Students With Disabilities

Finding a career can be a daunting task. Our office is here to help with your search. As a student with a disability, you may have a few questions about your search. Here are some helpful resources to make sure you know about pertinent laws and your rights, as well as tips on disclosure, accommodations and navigating your career.  There are also many professional associations that may be useful to consider joining as you begin your job search.

What are my rights as an individual with a disability?

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) makes the American society more accessible to people with disabilities and protects qualified individuals from employment discrimination. In order to qualify for ADA protection, one must be able to meet the needs of the employer’s job description including skills, education, and experience and be able to perform the job duties with or without reasonable accommodations:

Learn more about your rights protected through the ADA

Disability Rights Laws: This website includes the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other laws and rights you have such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Fair Housing Act and more. You can also learn more about reasonable accommodations, services animals and general FAQ’s.

When and how do I disclose to a potential employer?

Disclosure is sharing information with an employer; for the purpose of receiving accommodations.  When and how is a personal decision that you get to make.  It is not legally required for you to disclose a disability to an employer; however, refraining from doing so will prevent you from receiving any accommodations.

Time of Disclosure   Pros Cons Notes
On resume, cover letter, and/or employment application Peace of mind for you – you’ve been up front with the employer. Draws attention to your disability rather than your skills. May disqualify you from the job before you have an opportunity to present your skills/abilities. Generally, disclosure on your resume, cover letter, or employment application isn’t recommended. However, some companies have employment programs specifically for applicants with disabilities; you will likely need to disclose your disability during the application process to be considered for these programs.
When employer contacts you for an interview Peace of mind for you – you’ve been up front with the employer. For visible disabilities, reduces potential “shock factor” when you arrive for the interview. May distract the interviewer from your skills and ability to do the job, so you may not be seriously considered for the position. Disclosure at this stage may be necessary if accommodations are needed during the interview process. For example, if you use a wheelchair, you will want to make sure the interview site is accessible. Also, if you need to utilize a sign language interpreter, you’ll need to plan for this ahead of time with the employer.*
During the interview Peace of mind for you – you’ve been up front with the employer. May enable you to present your disability in a positive and personal manner. May distract the interviewer from your skills and ability to do the job, so you may not be seriously considered for the position. Could make the interview more nerve-wracking for you.
After the interview, before the offer Peace of mind for you – you’ve been up front with the employer. You and the employer were able to focus on your skills and abilities during the interview. Employer may feel you should have been up front about your disability earlier in the hiring process – you can address this concern by indicating you needed to learn more about the essential functions of the job prior to disclosing. You may not be seriously considered for the position.
After the offer, before you accept If offer is rescinded, you may have legal recourse. Employer may feel you should have been up front about your disability earlier in the hiring process – you can address this concern by indicating you needed to learn more about the essential functions of the job prior to disclosing. This is often the best time to disclose.
After your start the job Gives you an opportunity to prove you’re capable of doing the job. If disclosure impacts your employment status, you may have legal recourse. Disclosure often becomes more difficult the longer you wait. Your job performance may suffer without appropriate accommodations. Employer may accuse you of falsifying your qualifications. You may not have legal recourse against unfavorable changes in your employment status. Changes in your job responsibilities after you start a position may result in you needing to request accommodations.
After a problem on the job You’ve had a chance to prove your capabilities related to the job. Relationship with employer and co-workers could be damaged. Employer may accuse you of falsifying your qualifications. You may not have legal recourse against unfavorable changes in your employment status. It is highly recommended that you disclose prior to problems occurring on the job.
Never Your disability doesn’t become a factor in hiring decisions. Employer doesn’t need to know about your disability as long as it doesn’t impact your ability to do the job. If disability is discovered, employer may accuse you of falsifying your qualifications. You may not have legal recourse against unfavorable changes in your employment status.

 

Thoughts for consideration:

  • Weigh the pros and cons of disclosing a disability to an employer or potential employer.
  • Consider the requirements for navigating the hiring process and completing the required work of the position and assess the necessity of accommodations.
  • Think about what accommodations you would need to be successful in this position.
  • If you decide to disclose, consider the timing of your disclosure
  • Additional Resources for disclosing: https://askjan.org/topics/discl.htm

Where can I find employers that will see the value of diverse hiring initiatives?

  • http://www.eop.com: Equal Opportunity Publications helps underrepresented groups find employment and recruit diversity-friendly employers searching for diverse candidates.
  • http://www.gettinghired.com/: Getting Hired is a job search site dedicated to helping inclusive employers hire professional individuals and veterans with disabilities.
  • https://abilityjobs.com/: Ability Jobs helps qualified candidates apply for jobs with employers who value hiring people with diverse abilities. They also have a resume bank in which you can submit your resume for a variety of employers to search through.
  • https://www.limeconnect.com/: A global not for profit whose mission is to attract, prepare, and connect high potential university students and professionals with all types of disabilities for scholarships, internships, fellowships, and careers.
  • Disability Mentoring Day: National networking event designed to promote career development for students and job seekers with disabilities through hands-on career exploration and ongoing mentoring relationships.
  • Disability Equality Index: Explore a ranked list of disability-friendly companies determined by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).
  • Workforce Recruitment Program: A Federal Initiative to hire students with disabilities for summer internships or full-time employment with the federal government.  Registration for this program begins in August.  Please contact our office at Careers@sa.utah.edu to learn more about this opportunity.

How do I secure accommodations?

The first step of securing accommodations is disclosing your disability to employers.  For more on this topic, please see section above. After you have disclosed, it is your right to acquire reasonable accommodations.

Campus Resources

Center for Disability and Access
200 s. Central Campus Drive., rm. 162
SALT LAKE CITY, UT 84112
Voice: 801-581-5020
Fax: 801-581-5487

Community Resources

  •  Work Ability: is a local organization in collaboration with the Utah Department of Health that strives to link employers with qualified individuals with disabilities. They offer a variety of resources including a Job Board, training opportunities, and advocacy.
  • Department of WorkForce Services: Is designed to help all Utahns reach economic success and financial stability by overcoming obstacles.
  • Utah State Office of Rehabilitation: Helps individuals with disabilities obtain meaningful employment and improve accessibility and independence in their daily lives.
  • Utah State office Rehabilitation: There are more resources under Utah State office Rehabilitation which include the following:
  • Vocational Rehabilitation:Aids people with disabilities in addressing their unique barriers and achieving their employment goals through counseling, assistive technology, training, & transition services.
  • Division of Services for the Blind & Visually Impaired: Provides resources and services to increase independence, community integration and productivity for blind and visually impaired individuals including training and adjustment services, Business Enterprise program, and low vision services.
  • Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing:  A community for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Deafblind and their families which aims to promote connections, awareness, and equity while inspiring greatness through case assistive technology, ASL interpreters and more.
  • Utah State Office of Rehabilitation Transition: The USOR empowers individuals with disabilities and promotes independence and self-fulfillment by helping individuals obtain meaning employment, integrate into the community and improve accessibility.
  • US Business Leadership Network: UBLN strives to drive success through disability inclusion.  They host regular events and webinars aimed towards increasing inclusive hiring for individuals with disabilities.
  • National Organization on Disability: NOD is a non-profit organization that promotes the full participation and contribution of America’s 57 million people with disabilities in all aspects of life, particularly focusing on increasing employment opportunities.
  • Scholarships & Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities: up-to-date information to help students with disabilities fund their college education, including 40 scholarships for those affected by disabilities and info about federal and state financial aid programs for students and people with disabilities.

Laws and Rights

There are laws and guidelines in place to ensure that no person with a disability faces discrimination in their job search or career. Below is information on the laws in place to protect individuals in the workplace, as well as, some tips for interviewing and how to handle illegal questions.

  • Handling Illegal Interview Questions: Employers are not allowed to ask about a disability or whether you have one or not, but they can ask if you can perform the essential functions of the job.
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Comissio (EEOC): provides more information. You should note that once you are offered a job then some questions are fair game, but the offer cannot be revoked unless you are not able to perform the essential functions of the job or you pose a substantial risk to yourself or others.
  • Disability Rights Laws: This website includes the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other laws and rights such as, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Fair Housing Act and more. You can also learn more about reasonable accommodations, services animals and general FAQ’s.
  • ADA Information: Here is more information on the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 which was designed to prevent discrimination.  
  • Disability Law Center: Free resource of advocates and lawyers designed to enforce and strengthen laws that protect the opportunities, choices and legal rights of Utahns with disabilities.  Scope of support includes accessibility, assistive technology, civil rights, community living, education, employment, health care, housing, transportation, and voting rights.
  • Disclosing: There may not seem like there is a great time to disclose your disability, but this website will give you helpful tips about the when, and hows of disclosure.

We understand these resources may not cover all of your questions. To talk further about these resources or other topics, login to Cranium Café (ConexEd) to make an appointment with any available Career Coach if you are a current student or login to Handshake to make an appointment with our Alumni Career Coach if you are an alum. We also know that the content we have shared here is not exhaustive and that resources on identity are continually evolving. If you would like to share your comments or suggestions with us to help us improve our content, please email us at careers@sa.utah.edu. We welcome your feedback anytime.

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