Stephen P. on January 29, 2016
Four years ago I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. About a year ago they found it had metastasized to my lungs. Since then I've received chemotherapy every 2-3 weeks, which knocks me out for 2 work days each cycle (so 33-50 days per year). As far as I know, I'll be continuing on this treatment cycle indefinitely. I've thus far tolerated treatment very well and have worked full-time continuously and at a high level since my original diagnosis.
I typically prefer working in small companies, and am typically very open with co-workers, so I don't plan on hiding my cancer diagnosis long after being hired. But I think for the sake of legal protection, it's best to generalize it as a "disability" during interviewing, right?
My concern as I enter into the interviewing process is when and how to disclose my needs, whether that means time-off for chemo or working from home or working nights/weekends to make up the time. Since my chemo days exceed normal vacation/sick day allotments, my chemo days aren't something I'd be able to work in under the radar, so I think it's technically a disability, right? As such, I think it's important to disclose at the very least that I need exceptions made to accommodate my "disability".
Would it be strategically best to wait until an offer is received to disclose and negotiate that, so that I'm compared against other candidates and chosen without my disability being a factor? After an offer is given, do they have rights to retract the offer after the disability accommodations are requested? What other timing alternatives are there?
In case it's relevant at all, I'm a computer programmer. The work I do can technically be done remotely, but most employers I've seen still require physical presence in the office for their own reasons. But perhaps the American Disabilities Act has some level of override on that?