Dealing with job searching AND lupus can seem overwhelming and scary. With the right information and some practical tips, the process might not be that arduous. Continue reading to learn about overcoming job searching lupus challenges.
Job searching is already a time-consuming process that requires attention, focus, and perseverance. It’s extremely common to not hear back from positions—which is never encouraging. But, what if a really great organization shows interest? For a #LupusWarrior, prepping for the interview could be only one of the unnerving aspects of the job application process.
The complexities of having lupus aren’t reflected in many interview processes or guides. As if preparing for an interview isn’t enough, #LupusWarriors should also consider their legal rights and best practices for the advocating for their health while the job searching.
Job Applications and Lupus
Job applications might pose a question about physical capabilities. How does a #LupusWarrior respond when generally it is a yes or no question? The nuances of having lupus are not appreciated in job applications. Many No matter how strong or hardworking a person with lupus is, a flare can still take them out of commission.
In the United States, individuals’ health histories are protected under HIPAA. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 basically protects people from having to share their medical records with any institution or organization. An employer does not have the right to ask a medical professional without the employee’s consent to see health documents.
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It is extremely rare for applications to ask applicants to hand over intimate knowledge of their health (except for some positions with the government). In the later stages of applications, jobs that involve safety risks for the worker or others will most likely ask for a physical and health clearance from a medical professional.
Although many applications which require medical clearance thoroughly consider permission on a case-by-case basis, it’s important to understand the medical professional’s concerns and objective perspective. Work with them and don’t get frustrated.
What’s the Best Protocol?
Honesty is the best policy. By law, employers are required to make accommodations for their employees. Individuals are protected under the American with Disabilities Act and Equal Employment Opportunities Commission to not be discriminated against for their health status and/or disability.
That does not mean, though, that applicants and employees have to say anything about their health—especially if it’s not asked. If a #LupusWarrior is buying into a group insurance policy, it’s possible that individual will have to divulge they have a pre-existing condition to the insurance company. That information—especially with large organizations—might make it to the human resources department. HR representatives absolutely must keep this information confidential.
Disability As an Alternative and Re-Entering the Workforce
Working may not be an option for everybody with lupus. If the medical state is severe, any #LupusWarrior between the ages of 18-64 can apply for disability. This means that they must not work, though.
If #LupusWarriors decide to re-enter the workforce, the Ticket to Work Program sets an individual on a program with an advocate to find a job. The advocate can also accompany a person to their place of work and support them during the re-entry phase.
Your Rights, Laws, and Worries
All in all, there are laws and programs to help #LupusWarriors stay private, excel in the workforce, and keep their bodies healthy. Most employers want people who can communicate clearly, be positive, and understand the commercial activities within the organization. So, be honest, positive, and upfront (even to yourself) of what you can bring to the table and how employers can give support.