The New York Times did a piece on November 2nd, 2015 on discrimination based on whether or not an individual disclosed on their resume that they had a disability. They created six distinct personas – a new entry into a field and a seasoned professional. For these two personas, they wrote three cover letters – one for an individual with no disabilities, one for an individual with a spinal injury, and one for an individual with Asperger’s.
The idea was to glean insights into whether or not job applicants with disabilities who disclose their disability would experience fewer, the same or more call backs. The outcome showed that those who disclosed were likely to have less callbacks, however, this bias appeared to have been most pronounced in companies with 15 or less employees.
Does this mean a job seeker with a disability should never try to find jobs with small businesses or start-up companies? We don’t think so, but it does mean that you need to know these three things:
- Your rights
- Understand what it means to disclose before you even get to the interview
- Know that you have the skills for the job before you apply
The decision to disclose or not to disclose is a very personal one and your disclosure decision may be different with different employers.
At jjslist.com our experience with small businesses as employers is outstanding. We’ve partnered with businesses such as Fine Line, Lou Malnati’s and Hewn Bakery to successfully employ individuals with disabilities and their experiences have been invaluable.
Talk to your employment specialist, your family, your job coach and any other trusted mentors and supporters as you make your decision to disclose or not to disclose.
Small businesses are big employers. One of them could be your next employer!