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I'm in the process of applying to jobs where security is a significant concern and foreign Bluetooth devices are often not permitted on site. However, I use such a device daily to manage a disability. It is removable, but it can be inconvenient and costly to do so. In general, I'm of the opinion that a potential employer does not need to know about my disability at the application phase of the hiring process. My disability does not affect my job performance and most people would not know that I had it at all unless I tell them.

As I see it, my alternatives are

  • Disclose my disability when I submit the application and potentially be rejected outright due to unintended bias.

  • Do not disclose my disability and show up to the interview with the device, potentially creating a security issue and an overall awkward situation.

  • Do not disclose my disability and endure the cost and inconvenience of removing the device on the day of the interview.

My question is not when I should disclose the disability, I've already decided that I won't do so until after I'm hired. My question is if refusing to do so will have implications regarding potential security incidents.

Does any one have any experience with a similar situation and/or suggestions?

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In the US, the ADA essentially states that employers must make reasonable accommodations for disabilities. This extends to interviewing.

However, some people choose to not disclose disabilities because they are afraid of discrimination even though such discrimination would be illegal. That said, you also don't want to end up in a position where not disclosing causes you an issue. If you have a disability which requires a bluetooth device, but you're interviewing in a company where an unknown bluetooth device may be perceived as a security threat, it's likely in your best interest to disclose your disability (and the device). Otherwise, it may become very awkward if they assume the unknown bluetooth device was an attempted attack.

The ADA also essentially leaves it up to the employee (or candidate) to disclose their disability and specify the accommodation they would like. In your case, it may make sense to ask for an offsite interview, or it may simply be enough to inform them of your device and it's purpose so they can be aware when it shows up in their monitoring tool as unknown, and/or so they can take any steps they need in order to certify that it is safe.

Of course, none of us know how sensitive your employer is to unknown bluetooth devices. Even given the ADA, an employer is still allowed to be selective in terms of choosing employees who are able to perform job duties. It's hard to conceive how this can play out in unknown and potentially highly secure environments, for instance if your employer's bluetooth restriction is extremely strict, they may not be able to reasonably accommodate you continuing to use the device you're currently using. Even if you get around the interview phase (by holding the interview offsite, for instance), it's possible that a different accommodation may be required to actually work there, which - again - necessitates disclosure upfront.

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    Bringing a Bluetooth device into certain areas where I work would be a real problem as an interviewee. We would have to perform the interview in a less restrictive area to avoid a security infraction. However, once an employee, Bluetooth medical devices can be approved for entry into such areas. Not telling me, and having security folks show up during the interview, would not predispose me to hire you! – Jon Custer Sep 19 at 16:42
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    In general, I agree that not disclosing disabilities till after you're hired is the wisest course of action. But in this case, since you're likely to get busted at the interview because of the bluetooth, I second the suggestion to disclose in advance. You can take this opportunity to emphasize how much you understand and try to adhere to security requirements, which may compensate for your needing a minor accomodation. – user90842 Sep 19 at 17:20
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Does any one have any experience with a similar situation

I have a disability that actually can affect my performance as an employee, and carries a lot of associated prejudice. It's fortunate it's easy to conceal, and I completely understand your desire not to disclose it for interview process.


If the company policy explicitly states you have to declare bluetooth devices and you are mentioned that fact (or implied to know that fact) at the very interview, you have little choice but to explain you wear a bluetooth device. However

  • If there is a chance this policy doesn't apply on interview site, you may play that chance
  • If this apply to interview site, you can declare wearing a device, get it checked by security, but not by your interviewer directly
  • If your interviewer insists on knowing why you wear such device, you can disclose having a medical condition, without disclosing it is a permanent disability
  • If your interviewer somehow manages to guess what disability you have (I know I don't, but some may) there is still high chances it won't affect his judgment.

Chances are you are overestimating the chances that your disability get in the way of having a job. They are in fact extremely slim. What you should do, however, is at your discretion, and should be respected by your employer as long as it complies with the rules.

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My question is not when I should disclose the disability, I've already decided that I won't do so until after I'm hired. My question is if refusing to do so will have implications regarding potential security incidents.

It likely will have implications. If you are going to wait until you are hired, then you should at the very least bring up your device once you are required to sign any documentation that mentions company policies on bluetooth devices. You can refuse to mention that you have a disability, but I think this will give you less leverage towards being allowed to use the device (assuming it is against company policy).

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