On the Job: Rights and Responsibilities
You do not need to disclose your bleeding disorder during the job search and application process. What about once you’re on the job? It’s still up to you; if you require any accommodations at work, however, you'll need to disclose your bleeding disorder to your employer.
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says employers who have 15 or more employees are required to provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities.
What Are Reasonable Accommodations?
Reasonable accommodations are adjustments to the job or work environment that the employer makes so an employee with a disability can perform job functions.
Here are some examples of reasonable accommodations:
- Making facilities accessible
- Adjusting work schedules
- Modifying equipment or office furniture
Think about what you’ll need to be comfortable and healthy during the workday. You might want to make arrangements with your employer to take breaks during the day to do exercises to keep your joints lubricated. If you drive to work, you may want to ask for parking that is close to the worksite; or for an accessible restroom and break room. Is there a private place where you can self-infuse? Make sure that your work schedule will allow for whatever time you may need for treatment and medical appointments.
Remember that although you are entitled to accommodations if you ask for them, you should always maintain professionalism and do your best work. You don’t want your boss to think you are using your bleeding disorder as an excuse to be lazy!
Bleeds at Work
If you require special accommodations to manage your bleeding disorder, you will need to speak to your employer.
Here are some questions to ask your employer so you will be prepared if you have a bleed at work:
- Can you bring your treatment supplies into work? Will your supplies be secure?
Find out where you can keep your supplies. If you have your own desk, are there locks on the drawers? You might be able to keep some supplies there. You may also want to find out if you can keep a small refrigerator in your desk area to store your factor. If you don’t have your own workspace, you and your employer can discuss what accommodations best fit your needs.
- Is there a place where you can self-infuse?
Find out if there is a private place for you to self-infuse. If you have your own office, this may not be an issue. If you work in a shared or open space, maybe there is a break room or office that you can use when you need to infuse. Talk to your employer and think about what makes the most sense for you in your work environment.
- Will you need to disclose your bleeding disorder to your coworkers?
While you do need to disclose your disorder to your employer to get accommodations, you’re not required to share any information with your coworkers. However, if it's likely you will have to self-infuse at work, you may want to consider telling your coworkers about your bleeding disorder. This is up to you.
- How will you dispose of your sharps?
Inform your employer that your infusion supplies include needles. Determine the best way to supply and dispose of these sharps safely. Your Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC) may also be able to work with you to figure out the best way for you to dispose of your sharps containers.
Taking Medical Leave
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you may be able to take leave from work for medical reasons. If you work for a public agency, elementary or secondary school, or another kind of company or organization with more than 50 employees, the FMLA allows you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year.
The reasons a person can take leave are:
- The birth and care of a child
- Adoption or foster care
- Caring for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious medical condition
- Treating or recovering from your own medical illness
If you are considering taking leave under the FMLA, you should know:
- If you receive health insurance or other benefits from your employer, the employer must maintain these benefits during your leave
- You are eligible for leave only if you have worked for your employer for at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the last 12 months, and work in a company that employs 50 or more people
If your situation does not fit these criteria, the FMLA does not apply to you, and you will need to speak to your employer about their leave policy.