When should HR know about an illness or disability?

A recent article from DiversityInc magazine examined issues regarding employee disabilities and illness, asking the question: When should employees tell their boss about a serious illness or disability?

Just last week the President secured protection for disabled workers by signing the ADA Amendments Act. Along with the Family and Medical Leave Act, you could assume that more employees would feel comfortable telling employers about their condition.

But even with protective legislation, the stigmas associated with an illness or disability can overshadow an employee’s training and work experience or may cause coworkers and supervisors to treat them differently.

The author suggests that it is best for an employee to disclose a serious illness or disability “as soon as practically possible” in that a company can only accommodate the employee if their condition is known.

We want to know your opinion:

When would HR managers prefer to know about an employee’s serious illness or disability? What is too soon, what is too late?

Does it impact promotion and raise decisions even if symptoms aren't showing yet? Is it really possible not to have it influence decisions?

1 comment:

Mark Stelzner said...

My mother just went through this after she was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's. Her fear of retribution and backlash significantly extended the timeframe from diagnosis to disclosure. Even though I work in the HR field, it was difficult to get her past her fears and seek advice and HR policy information. She thankfully broke through and is much happier for it.


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