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Americans with Disabilities Act
Reasonable Accommodation
Flexible Interactive Process
Disclosing a Disability
Creative Job Hunting
Employer Fears
Americans with Disabilities Act
• Makes it illegal for employers with 15 or more
employees to discriminate against qualified
individuals who have a disability
• Gives you the right to “reasonable accommodation,”
such as interpreters for people who are deaf, readers
for people who are blind, modification of a work
station, or provision of paid travel assistants for
essential travel
The ADA does not…
• Guarantee you a job
• Give you a competitive edge
• Guarantee that you won’t be discriminated
• Make the job search easy
Americans with Disabilities Act
• Application Tests – Must be given in a
manner that does not require use of your
impaired skill, unless the test is designed to
measure that skill as an essential component
of the job
Inquiries About Your Disability
• According to the ADA, it is not legal for
employers to inquire about disabilities
unless the applicant has disclosed this
• Contact: Southwest ADA Center
800-949-4232 or 713-520-0232 v/tty
Medical Tests
• Can only be required after an offer of
employment, and must be required of everyone
• If a medical examination reveals a disability, the
employer can only withdraw the job offer if it can
be shown that you are unable to perform the
essential functions of the job with or without
reasonable accommodation, or that you pose a
significant risk of causing substantial harm to
yourself or others.
Qualified Individual
• Meets legitimate skill, experience, education
and other job requirements
• Can do the essential job functions with or
without reasonable accommodation
Essential Job Functions
• Primary responsibilities or duties the
employee must be able to perform
• How are they determined?
– Is it a primary responsibility on the job
– Does the position exist to perform the function?
– Are other employees available to perform the
“Reasonable” Accommodation
• One that meets your needs
• Requires negotiation between you and the
• “Undue hardship” – Too expensive/difficult
• Employers have the right to request medical
documentation of your disability and the need
for the accommodation
• Only responsible for “known” disability
“Reasonable” Accommodation
• Once an accommodation has been requested,
employers have the responsibility to:
– Acknowledge the request and act on it
– Identify an appropriate accommodation that
meets the ADA criteria for a reasonable
– Pay for the accommodation
Flexible Interactive Process
• Request a meeting (orally or in writing)
• Discuss disability, limitations, reasonable
accommodation options
– Take notes
– Write a follow-up letter
Disclosing a Disability
Focus on your skills and abilities
Describe how you will do the job
Be positive
Avoid using heavy medical terminology
Script and rehearse your disclosure
Don’t go into excessive detail
Know what accommodations you will need
to perform the essential functions of the job
When to Disclose a Disability
• Resumes, Cover Letters, and Applications
– Only when the employer will see the disability as a
– If you want to let the employer decide if it is an issue
• Before the Interview
– Only when an accommodation is needed for the interview
– To eliminate surprise
• Interview (When visible disability exists)
– Even if employer does not bring it up, educate and put
them at ease with your comfort dealing openly with the
issue, focus on abilities, eliminate distraction
When to Disclose a Disability
• Interview (Pre-Offer)
– If an essential component is impacted by your disability
and you are unsure if an accommodation can be made
– If you have an invisible disability that may require
accommodation during the interview
• Interview (Post-Offer)
– If you have a disability which affects a job-related
– To eliminate surprises when you begin work
– If you are prone to seizures or have some other health
condition that might require medical assistance
The Truth About Job Hunting
• “Traditional” job searches can work against
– People who don’t look good on paper
– People who don’t interview well
– People who don’t have the required education or
years of experience
– People who have employment gaps
Creative Job-Hunting
• Uncover the “hidden” job market
– Get leads from people you already know
– Contact employers directly
– Utilize employment services and job fairs
• Spend additional time per week job seeking
• Actively go out and look for openings
• Market yourself through employment web
sites and/or social media
Increase Your Odds of Success:
Know your skills
Know what kind of work you want to do
Talk to the people who are doing it
Find out how they like the work and how they
found their job
Do some research on organizations that interest you
Identify the person who actually has the power to
hire you
Use your contacts to get in to see them, then
impress them
Don’t worry about “openings”
Employer Fears
• I don’t exactly understand what this person’s disability is,
and I’m afraid to ask.
• Will this person be absent frequently?
• Will this person be able to do the job?
• What if this person has a medical emergency on the job?
• Will my insurance go up if I hire this person?
• How much will accommodations cost me?
• What if this person doesn’t work out, I’ll be accused of
firing them because of their disability?
Resources: Job Accommodation
Network (JAN)
• Searchable Online Accommodation Resource
• Free telephone counseling service-- within 24 hours
they will call you back or e-mail you
• Will assist with applications, pre-employment
testing, and other employment-related services
Additional Resources
(University Career Services):
• Handouts:
Resume Writing
Job Search
Information Interviewing and Networking
• Workshops:
– Resume Writing
– Interviewing
– Job Search and Networking
• Website:
– Campus Recruitment
– JOBank and JOBank Archives
• Career Counseling
– Resume Critique
– Mock Interview
– Job Search/Networking Assistance
Additional Resources
• Resume Databases
– NBDC National Resume Database for People with
– Department of Assistive & Rehabilitative Services
– Texas Workforce Commission
– Equal Opportunity Publications Online Resume Database
Contacts at the University of
Houston Main Campus
Center for Students with DisABILITIES (CSD)
Cheryl Amoruso/Director
Justin Dart, Jr. Center for Students with DisABILITIES
CSD Building, Room 100, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-3022
Phone: 713-743-5400; Fax: 713-743-5396
E-mail: [email protected] Website:
University Career Services (UCS)
Helen Godfrey/Associate Director
106 Student Service Center 1, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-3022
Phone: 713-743-5100; 713-743-5111
Email: [email protected] or [email protected] ; Website:
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