Welcome to today’s Professional Perspective, where industry professionals share their insights regarding various employment-related topics, Disability Employment Awareness Month edition!
To tackle this complex topic, this 3-part series features professional perspectives from a community agency project coordinator, a post secondary institution counsellor, and a Manitoba employer.
Today’s Disability Employment Awareness Month question is:
What reminders would you give students and new graduates who might need accommodations in the workplace?
To start us off, Milli Khan, Co-Op Project Coordinator with Reaching E-Quality Employment Services (REES), joins us today! Milli’s professional perspective comes from decades of work with charities/non-profits, individual and group counselling, and community education. As an individual living with a disability, Milli brings her passion and compassion into her practice, assisting those who wish to succeed in attaining their employment goals.
To disclose or not to disclose… that is the question.
If you have a disability or health condition that may require accommodations for you to work safely, efficiently and reliably, you may be wondering: When do I bring this up? Do I want to tell the employer who hasn’t even hired me yet? What if the employer rejects me because of my request for accommodation?
These are all valid concerns when looking for employment and I would ask you to consider these thoughts in trying to come to the right decision in your search for the right opportunity:
The Manitoba Human Rights Code protects those with disabilities from employment discrimination. While disclosing is a personal choice – where some people are very comfortable disclosing information and others are not – the Code does not require you to disclose your disability to a potential employer.
Employers in Manitoba must give candidates and employees the opportunity to disclose or request an accommodation for you to do the work safely, efficiently and reliably throughout the entire hiring process and employment relationship. Just remember, an employer cannot ask “What is your disability?” but they can ask, “Do you require an accommodation?”. Be prepared to respond with the specific accommodations you need to help the employers help you be successful in the workplace.
A good fit
You are interviewing your future employer as much as they are interviewing you. Being a good fit is a two-way street. Employers should decide and hire based on whether the skills you present make you a good fit with their defined needs, and not discriminate against you with regards to your disability or health condition. Would you not want to work with an employer with whom you share similar goals?
Reaching E-Quality Employment Services (REES) promotes employment of people with physical disabilities or health conditions. Milli coordinates the REES Co-Op Project, which provides pre-employment training, on-the-job training and experience to match participants with sustainable employment.
For more information on REES’ projects and supports, visit: Reaching E-Quality Employment Services.
Stay tuned next week for Professional Perspective: Accommodations in the workplace – Part 2!
Manitoba leads the way by declaring October as Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM). DEAM is an annual opportunity for Manitoba businesses, industry associations, community organizations, educational institutions, government bodies, and other groups to take proactive steps to increase employment success for Manitobans with disabilities. For more information on why you should get involved and how you can get involved visit www.deam-mb.ca.
For additional job searching tips, visit Student Employment Services’ Online Employment Resources or book an appointment with an RRC Employment Advisor at 204.632.3966 or JobCentre@rrc.ca.