Employment situations can present a tricky situation for someone with a medical condition such as Parkinson’s disease. One big decision for employees with physical, emotional, or mental conditions is whether and when to disclose to employers or coworkers their condition and what accommodations they may need to do their job. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides certain protections against discrimination for employees who disclose their conditions to their employers, who are then required to make “reasonable accommodations” to allow the person to do his or her job. However, ADA protections apply only if the employee has disclosed a disability or health condition to the employer. Even then, some restrictions may apply. For part one of a two part series on Talking to Your Employer about PD, occupational therapist Julia Wood of the Dan Aaron Parkinson’s Rehabilitation Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, discusses when and how to talk with an employer, how to prepare before having the conversation, documenting it, and the decision to also reveal one’s condition to coworkers.
- Living with Parkinson’s: Sources of Rights
- When & How Should I Talk to My Employer and My Coworkers?
- Managing Parkinson’s: Keeping the Lines of Communication Open
About This Episode
Released: June 18, 2019
Julia Wood, MOT, ORTL
Julia Wood completed a clinical internship in inpatient neurological rehabilitation at Mayo Clinic Hospital, St. Mary's Campus in Rochester, MN. Julia specializes in treating neurological movement disorders and neurodegenerative conditions at the Dan Aaron Parkinson's Rehabilitation Center at the University of Pennsylvania Parkinson's disease and Movement Disorder Center of Excellence at Pennsylvania Hospital. She also serves in interdisciplinary clinics for patients with atypical Parkinsonism, Huntington's disease, ALS and those considering deep brain stimulation. Julia serves as occupational therapy faculty for the Parkinson’s Foundation ATTP program and as training and certification faculty for the LSVT BIG program. Julia acts as an ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation and serves as a facilitator for PD SELF, educating newly diagnosed people with PD in self-efficacy to promote quality of life. She holds certifications in Allied Team Training for Parkinson's®, LSVT BIG, Parkinson's Wellness & Recovery (PWR!), GYRO TONIC ®, G YRO KIN ESIS ® and Pilates. She received her BS in Exercise Science and Wellness from Ball State University and a in occupational therapy from the University of Minnesota.
For all of our Substantial Matters podcast episodes, visit parkinson.org/podcast.
For more insights on this topic, listen to our podcast episode “Talking to Your Employer About PD Series Part 2: Disability Inclusion and Accommodation at Work."