Can "gaps in employment" due to bona fide disability (and receiving SSDI) be held against a job applicant by human resources?

Asked about 1 year ago - Kingston, RI

I've been on SSDI for 5-plus years due to major mental health maladies. Some self-righteous, foolish doctors/therapists (along with family members) have suggested or even insisted that I head straight into a regular job anyway (despite symptoms, so as not to be "idle" or "lazy"). After volunteering (unpaid) at a major local institution, I applied for paid positions there many times, and never even landed an interview. Many human resource and career experts have written that, in general, employment "gaps" are often very prohibitive to being hired almost anywhere nowadays. But in those online applications (paper not accepted), I DID identify myself as disabled. Can human resources still hold the gap in employment (now several years, since my condition) against me?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Paula Brown Sinclair

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . Employment is not a right, and employers are pretty much free to set their own standards in the selection of job applicants. An employer can easily articulate important business reasons for choosing one applicant over another. It is not discrimination.

    Best wishes for an outcome you can accept, and please remember to designate a best answer.

    This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.
  2. V. Jonas Urba

    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyer agrees

    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . Forget the gaps! There is no way to fill them after the fact. Apply only to jobs you can do. If you will not be able to do a job with or without reasonable accommodation, don't waste time applying. Figure out what you can do and go for it! In today's super competitive job market if applicants worried about gaps no one would get hired. HR does not care. They want you to prove that you can do the job - nothing more, nothing less. Only you know what you do really, really well. Good luck.

  3. Mikel Edward Lupisella

    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . Ms. Sinclair is correct in that prospective employers can have a myriad of reasons why they choose one applicant over another.

Related Topics


Employment law governs employee pay, non-discrimination policies, employment classifications, and hiring and firing at the federal, state, and local levels.

Discrimination in the workplace

Discrimination in the workplace is when one or more employees are treated unfavorably, based on characteristics like age, race, gender, or sexual orientation.

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