Carol has been the head receptionist for Wagner Law Group for four years. She was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 14 years old. Carol also has rheumatoid arthritis.
Carol found her job with the assistance of an employment agent, a person who helps people to find jobs, from the private sector and did not disclose that she had a disability during the process of working with this agent. Once hired, however, Carol felt she should disclose her disability to her employer, as she thought that they needed to know in case she had a seizure in the office. To Carol’s relief, when she talked with the office manager, the manager shared that she also has a family member who had epilepsy so she was familiar with the disability.
While Carol is able to get to work every day, she admits that she cannot drive and that this has sometimes been a barrier. She also has some short term memory loss but has found ways to deal with this barrier, such as constantly taking notes and leaving herself reminders.
Carol is happy at her job and finds that everyone in her office is understanding of her disability, making it a very pleasant place to work.
What advice would you give to others with a disability on the topic of employment?
“You have to be strong-willed. When I was in pain and having seizures people used to say ‘How can you leave the house?’ and I would respond ‘How can I not?’
If things are going to happen they are going to happen and I can’t worry about it until it does.”
What advice would you give to employers considering hiring a person with a disability for the first time?
"Employers need to be understanding and give a little. Often times when an employer hears the word disability they automatically think ‘FREAK.’ People don’t know what disability really is and employers need to talk to the person first and work with that person for them to be successful. “