Here’s what to consider before disclosing your health status at work
Will your hepatitis C treatment affect your work schedule? The answer to that question will differ for each sufferer. Some people might have mild side effects to treatment and can keep a regular schedule. Others may have to cut back their hours or take a leave of absence. Think about these work-related issues as you plan treatment:
Do you have to disclose your hepatitis C status? There is no law that says you have to tell your employer about an illness. Weigh these issues when making your decision: When should you disclose your status? How will your supervisor and co-workers react? Could your disclosure affect your chances for a promotion?
Does your job have regular busy-slow cycles? Talk to your doctor about taking advantage of these cycles by starting treatment during a less busy time of year.
Can you change your schedule? Discuss with your employer the possibility of working fewer hours while you are being treated. Familiarize yourself with your company’s leave policies.
Is going on disability an option? Consider short-term or long-term medical disability leave if your side effects interfere with your ability to work.
What are your rights? Find out your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. Note that you can’t be stopped from working because you have hepatitis C.
What have others in your situation done? Talk to members of your support group about their disclosure process and what they experienced after they disclosed their status.
There is no right or wrong here. After weighing your options, the decision to disclose your hepatitis C status is a personal one and should be based on what works best for you.