September is Disability Employment Month in BC
September is a time to celebrate and recognize inclusive employers and the important contribution people with disabilities make in the workplace.
If you have a disability and are seeking employment, you may be torn on whether to disclose your disability to the prospective employer.
Firstly, you have no obligation to disclose your disability, but consider your strengths and barriers and apply for a position in which you will be successful. For example, if you have issues with your back you probably don’t want to apply for a position loading trucks.
Secondly, ensure you can do the job safely. Employers may have bona fide occupational requirements (BFOR) for certain positions. For example in order to perform their jobs safely, persons employed as drivers require acceptable vision and an appropriate driver’s licence.
The more you can get to know the employer and what they are looking for can help you find and market yourself to the prospective employer. How can you learn more about employers? Some ideas could be to attend our Beyond the Postings workshop to learn more about informational interviewing, look at prospective employer website and facebook pages to learn more about their culture, or check out employers listed on Canada’s Best Diversity Employers https://www.canadastop100.com/diversity/. As well, we are here to assist you and have a team of staff ready to discuss and brainstorm your strengths and job search strategies to help you find the right employer.
So you’ve found the perfect job and have an interview! Employers legally cannot ask if you have a disability in an interview. An employer can ask if you are able to meet the requirements the job – for example are you able to lift 30 lbs? You may want to disclose you have a disability if you require accommodations for your interview (such as an accessible entrance and hallways). However, you are not legally required to disclose your disability if you do not need accommodations. The publication, Disclosing Your Disability – A Legal Guide for People with Disabilities in BC, produced by the Disability Alliance of BC, has great information on disclosing your disability and accommodations, including a table on the advantages and disadvantages of disclosure at various stages of your job search.
At the end of the day statistics show hiring people with disabilities benefits an employer. Presidents Group – a network of change-driven BC business leaders who are champions for more accessible, inclusive workplaces list the following benefits for hiring persons with disabilities on their website:
- Improved Productivity – Research shows that diverse and inclusive workplaces are:
- 2x more likely to meet or exceed financial targets
- 6x more likely to be innovative
- 6x more likely to effectively anticipate change
- People with Disabilities Make Great Employees – Among employees with disabilities:
- Staff retention was 72% higher
- 86% had average or better attendance
- 90% performed equal or better than their coworkers without disabilities
- Expanded Consumer Reach
- The spending power of people with disabilities is over $55 billion dollars
- 90% of consumers prefer to engage with companies that hire people with disabilities
Basically, hiring people with disabilities is a good business practice.