Many people suffer from a painful disease known as gout, which attacks their joints causing painful inflammation. In addition to severe arthritis, gout can precipitate the destruction of joints and kidney functioning. Gout is mentioned frequently in medical recordings throughout history. The symptoms of gout can sometimes lead to problems in the workplace such as absences due to illness, or a decreased ability to perform jobs requiring manual labor. Female job seekers with gout have a legitimate concern about their viability as a job candidate.
Gout is a disease that is not noticeable to others, so it may be tempting to not bring up your condition during an interview. This is not advisable because your condition may require a few accommodations and you do not want to blind side your new employer on your first day. During the interview it is best to turn the negativity of your condition into a positive by highlighting the attributes that you are bringing to the company. You can discuss the fact that some simple modifications such as an ergonomic workstation, arm supports on a work chair, and periodic rest breaks will help make you more productive for them. Despite this, there is still the possibility that your condition will be seen as a major issue, and you could be denied employment. This may happen if the job requires constant standing, physical exertion or manual dexterity. These are things that unfortunately you cannot do with a gout diagnosis.
Asking for Accommodations
Although certain occupations are out of reach for someone with gout, such as airline pilot or paramedic, there are many more that are on the cusp. These jobs can be performed by a gout sufferer with the help of a few accommodations. If you feel that an employer likes you but is hesitant because of your diagnosis, you may want to gently suggest that they review Americans with Disabilities Act to discover how simple and inexpensive accommodations can work for the both of you. Knowing your physical limitations is crucial so that you can convey them to the interviewer. Perhaps your gout symptoms are periodic, let the employer know this so that they know you will be at work most days. Ask if there is an option to telecommute on the days that your gout impairs driving. These conversations should be had during the second or third interview or even after you receive a job offer. If your future employer asks about the extent of your illness during the first interview then by all means be truthful, but you do not want to make demands prior to the employer showing interest in you.
Working With Gout
If you succeed in finding employment, you should monitor your gout to ensure minimal work interruption. Gout is sometimes manageable with some lifestyle changes and medication. Letting your coworkers know about your condition may minimize any workplace hostility regarding special treatment. It is also advisable to notify your employer about doctor’s visits well in advance so that they can schedule accordingly. Stress can sometimes cause flare-ups of illnesses, so keeping your stress levels minimal may make your job more enjoyable. Consulting your doctor about a course of treatment that is workplace-friendly is also advisable, so that you can maintain a good work profile.
If you are experiencing issues with finding and keeping employment because of frequent gout flare-ups, you may consider applying for disability benefits. The U.S. Social Security Administration has guidelines regulating which illnesses qualify for disability benefits. The administration classifies gout as inflammatory arthritis and approves it as a disability if it is chronic and affects a major joint which prohibits normal day-to-day activities. The administration’s website has a detailed listing of requirements that you can review with your doctor. You can also appeal any employment denials under the Americans with Disabilities Act if you feel that your condition was the cause of the rejection. Although it may be difficult to prove in the case of gout, an employer cannot reasonably deny you employment based on a disability, if you can perform the tasks in question.
Adele Burney started her writing career in 2009 when she was a featured writer in "Membership Matters," the magazine for Junior League. She is a finance manager who brings more than 10 years of accounting and finance experience to her online articles. Burney has a degree in organizational communications and a Master of Business Administration from Rollins College.