Every job has both duties that are essential requirements of the job (essential duties), and duties that are more flexible or optional (non-essential duties). Having an understanding of what the essential and non-essential duties of a job are will help you decide whether or not you’d like to disclose your disability and/or ask for accommodations to help you be more successful in the workplace.
An inclusive employer will be able to tell the difference between essential and non-essential duties, but in case they can’t, take a look at the following definitions so that you can start to identify this for yourself during your job search.
These duties are critical and fundamental responsibilities of the position. You must be able to perform these functions either with or without reasonable accommodation. Ask yourself, “What are the parts of the job that are required and can be modified if needed?”
A duty is considered essential if one of the following is true:
These duties are performed either very infrequently or could be performed by others without altering the underlying reason the job exists. An example is replacing a heavy water jug. Ask yourself:
Disclosure is not always necessary if the disability you have has no effect on the duties of the role you are applying for or are currently working in. However, having an understanding of what the essential and non-essential duties of a job are, will help you decide whether or not you would like to disclose your disability and ask for accommodations.