Psoriasis in the Workplace: Does my Boss Need to Know?
I have been on many job interviews in my life. Some good; some bad. But can you remember the best interview of your life; you’re feeling confident and excited about this new career opportunity. Then as you walk away, you’re reminded of your psoriasis. Luckily you had no flares for your interview. Your mind is racing with the question, “should I have mentioned my psoriasis?” It’s not always easy to answer this question because it depends on you. Under normal circumstances, it’s your choice whether to share that personal information. However, if your psoriasis can impact your daily work, then it can be helpful to tell your future employer.
Will psoriasis impact my job?
You need to consider your condition carefully. Look at the severity of past outbreaks and moving forward if this could potentially impact your work. Has your psoriasis ever caused you to miss much work in the past? If you have psoriatic arthritis, then you may really want to think about mentioning it. Though it’s personal information, it’s responsible to inform a future employer about a condition that could cause you to miss work, leave work early or use company time to maintain skincare. Of course, this should have no impact on you getting hired so long as you can perform the job required.
Deciding to disclose
Below are some factors to consider if you should disclose your psoriasis condition ahead of time:
- Will your psoriasis limit certain areas of your job? Will you need assistance with certain tasks that are considered part of your job? These are classified as “special accommodations” and will you need help regularly? An example of this could be if you’re working in a warehouse and need to move heavy boxes if you have psoriatic arthritis; would this or could this limit your abilities and require help from a co-worker?
- Are your outbreaks severe enough to be noticed by co-workers or clients? Could this raise a concern for uninformed people? Are you comfortable enough to answer questions about your condition? Are you ok with caring for your skin in common restrooms?
- Could your psoriasis impact job performances at certain times?
- Will you miss an excessive amount of work from psoriatic arthritis flares? Do you need extra days off for medical attention or longer breaks at work for daily skincare? Do you have reoccurring discomfort from your condition that will cause you to leave early frequently?
- Will you have to miss key working hours for treatments, tests or doctor appointments. This is not counting regular visits that most people have but ongoing visits that can cause excessive absence.
- Will you miss excessive days of work repeatedly? Will you exceed sick days, personal days and vacation days?
Think it through
Take a hard, honest look at these questions and make a determination based on the level of severity of your psoriasis. Also, consider what’s happened in the past with jobs you’ve had. People with mild forms of psoriasis may be able to manage better and may not need to mention it. However, if you’re psoriasis is severe or can create scenarios where you will need extra time off, special accommodations or have days when you need to leave early – you should discuss your psoriasis with your new employer. You need to be responsible and full disclosure is professional. This allows your employer to be prepared, and together you can draft contingency strategies should the need arise. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and though embarrassing, a good employer will appreciate your honesty. This will also help ease your stress. Living with psoriasis is stressful enough but hiding the fact you have it is even more stressful. In most cases you’ll find co-workers and clients very supportive and understanding.