What are the benefits and risks of telling new employers I have a heart problem I am recovering from?

If it was you would you tell new employers?

I work as a software engineer.

  • 2
    Please update the question to describe how your condition might affect your work performance. Also, please tag the question with your location. There are probably differences across countries and cultures. In the USA, I would generally say that such things only need to be disclosed if they will impact your ability to do the job.
    – Theodore
    Jan 25 at 16:04
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    Of course you are free to share that information but what are you trying to accomplish by mentioning it? Do you need some special accommodations? If not, then I don't see how this is either relevant or helpful. Please explain.
    – jwh20
    Jan 25 at 17:28
  • 1
    "Europe" is large. You might want to be more specific, because in some countries you might qualify for some legal disability status which in turn might grant you certain rights to affirmative actions. But that depends on the country.
    – Philipp
    Jan 27 at 13:16
  • You really need to specify a country. For example, in The Netherlands, you would address this through the company doctor (bedrijfsarts/ARBO arts), who would then give instructions and advice to your HR and/or manager. Other countries in Europe have other systems in place to handle this as far as I'm aware. Jan 29 at 16:27

6 Answers 6


There is a fairly straight answer to this:

If you need accommodation for your medical condition (reduced hours, low stress assignments, time off for medical activities, etc) you need to follow the legal process in your country/company. Almost all countries and companies have a process for this type of a thing: it typically involves a doctor spelling out what exact accommodation you need for how long. In many cases you don't need to disclose the nature of the medical condition and that can be kept private. This also typically kicks off an insurance mechanisms to cover associate cost for the company.

If you don't need accommodation, that there is also no need to tell anyone. What for ?

Things are more difficult if you want some slack but are not willing to go the official route of formally requesting accommodation. This would really depend on your boss and the relationship you have with them.


When it comes to things like that - my general rule is that unless it is going to impact my ability to do my job, my employer doesn't need to know about it.

In your case, without knowing your full medical history and what limitations/recommendations have been provided by your Doctor/Healthcare professionals/specialists, it's impossible to determine if it is likely to impact your ability to do your job.

I would suggest that this is a conversation first and foremost that you should have with your Doctor - and in particular frame it so the question is 'what about my recovery could impact my ability to do my job' - then let the Doctor answer - if there are sufficient likely scenarios, then I think a heads-up or courtesy notification to your direct manager, only, is warranted.

Something along the lines of "Hey Boss, just so you know - I've had some heart trouble, My Doctor has indicated that the following might impact my work. If I have to take time-off or move to a low-stress workload because of that, this is the reason why".

And a caveat - this is predicated on you living in a state/country where firing you for having a medical condition is illegal and would result in a big fat settlement.


What are the benefits and risks of telling new employers I have a heart problem I am recovering from?

If your heart condition will potentially impact the quality or quantity of your work, or your availability for work, then let them know. Otherwise I don't see how it's relevant.

I have a heart condition as well and I don't tell anyone, because it doesn't impact my work.


If you're still in the recovery phase, and may need to nap or otherwise take a breather to get through the workday, I'd say yes so they know you aren't just slacking. Ditto if you will need to adjust your hours to get to a cardiac rehab exercise program (something I highly recommend for both rebuilding stamina and proving to yourself that you won't keel over if you exert yourself). I know it took me a year or more to really recover, and I had a relatively straightforward case.

If it's far enough in the past that it isn't affecting your daily routines, I don't think you need to volunteer it; it's Protected Health Information, after all. I haven't felt a need to hide it, and I'll discuss it when it's relevant to a conversation (as here), but I don't bore people with it.

On the other hand, some folks are afraid that any mention of it might affect their health insurance, or their kids' health insurance, at some point in the future; my father felt that way.

So it's really a matter of how private you want to be, or how public you need to be. Judgement call, I'm afraid.

  • Thanks. I will ask my cardiologist if I need to do rehab. I am still in the recovery and diagnosis phase but both phases are long, particularly the recovery.
    – Gaa22q
    Jan 25 at 17:02

would you tell new employers?

Yes I would, if I wanted to land an employment position with a supporting employer.

They know right up front your skills/experience versus your medical situation, and that concessions may need to be made during your recovery. This is critical for stress management which will affect your recovery.

  • You make a very good point.
    – Gaa22q
    Jan 25 at 17:18

While we can't cover every risk or benefit, we can look at a few. But before we do that, you may want to ask yourself: "What is the incentive to not tell my coworkers?"

Be very specific about what coworkers you are considering telling.

The main benefit of telling your manager: If you need to take a few hours to rest, or have an unusual schedule because of doc appts etc, you have already provided the context for why. You don't have to "hide" this, which would easily picked up as odd. You will have less pressure (theoretically) to try to ignore your own condition.

The main drawback is any perception (regardless of intention) that you will create about your work. No matter how hard we try, we still will create a summary perception of other peoples' work and personalities.

Some of this is entirely about framing; can you frame your heart condition in a way that reinforces your commitment to quality, for example?

Can you flip the switch for your manager from "judge" to "problem solver"? Ask them to help you create the best possible situation to work with your personal situation in mind. Research shows that triggering that kind of analytical thinking shifts someone into a positive and productive frame of mind instead of a fault-finding frame.

In all, I would encourage you to seek a place you feel safe and comfortable in. Whether you share is up to you, but if you want to share and feel you cannot, I would consider that a yellow flag.

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