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Should I List Narcolepsy, On A Job Applicaton


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#1 Fra2302

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 06:28 AM

On a job application, should I list that I have Narcolepsy?

For I have heard stories that some employers reject a possible application due to their disabilities.

#2 eightlegs

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 03:13 PM

imo, no. it's really none of their business.

#3 Mike M

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 05:49 PM

Is there anyone at this job that you can ask? I realize that is a long shot, but it might be worth considering. While, I do agree with eightlegs (that is is none of their business), if you know it won't affect your hiring, here is why you might want to let them know. One, you can get accommodations if they know (naps, longer breaks, understanding if you have a sleep attack or have cataplexy). Two, you can make sure that nothing you would be asked to do will put you or others at risk (if the job involves driving at night - which I don't do - having to do it would make me extremely nervous). Three, you can make them aware of your medications and any side effects (particularly important if it is a job that would require a drug test or over night travel with other employees).

Technically, you informing a potential employer of a disability (which is what narcolepsy is in terms of employment) should not (and cannot) be used to deny your application. Of course, the reality is that employers can create many other reasons why a person is not hired. I only raise the other points because if your narcolepsy will affect you during your job, you may eventually need to reveal it. Unfortunately, I believe that ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) can only be used to protect PWNs when the employer was informed of the condition. If I am wrong about that, I hope someone else will correct me.

Good luck. What you are experiencing is not an easy decision, and it is a decision that many of us are forced to face over and over. Please know that you are in my thoughts.

#4 jenji

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 09:14 PM

QUOTE (Fra2302 @ Jun 21 2009, 07:28 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
On a job application, should I list that I have Narcolepsy?
For I have heard stories that some employers reject a possible application due to their disabilities.



Hey Fra:

You may want to cruise around a bit on the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commision site, specifically under the laws regarding those with disabilities and narcolepsy is considered a disability under the law. Maybe you can find some answers or direction there as to how to proceed.

best
jenji

#5 Lais02

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 09:52 PM

I just went through this myself. I did not let the employer know about my N until I was hired. On my first day I had to turn in a bunch of paperwork to human resources, and so I let them know at that time about my N. The only reason I decided to tell them at all is because I don't want to lose job if I happen to be late in the morning. I'm usually on time for things now that Xyrem is working for me, but just in case I let them know about it.

Anyways my advise:

DO NOT TELL THEM ABOUT N UNTIL YOU HAVE ALREADY BEEN HIRED.

#6 dogdreams

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 08:50 AM

No, I never do. You want them to hire you based on your qualifications, not reject you based on your disability. In fact, I never even tell prospective employers I have a child because I've been discriminated against for that, too. No one can be completely unbiased in hiring, no matter how 'zen' they might think they are.

If they hire you based on your ability to do the job, you can tell them afterwards. They have to accommodate disabilities.

Just my humble opinion, anyway...

#7 Bafflegab

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 04:44 PM

No! At the very least wait until you are hired. Whether you tell anyone then, depends on a number of things (your boss, the type of work you're doing, your relationship with your co-workers, the company's attitude/ethos) that can't be known until you experience them first hand. Don't count on the ADA or the EEOC to keep your employer honest or helpful if they aren't all ready.

After you've worked at the new job for awhile and have developed a good relationship with your bosses you may want to inform them, if you think it's in your and their best interest.

#8 Sera Bishop

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 09:45 AM

I'm learning here. Having just been diagnosed, the words: 'Welcome to the rest of my life' are whirring around in my brain. I have a degree in Commercial Interior Design but since I just graduated a year ago I haven't been able to get a job in the field. Meanwhile, I 'm working with Adults with Disabilities. Before the diagnosis I had been thinking about stepping down from my supervisor position because A)being on call 5 days a week and every 6th weekend just doesn't work for me and B) They don't take care of their employees anyway and I'm just exhausted from attempting to make a difference.

So, I wrote a letter to my supervisor letting her know of my recent diagnosis and that is the reason I would like to transfer to a not-on-call position that has a regulated schedule (same hours every day) and not random shift work. This is so I can take care of myself, not because I am putting the clients I work with in danger.

I have never had symptoms of cataplexy, hypnagogic hallucinations or 'sleep attacks.' I'm simply a tired soul.

My employer appears to be more concerned with filling my position than finding a place for me to go, and they are requesting a doctor's note and from that will decide what to do from there. What the hell did I just walk into? This gives me a sense for sure: Welcome to the rest of my life.

#9 Bafflegab

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 02:55 PM

I'm sorry you have to go through this.

The only comforting thing I can think to tell you right now, is that they probably will not fire you. You are not asking for an accommodation, so they have absolutely no grounds for dismissal. They may say that they don't have an open position, so if you want to stay employed with them, the only way is to stay in your current position, but they cannot terminate you because you want a transfer (demotion?).

Am I making any sense here? It's late and I faded a couple of hours ago.

#10 merrymom1013

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 06:53 PM

I don't know the rules for workplace accommodations, but I don't know that it is unreasonable for an employer to ask for medical documentation of the disability you are claiming. If a child or college student asks for accommodations, documentation is required. (Go to the website of your favorite university's disability services office & find documentation guidelines.) The other piece is, not everyone with a medical condition is eligible for accommodations. So the doctor's letter can document that your diagnosis is legitimate and why the accommodations are necessary. Your employer's reaction could signal a potential problem, but maybe they are just following their rules. From the employer's point of view, if all people had to do to get moved to a more desirable position is say they have a health condition, there are many who would exaggerate or even lie.

#11 Nyx

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 09:46 AM

Fra: I agree with the great advice above about not listing N on your job application, but to consider raising it instead once you've been hired.

Sera: I'm sorry that you have to deal with this, but I think that your employer's request for documentation from your doctor is not unreasonable. Depending on your relationship with your employer, their request may sting a little or be a surprise, but I wouldn't take it to mean that they inherently think you're making this up. They probably just have to request documentation since they're running a business, and this is a business decsion. I'd take it one step at a time, submit the documentation from your doctor, and see what their next move is. Hopefully it's a good one. You may also consider talking to them after or as you provide the documentation, and find out what their primary concerns are. Perhaps you can make a gradual change to the new shift to give them time to fill your former position if it's not too hard for you?

#12 Bafflegab

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 01:46 PM

When I was offered my current job, my boss (the director) and the associate director set my working hours at 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; flexible hours were permissible but telecommuting wasn't an option. Is that okay? I said yes, and went to work. Six months pass. I get diagnosed with narcolepsy. I tell my director and associate director. No problems, I'm doing the work and no one is concerned in the slightest since they hadn't seen any problems and didn't expect anything but improvement.

Jump forward two months. The associate director stops speaking to me. She doesn't say hello or good-bye. She won't make eye contact. She won't answer me when I ask her a question. When I asked her what it was that did that made her so angry, she would say, "I don't have to talk to you, and I'm not going to talk to you. Now, just drop it." Another month-and-half goes by without incident. The associate director still isn't speaking to me and no one in the office knows, or won't tell me, why she is so angry. When I ask, they say it's just J. She gets like that. It'll pass.

And it's not bad. I don't mind her not talking to me. I find her loud and and a micro-manager and actually think I'm better off with her silence. I'm left alone. I can concentrate on my work, and my boss and I have a great relationship. Everything is copesetic. For two more months.

Then one Friday evening after everybody had left the office my boss called me his office and told me the rest of the department is angry with me and morale is down. When I asked why, he said the problem is the associate director is mad at me because I start work at 9 a.m. Would I start coming to the office at 8 a.m., rather than 9 a.m. I said sure, waking up at 5 a.m., isn't any different for me than waking up at 7 a.m. (the difference is due to traffic patterns and congestion). I just need to get to sleep earlier the night before.

That was two months ago. Since then, I've been coming into work at 7'ish every morning. I'm also leaving every afternoon at 4 p.m. When I started at 9 a.m., I often wouldn't leave the office until 7 p.m., frequently later.

Life is better. The meds have significantly improved my energy level (although I'm still a few quarts lower than most people I know), the commute is easier because I'm beating the traffic, and the morale in the office is back to normal (not because I'm starting work earlier, but because the associate director is in a better mood). There are downsides though. For me, it's that the associate director is speaking to me again. For the foundation, it's that they aren't getting as many hours out of me as they were. They are now paying me more for doing less, for being less productive. Just because the associate director didn't like my schedule. It doesn't make any sense and I'm not going to even try or pretend to try to understand.

I could have stubbornly stood my ground. Point out the fact that it was the associate director who first scheduled my hours, take it up with HR, or even file a complaint, but there isn't any point. Whatever I do, I still have to work. Management here isn't any less informed than anywhere else. Until we elect politicians who believe (not know, but believe) that fundamental and structural changes are needed in the workplace, people who need accommodation because of a disability (I prefer hindrance). Lawsuits aren't going to change anybody's thinking. Neither will complaining or educating or anything else.

If you want the business climate in the US to be more understanding and empathetic, you have to vote into office politicians who are at least as liberal as Vermont's Bernie Sanders and Ohio's Dennis Kucinich. Until then, keep your head low, and be careful about who you tell and what you tell them.

#13 merrymom1013

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 01:08 PM

Just some thoughts.... When you have a disability and apply to college, you don't disclose your disability until after you are accepted. That's fair because you have to meet the same admission requirements as everyone else- no preferential treatment. Also no discrimination. Then once you are in, you request reasonable accommodations, and have the appropriate documentation supporting your request.
So why not the same with a residency (or a job)...if you think you can meet the requirements of the program (even if you need reasonable accommodations) you aren't obligated to disclose ahead of time. If the accommodations you will require are so significant that they'll cost a fortune or fundamentally change the position, they aren't obligated to make accommodations anyhow. I know residencies are especially tough since they count on you never needing sleep, but I'm sure you've thought about how or if you can do it.