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Telling an employer about a disability

People with disabilities that aren't readily apparent may have a hard time deciding whether to tell Michigan employers about the condition. You probably can understand why employees might not want to share that information. Workplace disability discrimination is illegal, but some businesses still deny disabled workers their rights.

Oakland County workers with fibromyalgia are among an estimated 6 million people nationwide with the syndrome. Affected employees may have pain and fatigue that impedes their ability to work or work in the same ways employees without disabilities do.

Fibromyalgia is condition but not a disease with multiple symptoms. The musculoskeletal pain associated with the illness can be severe. Four out of five fibromyalgia victims are women.

A fibromyalgia diagnosis can interfere with the ability to perform work duties. Some employees attempt to manage symptoms on the job without revealing they have fibromyalgia. The American with Disabilities Act bars employers from discriminating against workers with disabilities, but it doesn't stop companies from trying to squeeze workers out for other reasons.

Employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for disabled workers. Many refuse, claiming changes to the work environment would cause an "unreasonable" hardship. A company must know about a worker's disability before accommodations are possible, which takes us back to the question of whether an employer should be told about fibromyalgia.

An employer can't work with you and the limitations caused by a disability, unless the company is aware of the condition. A worker also can't accuse an employer of disability discrimination if the business has no idea the employee is disabled. In some occupations, a serious flare-up of symptoms and inability to perform might endanger co-workers.

Before you make a decision to discuss fibromyalgia with an employer, it may be a good idea to seek the advice of an Akeel & Valentine lawyer. An employment law attorney can provide guidance on how to handle this situation.

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