Job application question - disability - decline to answer?

Cal's on-line job application has questions about ethnicity, veteran status, and the one I am writing about: do you have a disability?  The choices are Yes, No, or Decline to Answer.  I have been checking "Decline to Answer".  Do you think that is a mistake or affects the application screening?  I have PTSD and see a therapist once a week, going to therapy is the disability accommodation that I would hope to receive.  Thanks for your advice.

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

Whether and how you answer has no bearing on your application. It's for data collection purposes because it is a requirement to collect that data for certain types of employers. 

As an HR person, I appreciate when people answer truthfully so that we can get an accurate idea of how we're doing in our hiring and promotion efforts, but I have no idea whether individual candidates answer and if they do how they answer. That information is kept completely separate from their application and is aggregated separately.

The institution cannot take your replies to the demographic questions into account when making job decisions (or the fact of a disability). As a federal contractor they are required by law to ask you the questions in exactly the way they are stated, and the responses are available only to certain individuals at the institution (not hiring managers). The purpose is for the institution to assess applicant pools compared to national and local availability (e.g., did they conduct sufficient and appropriate outreach to obtain a pool of applicants that reflects the availability of individuals with disabilities for the particular type of job you are applying for), not to consider your individual responses to particular items. If you are formally offered a job you would then indicate that you have a disability that requires an accommodation. By law they cannot press for details, but you would provide documentation of the disability and the modification needed to perform the job. The institution must provide "reasonable accommodations," and your need definitely sounds reasonable.

Best of luck with your job search. Cal is a great place to work.

I wanted to add that by law, no one is required to answer that question, so as anonymous mentioned, it's for data collection. So I'm sure many people decline to state because it's not required, regardless of whether they identify as having a disability or not. UC Berkeley tends to be a pretty inclusive employer. I've worked there for awhile now and I've interacted with several employees with disabilities over the years. Hope this helps.