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When seeking new employment - Need Your Input


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#1 WakeChallenged

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 02:11 AM

Hello,

I am currently on short/long term leave with my current employer. As it stands right now, I won't be going back to this company which is a good thing since, they in no way were willing to accommodate any of my needs. I know by law they are "required" to, but they would eventually find other ways to get rid of me, so it's better it works out this way.

I have concerns about finding worth while employment in the future. Companies make people take drug test prior to offering the job. If I tell them I take amphetamines they will want to know why I am taking them and then I would have to tell them that I have Narcolepsy. How many companies do you think are going to hire someone that has Narcolepsy? Answer: NONE.

I'm pretty sure I could get a minimum wage job if I told the truth, those jobs are easy to come by, it's the higher paying jobs that will put me in the catch 22 position.

I know I am not the only person to be put in this situation. I would like to know how you handled the situation and what was the outcome or response from the prospective employer.

Any help or advise is very much appreciated!

#2 Chuck Z.

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 09:01 AM

QUOTE (WakeChallenged @ Apr 30 2008, 03:11 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hello,

I am currently on short/long term leave with my current employer. As it stands right now, I won't be going back to this company which is a good thing since, they in no way were willing to accommodate any of my needs. I know by law they are "required" to, but they would eventually find other ways to get rid of me, so it's better it works out this way.

I have concerns about finding worth while employment in the future. Companies make people take drug test prior to offering the job. If I tell them I take amphetamines they will want to know why I am taking them and then I would have to tell them that I have Narcolepsy. How many companies do you think are going to hire someone that has Narcolepsy? Answer: NONE.

I'm pretty sure I could get a minimum wage job if I told the truth, those jobs are easy to come by, it's the higher paying jobs that will put me in the catch 22 position.

I know I am not the only person to be put in this situation. I would like to know how you handled the situation and what was the outcome or response from the prospective employer.

Any help or advise is very much appreciated!


I am in the same boat. I was recently laid off and I am in the process of finding new work.

Having worked for a large corporation with random drug testing, I know that you will *not* have to tell your managers, or HR of your condition if you choose not to -- thankfully, I was able to forge good friendships with a select few in my office who helped to run "interference" for me when I needed help.

With the confidentiality laws, it will be safe to simply "declare" your medications when you are given the test. I have asked my doc to provide a letter stating in effect: "This patient is being treated for a sleep disorder and is currently prescribed A, B and C to manage symptoms". HIPAA will ensure that this letter will only stay with the medical group sourced to run the tests - the company will never see it.

I would not be too worried.

#3 Kimberly

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 10:39 AM

There is a good resource on interviewing and job searching for people with disabilities on the Job Accommodation Network website. Steps 3 and 4 seem to be of particular interest to your situation. http://www.jan.wvu.edu/job/

A disability is anything that substantially limits your activities of daily living. While I feel that Narcolepsy falls into this category, not everyone does and they may call it a "medical condition."

Whatever the term, you have the right to decide whether you disclose your N to an employer before getting hired. If a drug test is required, why not just say "I am taking prescription medication for a medical condition; should I notify the lab at the time of the test, or would you prefer that I make a list of those medications for you now?" You shouldn't have to go any farther with the condition itself; merely giving the names of the medications should be sufficient.

Hope this helps.

Kimberly


QUOTE (WakeChallenged @ Apr 30 2008, 02:11 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hello,

I am currently on short/long term leave with my current employer. As it stands right now, I won't be going back to this company which is a good thing since, they in no way were willing to accommodate any of my needs. I know by law they are "required" to, but they would eventually find other ways to get rid of me, so it's better it works out this way.

I have concerns about finding worth while employment in the future. Companies make people take drug test prior to offering the job. If I tell them I take amphetamines they will want to know why I am taking them and then I would have to tell them that I have Narcolepsy. How many companies do you think are going to hire someone that has Narcolepsy? Answer: NONE.

I'm pretty sure I could get a minimum wage job if I told the truth, those jobs are easy to come by, it's the higher paying jobs that will put me in the catch 22 position.

I know I am not the only person to be put in this situation. I would like to know how you handled the situation and what was the outcome or response from the prospective employer.

Any help or advise is very much appreciated!


#4 WakeChallenged

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 01:56 AM

Chuck & Kimberly,

Thank you for the advise and input on this matter. I did not realize that under HIPPA the drug testing company could not report back to the employer the medication or condition that the medication is being used for.

Kimberly, I'm probably over thinking this, but my concern with listing the medication to the employer directly is that most people know that if you are taking prescription amphetamines for a medical condition, you either have Narcolepsy or ADD.

#5 lean_mean_us_marine

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 03:45 AM

QUOTE (WakeChallenged @ Apr 30 2008, 03:11 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hello,

I am currently on short/long term leave with my current employer. As it stands right now, I won't be going back to this company which is a good thing since, they in no way were willing to accommodate any of my needs. I know by law they are "required" to, but they would eventually find other ways to get rid of me, so it's better it works out this way.

I have concerns about finding worth while employment in the future. Companies make people take drug test prior to offering the job. If I tell them I take amphetamines they will want to know why I am taking them and then I would have to tell them that I have Narcolepsy. How many companies do you think are going to hire someone that has Narcolepsy? Answer: NONE.

I'm pretty sure I could get a minimum wage job if I told the truth, those jobs are easy to come by, it's the higher paying jobs that will put me in the catch 22 position.

I know I am not the only person to be put in this situation. I would like to know how you handled the situation and what was the outcome or response from the prospective employer.

Any help or advise is very much appreciated!



I'll tell you - I work for 2 companies now, and when I applied, I didn't tell them I had narcolepsy, simply out of fear of discrimination, which I feel is a legitimate, morally acceptable reason to omit that information during the hiring process. They now know I have the disorder, but don't look at me any differently. Sometimes the 'vigil makes me talk too fast, but at least it works. Yea, don't tell employers you have narcolepsy when you apply, they'll just throw your app away - employers are dishonest - all of them. You need to protect your interests.

#6 sleepylama

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 09:00 AM

I would have to agree w/the lean mean marine on this one. As a former manager for a few companies (not small or unknown ones either), I am all too familiar w/some of the things that go on in hiring and "managing" associates. Even the highest performers can be subject to subtle discrimination for chronic illnesses that have the potential to impact "production".

On the flip side, I do know of people w/disabilities who work in wonderful places where things are very well handled, unfortunately in the business world, it appears these are the exception to the rule, which is a shame!

I went both routes w/2 different employers. At one employer I was very open about my illness, not necessarily to coworkers, but my management was aware of why I went to so many doctors and some other things. I was a manager and was demoted due to my boss feeling it would add "too much stress for me to stay healthy". My boss is a wonderful person and I truly believe he thought he was doing the right thing for me as a person. He even agreed that as I was his best manager on the team, there were no work reasons for "change in responsiblity" and I wasn't showing signs of not being able to do the job. Was he getting pressure from elsewhere? After I left the company I found out that was in fact the case and he was trying to protect me.

At another employer I kept it to myself. I sought out purposefully to manage my time and actions to keep the visibility of my illnesses to a minimum (I have other issues other than Narcolepsy). I found this complicated things over time and didn't work out, however I learned a lot about how to manage myself and keep a positive outlook!

Of both situations, I still feel non-disclosure in the beginning is the best option and then when you are ready to discuss it, come prepared w/info from the Americans with Disabilities act (just as a resource should you need it) and explain things in a way that is not negative and how you work around it. You may also want to have HR in the loop on the conversation to ensure the same information is communicated where it should be known. My doctors were most helpful in giving advice on how to address this as well...they have a lot of experience w/their patients needing to work and communicate w/management, so you could always ask for information.

I am on disability now, and I wish all of you a good experience w/any employer. Just remember, if you know you have the skills and talent for the job, don't let them convince you otherwise just because you have Narcolepsy...YOU know Narcolepsy is not who you are as a person. ;-)

#7 Guest_~K~_*

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 09:14 AM

QUOTE (Kimberly @ May 1 2008, 11:39 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There is a good resource on interviewing and job searching for people with disabilities on the Job Accommodation Network website. Steps 3 and 4 seem to be of particular interest to your situation. http://www.jan.wvu.edu/job/

A disability is anything that substantially limits your activities of daily living. While I feel that Narcolepsy falls into this category, not everyone does and they may call it a "medical condition."

Whatever the term, you have the right to decide whether you disclose your N to an employer before getting hired. If a drug test is required, why not just say "I am taking prescription medication for a medical condition; should I notify the lab at the time of the test, or would you prefer that I make a list of those medications for you now?" You shouldn't have to go any farther with the condition itself; merely giving the names of the medications should be sufficient.

Hope this helps.

Kimberly



I take Ritalin and have now been through several drug screens for different companies and purposes. I have always passed. I tell the lab I take Ritalin, but the lab is not allowed to discuss any medical information you disclose to the employer. They just send a simple pass/fail message.

In addition, reputable employers have procedures for what they do about a failed drug test. For example, many require you to take a second drug test, as there is always the possibility of error somewhere along the line. When being required to take a drug test, you should definitely ask what the policies are regarding disclosure of information and to whom (some sneaky employers want you to sign a waiver giving them permission to obtain medical information!), and likewise, what the follow up is in the event of a failed test.

I have had pre-employment tests, DOT tests, and after accident tests (broke a finger at work once, and that employer had mandatory drug testing for all accidents -- that was a true accident, nothing to do with narcolepsy -- injury while moving equipment).

Employers are not allowed to require you to disclose a disability (or any other medical information). However, if you don't inform them, they aren't required to accommodate you. I recommend not disclosing at the interview time. It's very easy to pass over you for a 'more qualified applicant', but once you've been hired it's more difficult to fire you. Thus, if you try to do your job and find you need an accommodation, disclose at that time and have specific, reasonable suggestions about what accommodations will help.

Once an employer knows you have a disability, they are obliged by law to accommodate. However, they can also require proof in the form of medical documentation, and will vary in what they want, ranging from a simple doctor's note to more thorough documents. I would definitely contact the HR department or review the company's HR materials before hand so you know what to expect. You should also be able to offer evidence of what accommodations have been helpful to you in the past, or what accommodations are typically provided for narcolepsy.

~K~