Students with Disabilities
The Hiatt Career Center supports undergraduate students and alumni with mobility, visual, hearing, medical, psychological and learning disabilities that might impact work and professional development.
In addition to visible disabilities (such as limited mobility or vision loss) there are invisible disabilities which include medical issues (such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Epilepsy) and psychological or learning disabilities (such as anxiety, depression, or autism spectrum disorders). Employers are more motivated than ever to recruit diverse employees and are becoming more aware of how to support them in the workplace. As you explore careers, start internship and job searches, or start on the job, Hiatt can help you identify strengths and connections to the world of work, provide support around your questions and concerns, and direct you to resources.
Federal law requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee or job applicant with a disability, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer. There are several laws and regulations for employers to follow:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects qualified individuals with disabilities from employment discrimination. The ADA applies to private employers with 15 or more employees and all state and local government agencies regardless of the number of employees.
You may also hear about Section 503, this refers to changes to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 503 applies to all companies with federal contracts, and requests that employees with disabilities make up 7% of the company’s workforce. The government encourages a broad definition of disability: "a physical or mental impairment or medical condition that substantially limits a major life activity or if you have a history or record of such an impairment or medical condition." This includes but is not limited to blindness, deafness, cancer, diabetes, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If you require accommodations from an employer during any phase of the employment process (from applying, to interviewing, to working in the job itself), it’s your responsibility to inform the employer that accommodations are needed.
Job Accommodation Network: Provides accommodation ideas and free consulting services for individuals with physical or intellectual limitations that affect employment. Services include one-on-one consultation about job accommodation ideas, requesting and negotiating accommodations, and rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related laws.
Disclosing a Disability
Sharing information about your disability with an employer to receive accommodations is your choice. Disclosure is not required, but you need to disclose to receive accommodations. You only need to inform those involved in providing accommodations, which might include: human resources, your supervisor, or an Employee Assistance Program counselor.
Disclosure script includes:
A concise description of your disability, without clinical or technical terms
The job-related skills and abilities that demonstrate you are qualified for the role
The type of limitations that might arise for you in the workplace
Suggestions for accommodations
"I have (provide the preferred term for your disability). I have (list your key skills/abilities) and can perform the essential functions of this job, but sometimes (indicate your functional limitations) might interfere with my ability to (describe the duties you may have difficulty performing). It’s helpful if I have (describe the specific accommodations you need)."
For more information start with The 411 on Disability Disclosure.
In addition to the support and network you have at Brandeis, look for resources to help connect you to other students and employees with disabilities who can act as mentors and guides. Student Accessibility Support is a good place to get started. Learn more about creating your own network.
- National Organization on Disability (NOD): Promotes the full participation and contributions of America’s 57 million people with disabilities in all aspects of life.
- Disability Mentoring Day (AAPD): Connects nearly 16,500 students and job seekers with disabilities to thousands of employers each year through mentoring and networking events.
- Disability.jobs: The companies featured on Disability.jobs have a focus on the recruiting and hiring individuals with disabilities and creating an inclusive workforce.
- Emerging Leaders: Summer internship and leadership development opportunities for students with disabilities. Started by Booz Allen and administered by the National Business and Disability Council
- Entry Point: Identifies and recruits science, engineering, mathematics, computer science and business students with disabilities for internship and co-op opportunities.
- EOP's Diversity and Inclusion Career Center: A premier diversity online job board. We connect employers dedicated to hiring a diversified workforce with qualified job seekers in all career backgrounds.
- GettingHired.com: The largest national employment and networking portal connecting job seekers who happen to have disabilities, employers and jobs, agencies providing services to the community of people with disabilities, college and university disability and career services departments, veterans groups and disability advocacy groups.
- Hire Heroes USA: Provides career placement assistance to returning veterans and specializes for those with any level of disability.
- JobAccess: A place where people with disabilities can seek employment, confident that they will be evaluated solely on their skills and experience.
- Lime Connect: Prepares and connects accomplished individuals with disabilities for careers with the world’s leading corporations.
- Spectrum Careers: Resource connecting job seekers on the Autism Spectrum with inclusive employers. Job seekers can login to view over 15,000 job postings, and get instructions on how to show off their skills using a video resume.
- USA Jobs: Lists positions available within the US government; individuals with disabilities can use it in conjunction with the Selective Placement Program Coordinator (SPPC) directory.
Meet with Us
Make an appointment with us to talk about questions including:
What strengths can I bring to the workplace?
How and when should I disclose my disability to an employer?
How do I overcome challenges or request accommodations for an interview?
How can I figure out if an employer will be supportive and suit my needs and values?
Or just to check in