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Disclosing a Disabling Condition

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The process of telling your employer – or potential employer – that you have a disability. Your employer does not have the right to ask you about your disability during the hiring process before a job offer is made. Even after a job offer, there are legal limits about when and what an employer can ask about disability.

Generally, the only time it is required to disclose a disabling condition at the workplace is when requesting a reasonable accommodation. Even then, the requirement is only to present the employer with information demonstrating that a reasonable accommodation is needed for the person to perform the essential functions of the job.

Earned Income (EI)

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Salaries, wages, tips, professional fees, and other amounts you receive as pay for physical or mental work you perform. This can include things you get in exchange for work instead of wages, such as food, shelter, or other items. Funds received from any other source are not included. (Contrast: unearned income.)

Gross Income

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Your earned income (before taxes and other deductions are made) plus your unearned income.

Independent living

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Living on one’s own, in the community, outside of an institution.

Personal Assistance Services (PAS)

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Services designed to assist an individual with a disability perform activities of daily living at home or in the workplace.

Reasonable Accommodation

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An adjustment or modification to a job or workplace that enables an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of the job.

In education, a reasonable accommodation is a modification that allows a student with a disability to successfully participate in an activity, class, test, or other aspect of school.

Reasonable Accommodation Request

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A request to an employer to make a modification to a job or workplace that allows an employee to successfully perform the essential duties of a job. The request can come from the employee, or an employee's friend, family member, or medical provider. Reasonable accommodation rules are case-by-case situations, and employers and employees can negotiate the terms under the law.


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Physical or mental activity that is actually performed and results in earned income.

Workplace Personal Assistance

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Services that enable an employee with a disability to perform the essential duties of a job.