When you have a disability and you’re searching for a job, it can be hard to know where you stand with employers. Sometimes, just applying for a job can be tough, let alone facing the interview stage where you have to deal with a whole new set of obstacles. At this point it’s important to know exactly what your rights are. To help you prepare for a job interview, we’ve outlined five questions you really shouldn’t be asked during an interview. Granted that some employers do take advantage of young people in the work place and discrimination (sadly) is still common, so we can’t guarantee you won’t be asked these questions. Highlighting them here, however, may help you prepare a suitable response.

1. Do you have a disability?
While technically, an employer can ask you this, you don’t have a legal obligation to provide them any info about a disability that doesn’t impact your work performance. With so many disabilities not being visible, it’s important to know that if you can do your job, and you don’t want to tell your employer about your disability, you don’t have to. Be careful here, if you keep your disability quiet, in the case of injury on the job you might miss out on things like workers compensation.

2. How did you get your disability?
Not only insensitive, this question is also super intrusive. Again, you have no legal obligation to answer this, or provide any details- whether your disability is visible or not.

3. Are you taking medication?
Specifics of your disability that do not directly affect how you do your job are completely off limits. Don’t feel like you have to answer these or any other specific questions about any treatment you might be undertaking.

4. How many times a year do you go to the doctor?
Again, off limits. If an employer asks you this in an interview they’ve overstepped the line. If they do ask for personal info, they have to do it in a way that is fair, not intrusive and:

  • They need to tell you why they are asking for it
  • Tell you what happens if you don’t provide the info (i.e. the workers comp situation)
  • Allow you access to any info you provide
  • Tell you who get copies of your info and how to contact them

Even then, if their questions seem weird and not related directly to the job you’re applying for, don’t feel pressured to answer them.

5. Are you going to be able to cope?
Sure, employers can ask if you will be able to perform aspects of the role but asking in a way that is undermining, insulting or intrusive isn’t allowed.

Basically, with all of these you need to think: would someone without a disability be asked this? If the answer is no, or the question is giving you a weird vibe don’t be afraid to say that you don’t feel comfortable answering or that you won’t disclose that information. On applications, it’s fine to write ‘not applicable’ for any disability that won’t impact your work performance.

Job searching when you have a disability- visible or not- can be hard. Which is why legends like BUSY Ability are here to help you out. If you’re struggling to find a job because of your disability, or don’t have the confidence to get to the point of interviews, BUSY Ability will help you out. You can check out their site here and if you’re unemployed and living with a disability in northern NSW and South East QLD, pop your details in here and they’ll give you a hand.

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