Telling Your Employer You Have IBD
Last updated: December 2021
So you have a bowel disease, it’s horrible and it brings a lot of self-confidence knocks, anxiety and feelings of inability. Sometimes you have to quit your job because it’s impossible to function during a significant flare.
But then eventually you have to go back to work and telling your new employer that you have a bowel disease can be tedious and bring even more anxiety on.
When should you tell your employer that you have Crohn's or UC?
Do you tell them during the interview? Do you tell them after they have offered the job? So many questions and such a hard decision.
With that in mind, today I went and did a mini-interview with some of our top managers where I work. They’re amazing and are mentors to me. They also know that I have Crohn’s; they also know that I have an ileostomy.
They know this because I’m not afraid to tell anyone and I don’t see it as a detriment to my ability to perform my tasks. I’m an excellent employee. Like most of you, the fact that I will have days off because I am too sick or tired to come to work and that makes me work even harder to prove that I’m not disabled.
So back to the point, I asked my bosses about these options. Do I tell a potential employer that I have Crohn’s disease during an interview or after I get the job? The consensus was “not at all, you are under no obligation to tell them” and purely because it’s none of anyone’s business, unless you choose to tell them.
It's discrimination to not hire someone due to a medical condition
In Australia, it would be seen as discrimination to not employ someone based on their medical conditions and they could get in trouble for not employing someone based on that.
So if someone denied me a role based on my disability, I could potentially sue them for discrimination. Hmmm, that might make me rich and then I'd never have to work again!! Haha.
I disclose that I have Crohn's after I'm hired
I personally don’t tell my employer until after my employment has been offered. I do tell them after I am employed as a “heads up” type thing but purely so they are aware. I don’t focus too much on it and explain it as something that doesn’t affect my ability to do my job.
Unfortunately sometimes I do get sick and I do have a weaker immune system than everyone else, so having the conversation with my employer gives them the opportunity to be aware and considerate of me when I am having a bad day.
There are different ways to talk about Crohn's or UC
Everyone needs to do things at their own pace. Some people don’t feel comfortable talking about it and that’s ok too. There is no pressure. If you don’t feel like speaking about it in person, you can email your boss and explain clearly and on your terms. Most employers will be fine with it, especially if you have had the chance to prove your work ethic.
Keep going, super IBD warriors!
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