Dear Addy: Applying for Jobs

Dear Addy.Sept15ADear Addy,

I’m applying for jobs and am nervous that the marks on my arm from infusing will present awkward questions. What should I do?

Dear Marked,
This is a valid fear. For people unfamiliar with the need to infuse medication verses swallow it, the marks on your arms left by multiple infusions may lead an interviewer to jump to incorrect conclusions. Don’t blame the interviewer entirely though as it is her or his job to avoid a “bad hire” so they must look out for any indication of that you may not be the right person for the job.
If an interviewer sees the infusion scares or fresh infusion marks on your arms or hands, be mindful of their reaction. They may not ask you directly the source of the marks and it is your choice to disclose the source or not. Should an interviewer ask about the marks, again it is your choice as to whether to disclose the cause. Be mindful of the way they ask, if they do ask, as there are questions an interviewer cannot ask a potential hire; like the ones on this list.
It’s important to remember that the choice to disclose your bleeding disorder is ultimately up to you. Experts in this area suggest that honesty is the best policy once you have a job.
For all employees there are protections in place to protect people with disabilities. Hemophilia, for example, is not a disability but the resulting complications can be considered as disabilities. While it can be confusing to understand how these protections apply to an employee with a bleeding disorder, there are two quick resources that I can point you to. The first is my post on disclosure in the workplace, and the second is the HFA Families webinar on employee disabilities rights. I also would recommend checking out HFA’s Employment Issues Toolkit.
You can see how some folks have approached disclosing their bleeding disorder at work in this HFA Young Adults Hangout. A summary can also be found in HFA’s winter 2014 Dateline.
If you have further questions about this or any other advocacy issue, please don’t hesitate to write to me. You can also find advice on workplace discrimination from the folks over at Advocating for Chronic Conditions, Entitlements and Social Services (A.C.C.E.S.S.®). A.C.C.E.S.S.®Â  is a program dedicated to helping find solutions to the social and economic problems that confront families facing chronic conditions.
Have a question? Click HERE. Your name will be changed in the response.

HFA frequently receives questions from the bleeding disorders community related to advocacy issues. The questions often impact the entire community. In an effort to reach the largest audience possible with our responses to these widely applicable questions, HFA developed “Dear Addy.” Questions submitted to this column are edited in order to protect privacy and should be considered educational only, not individual guidance.