fact should not get between you and your goal of returning to the workforce. As with any job hunt, announce that you are looking for work and keep a lookout for opportunities. In today’s society, it can be much more easy to land a job with an employer who is both willing and able to accommodate you. Below are a few tips for any job seeker wishing to enter the workforce who has a physical or mental disability:
Networking Job Tips:
- Do Not Stay Quiet: start by writing down the name of everyone you know or can think about in the field in which you want to work and start reaching out to your contacts. If no one knows you are looking for work, it will be that much harder to land your dream job;
- Utilize Online Career Fairs: while disability does equate limitation, the reality is that people with disabilities face unique challenges compared to others when looking for employment. Online career fairs provide an even playing field for candidates to connect with potential employers as the disability need not be mentioned until the applicant feels ready to do so;
- Maximize Your Online Presence: LinkedIn, in addition to other professional social media platforms, allows job seekers with disabilities to showcase skills and work experience as well as technical knowledge;
- Focus on Flexible and/or Telecommuting Jobs: no matter what disability you may have, a flexible or telecommuting position will help keep you in the workforce (as well as help maintain and even grow your career) while successfully accommodating your particular needs; and
- Pursue Virtual Interviews: virtual interviews are more common in today’s global economy than ever before. Conducting an interview online via video conferencing can help you create a positive first impression and focus on your talents, work history, and contributions you bring – not your disability.
Know Your Rights
But remember that job seekers with disabilities are not just at the mercy of employers – the law also protects the rights of disabled individuals against employee disability discrimination.
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law in the 1980s by President George H.W. Bush, makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against a qualified applicant and/or employee based on his or her physical or mental disability. Beyond this, the law also requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to employees and applicants who need them because of a disability. The employer has a legal obligation to do so unless providing accommodations causes an undue hardship.
Likewise, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act) forbids discrimination of individuals on the basis of disability by programs run by federal agencies or that receive federal financial assistance, employment practices of federal contractors, and in federal employment. The test by which it is determined whether or not discrimination occurred is the same as the one used in the ADA – it prohibits employee disability discrimination.
Employee Disability Discrimination
No one should face employment discrimination, especially if the inequity is because of a disability. Do not let yourself be intimidated. Employers often have the financial means to hire powerful lawyers to represent them in employment-related legal issues. The knowledgeable legal professionals at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. can help if you or someone you know is facing employee disability discrimination. Call our New York office toll free at (347) 464-8694 today to schedule your initial, no obligation, case evaluation.