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How do I suggest a prospective employer to grant me an accommodation so they can hire me?

Discussion in 'Education and Employment' started by Only, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. Only

    Only New Member

    Aug 12, 2019
    Hi, I needed to make a career change a few years ago and so began training as a medical lab technician (we're the folks that test blood, urine and anything else that can come out of the body). After two years of prerequisites and then a year of waiting so I could apply (the application window comes once a year) I finally begin training, only to discover two months into the quarter that phlebotomy (drawing blood for tests) is considered part of the job of the tech in many facilities and that to graduate, one must draw blood from 100 people.

    I don't do well with strangers, in general, so I received an accommodation from the school so I didn't have to draw blood. Really, do you want the guy drawing your blood to be shaking from nerves? I didn't think so.

    But now that I'm looking for a job, I find facilities that I'd love to work at, but require their techs to be phlebotomists, too.

    US law says that disabled people should be given accommodations in their work as long as it doesn't cause undue hardship for their employers (or at least that's my understanding). There are benefits for such employers. They can use this to show how inclusive they are. If they aren't nonprofit, they can get tax breaks. How do I suggest to prospective employers that they might give me an accommodation so I don't have to draw blood? There are always other techs or nurses who can do it.

    How can I get a job in one of these great facilities without being "that guy": the guy who used the law to hit someone over the head until they give in? Or who seemed to threaten to do so?

    Thanks for your time and any advice.
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  2. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2018
    No idea, until you just actually try it. Personally, I would not request an accommodation until I already have a job, but it's unethical to accept a job knowing you won't be able to fulfill a key requirement. You could tell them you can do everything EXCEPT blood draws, but I think they won't offer you the job if they have other candidates who can do that too. Although you don't think it's a big deal to have another staffer (nurse etc) do the blood draws, it could be quite a big deal indeed - staffing a facility is a complicated and important process and you are anticipating throwing a big wrench in it.

    Apply for lots of med tech jobs and see if they all require that. I think a big lab will probably have you running tests on fluids and other samples back in the lab and not necessarily do the patient contact, so I would look for larger facilities.

    If you are still not finding any suitable employment, you might just have to bite the bullet and add phlebotomist training. Or you could take the training you have now and make a lateral move - a purely research lab, running tissue culture, etc., or work in a crime scene investigation lab running DNAs, or testing water samples for an environmental firm.

    No company has to make an alteration in a job just because you don't want to or can't do a core function. That's not what the ADA says. It says if you can't get into the building without a wheelchair ramp, they can have one provided. That is not a core function, it's just an access feature. Just because the school allowed you to graduate without a skill they normally require for graduation - which they probably did as a favor to you, so you wouldn't be forced to fail or drop out - does not mean you are going to get that same accommodation in the workplace.

    Good luck.
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  3. Mattymatt

    Mattymatt Imperfectly Perfect

    Jul 20, 2014
    Honestly, you don't. Disclosing your disability will just make employment and/or obtaining it that much more difficult. While there are supposed to be legal protections for us, they're nothing more than words with absolutely no power of enforcement. You soldier on and make do. It's tough when the world hates us.
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  4. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Aug 28, 2013
    I would think that much of any attempt to leverage a prospective employer under such circumstances would be met with failure. That the one exposure you most want to avoid is probably the one they routinely require the most as a medical lab technician, apart from their concerns in terms of professional liability.

    Resulting in them finding some reason to pass on hiring you that would likely would stand scrutiny in court in the event of an ADA discrimination suit.

    As others have mentioned, this is all within the realm of civil law. Where the deck is often stacked in favor of the employer rather than a prospective employee. A dynamic that any number of our British members can elaborate on, despite having a much more robust legal environment designed to support those with disabilities looking for work.

    Sorry to be so blunt, but I think anything but the raw truth will not serve you in the long run.
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  5. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Aug 1, 2019
    I agree with the others in that drawing blood is probably considered a 'core job function'.

    I would look into a) specifically places that hire techs for lab work only or b) some sort of lab that doesn't require patient contact at all, as someone else already suggested. I think you could find a really enjoyable and fulfilling job in one of these areas.

    I doubt you'll have much luck getting and keeping a job that involves patient contact and not being able to do it.