Completion Of Disability Section On Job Application Forms

Question: I’m afraid I need to bend your grey cells for some advice if anyone’s able to help. I’m really hacked off with my current job so am busily applying for others in the area however on one of the forms that I’m in the middle of completing they ask about Disabilities.  This is probably a stupid question but does our problem come under this or should we just ‘mention’ it somewhere on the form under perhaps

“Any other information” if there is such a section? I’m assuming we HAVE to tell our prospective employers that this problem exists.  Any ideas/comments very gratefully received.

Answer 1: Interesting question. I applied for two jobs after getting fed up with my previous one (where I developed the pains).  Anyway, I didn’t mention it in the job application form. In the interview, for the first job, they suddenly announced the job involved a lot of data inputting (the 2 page advert didn’t mention it). I said I couldn’t due to the wrist and was rejected as a result of the problem (great advert for Disability Discrimination at Work!)  Anyway, the second job I didn’t mention it at all, and was offered it.

Since then, I told them and they’ve bought me equipment etc… (Although it took a while and a lot of pressure from PACT!)  My conclusion: I don’t know! Some employers will probably reject the application, while others (Positive about Disability) will probably say “that’s okay, how can we work around it”. The law is one thing but what happens in practice is another.  I think it is probably defined as a disability (although you could enter it as a medical term rather than RSI – in the hope they won’t understand the full implication).  What do others think? I be interested to know for future jobs!

Answer 2: This is an interesting one, as I too am applying for jobs – presently in the throes of finishing an archaeology PhD. A couple of years ago my arms worsened (RSI spread to fingers) and I ended up being declared disabled as far as (Cambridge) University was concerned. As a disabled student I found myself eligible for help (both practical and financial) that had previously not been accessible. So I tend to think of myself as partially disabled…..?

Given the medical state of my arms (poor) I find most of the interesting jobs need too much hand-power – I’m now thinking of hiring myself out for book reviews and copy editing as I can then do the work at home at my own pace. If anyone has any good ideas, I’d love to hear!

Answer 3: From a legal and good practice point of view it could be to your advantage. You need to know about the Disability Discrimination Act (library or my Department’s website). Some employers guarantee an interview to someone with a disability because of under-representation. I think it is also important to be positive about the problem and where possible say how it is being sorted/alleviated.

The balance of any job application should focus on your ability to do the work….so they just can’t resist interviewing you!Sue Robinson (using speech recognition software) Pay and Reward Strategy Project Corporate Change and Senior Staff Division Department for Education and Employment


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