Yesterday, when I was filling out an online application for a job, there was a “diversity” section at the end where the employer asked a couple of different questions in the name of fair hiring. The questions had to do with race/nationality, sex/sexual orientation and mental/physical disability.
Anyway, as I was filling out the application, I paused on the physical disability section because I wasn’t sure how to answer. Because I am an amputee, I am technically disabled. In fact, after my accident, I went through examination after examination with WSIB to confirm this and was designated “permanently impaired” because, in my day to day life, I’ve had to make adjustments to accomodate the amputation. I can’t type with all fingers on the keyboard, I have limited dexterity when it comes to physical tasks and oftentimes I experience numbness or phantom pain that radiates through my left hand.
How my hand looks now, almost seven years after the accident. Thanks to my doctors, my middle finger was reattached, but due to the amount of damage, I had to undergo two amputation surgeries on my pointer.
But when it came to the idea of designating myself as handicapped when applying for work, I felt strange. While I am impaired, I don’t really see it as something that drastically affects my work performance and the idea of scoring a gig just because I had something $h!tty happen to me when I was 19 seems unfair. But, on the other hand, because I do sometimes suffer from its after affects, wouldn’t it be pertainent to let a prospective employer know that? I would hate for a potential boss to think I’m lazy because it takes me slightly long to do something.
Boy and I were having a discussion about this last night but it’s a complex topic so I figured I would put it out to the blogging world and see what people thought. What would you classify as an impairment? When is it ethical to confirm/deny an impairment? Would you feel okay about bringing this sort of thing up with an employer? Why or why not?