Would You List Migraine as a Disability on Job Applications?

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Would You List Migraine as a Disability on Job Applications?

Post  Brenda L. on Sat Jul 21, 2018 3:34 pm

I’ve been to disability and other employment counselors and have asked this question. There doesn’t seem to be a right answer. Just “That’s a really difficult issue.”

I’ve been outright told by employment counselors that disclosing migraine as a disability on a job application will just give the employer an excuse not to hire me. I believe this is true, as the employment market has become increasingly ruthless and competitive.

The really tough issue is that if you don’t disclose a medical condition BEFORE you get the job (when you fill out the application and answer whether or not you have a “disability”), then you have zero protections for when you do become sick on the job. It really is a no-win situation. I’m not even sure what (if any) protections you would have even if you DID disclose migraine beforehand. If you are too sick to do the job, they can just fire you for any reason. Like if your migraines are affecting the quality of your work, they can always say they fired you because you weren’t doing your job well and were making mistakes.

Is “migraine” even considered a “disability”? Most people (including even some doctors) are pretty clueless about migraine. They think its “just a bad headache”, and/or you are “pretending” or
“exaggerating” the pain to try to get out of doing something. I think we all know that there’s not much compassion or understanding out there for migraine sufferers.

P.S. I recently went to a job interview, and I was asked: “Tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge.”

Since I haven’t been able to work much in recent years due to chronic migraine, I went back to my college years. I related the story of how I had to take a very difficult advanced mathematics course in order to graduate college, and I needed at least a passing grade. Math is the one subject that never came easily to me, and I had studied so hard for the course and Final Exam (the final was worth 50% of the grade.) I had managed to pull my grade up to a B+ BEFORE the final, which was a huge accomplishment for me.

But the day before the final exam, I went into an extremely severe and prolonged migraine. I had some meds that helped somewhat, but the pain was still severe. It was very hard to think straight and some of the numbers were getting transposed in my mind. I took the test anyway because my migraines can last for several months, I had freshly studied for the exam, and I really just wanted to get it over with.

Not long after I’d taken the exam, I logged into the school computer system and was pretty amazed to see that I’d gotten a final grade of “C” for the entire course. (I guess that means I got a “D” on the final.) I needed a “C” to graduate, and for the first time in my life I was thrilled to get a “C”!

Anyway, I related to the job interviewer the story of how I had to take my Psychological Statistics final exam with a blinding migraine, yet still managed to get a passing grade in the course. My overall college GPA was 3.9, the interviewer knew this, and I figured it might be good to admit to a “weakness” and that I’m not perfect. And to relate how I overcame my weakness (or medical challenge—whatever you want to call it.) That was one huge “challenge” to overcome!

I didn’t get the job. The interviewer didn’t show any sympathy or understanding when I mentioned the severe migraine. I didn’t mention anything else about my migraine condition, so she had no idea how often I get migraines. But was even admitting to ONE migraine a foolish thing to do? I don’t even know if the average person knows that migraine is a chronic condition. But maybe the interviewer thought to herself: “This woman gets migraines. I’m not going to hire her.”

What do you think? In the future, should I avoid that anecdote about overcoming the challenge of taking the statistics final exam with a migraine? Thanks for any replies.

Brenda L.

Posts : 64
Join date : 2012-12-14

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Re: Would You List Migraine as a Disability on Job Applications?

Post  Sara79 on Tue Aug 07, 2018 4:29 pm

Migraines are recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). I am currently on leave through the ADA, because I don't qualify for FMLA.

I did disclose in my interview that I have migraines, but I use a different personal example for overcoming a challenge/dealing with a difficult person or situation question. You could back it out from that class alone and say that you achieved a 3.9 GPA in spite of your neurological disease. That way it shows how hard you work to overcome whatever gets in your way. Plus, you're educating about the fact that migraines are a disease, and not 'just a headache'.

Sara79

Posts : 243
Join date : 2009-12-04

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