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I suffer from a disability (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME). Basically I am constantly tired, and am actually more productive if I do fewer hours. Sometimes I need to stop working and rest for a while, or decline certain tasks. I'm mainly a software developer but sometimes have to decline or use power tools to do simple things like taking a few screws out to access a debug port.

When applying for a new job is there a way I can sound out any potential employer without ruining my chances of getting the job? Although discrimination on these grounds is illegal, practically if you go in to an interview and ask how they feel about you taking a couple of short naps during the work day you are unlikely to be made an offer, or may get a reduced one.

To be clear, I am reasonably productive and IMHO worth a full salary, and the law seems to agree with me here (correct me if I'm wrong, but paying disabled employees less for equivalent work is not allowed).

Should I perhaps bring it up after being made an offer? Would employers feel that is dishonest perhaps?

The question is UK based.

  • 4
    Are you trying to avoid being hired and then finding they won't give you accommodations, or to avoid not being hired because you asked about accommodations too soon? – Kate Gregory Nov 2 '15 at 13:22
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Monica Cellio Feb 25 '16 at 2:49
  • Both. I want to avoid any potential problems. – user May 29 '16 at 21:25
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It's probably better to come clean up front. I would have letter from a doctor which explains your condition and disclose to the company's HR once your application process is moving along. For example, let's say you passed the phone interview and were brought in for a full set of interviews. At that time you will probably interview with the HR rep. Disclose it to them in written form and emphasize that your condition has not affected your performance in prior positions.

I would not recommend asking for fewer hours. That will change the terms of employment, possibly in a negative way. Just explain that you may have occasional "nap attacks" that require a short break to rest and you have control over them, so they will not affect your ability to attend meetings and events at all.

4

If there is something with your profile that needs to be taken into account before taking a position, that would scare off employers, I advice going through a trusted recruiter.

Recruiters are engaged to by employers seeking for hard-to-find profiles. Their added value is to look further and deeper into candidates. It is a competitive advantage fort them to be unprejudiced and find candidates others would neglect.

Due to my autism, I have problems discussing IT related issues with non technical people and I am reluctant to take the lead of a team. As a software engineer, after updating my linked-in profile, I was regularly contacted by the same recruiters. I consistently asked questions to know what communication would be required.

Soon I selected two recruiters that used to give clear answers to these question and posed relevant questions in return. I acknowledged them for identifying interesting opportunities for me and proposed having a face to face discussion about my profile, in which I told them about my condition, the problems it had caused in the past and the way I use to mitigate them. They kept sending me interesting offers.

2

Always get as much "buy in" from the employer as possible before telling something that could scare him/her off. Never mention it in a first contact. Never tell it before the person at the other side of the table has really spent time on you.

Once the interviewer discovered your added value, such as relevant skills not mentioned in the job requirements, once she/he is considering how to use these strong points, dropping you because of a disadvantage means invalidating all the effort done so far. That is the time to come forward with an issue like yours.

Unless you decide to wait even longer, until your contract is signed. If you can hide the problem and be productive for some weeks, you might even wait until you proved your value once or twice, but then you must be quite sure you can mitigate the problem with not too much special measures.

2

It may be very tempting to use a great Q&A site like stackexchange to get an answer to you problem, but I don't believe it is the best place to search for advice for your situation.

I would strongly recommend contacting an organisation that dedicated to your illness. They should be able to answer your questions, share their expertise, provide support.

A quick search lead me to http://www.meassociation.org.uk . (I'm not affiliated with this organisation.)

Good luck!

  • The one does not exclude the other. – Dirk Horsten Mar 22 '16 at 13:02

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