Question for LEO's and other first responders

FauxLiz

Sponsor
I am interested in applying for a position in Human Resources with a local law enforcement agency. It is a bit of a career shift but focusing on a particular area but I have been working in local government agencies for the past 15 years. One of the requirements for post-offer, pre-employment is a psych exam. My question is, will my Dx of PTSD be a disqualifier from getting hired? I wouldn't be in the field, I wouldn't be in dispatch but I know that I would be working with individuals that respond and see horrific things and may have to assist them with getting assistance.

I don't want to put myself out there if I the chance that I go through all the process and get disqualified in the final processes because I have PTSD already.
 

gealach

MyPTSD Pro
I think the answer to that is going to depend on where the organization is, what its policies are, and what the local/regional/federal laws are. Is there any way for you to find out what results from the exam are absolute disqualifiers? vs relative disqualifiers? or if a mental health diagnosis like ptsd is protected under anti-discrimination laws?

My experience with psych evals for employment is that they're not looking at disqualifying people with a certain diagnosis, they're looking for overall stability, that you're grounded in reality, and that you can mentally handle the job.
 

Friday

Moderator
My question is, will my Dx of PTSD be a disqualifier from getting hired?
You can usually find that info (disqualifying medical conditions) on their jobs page. If they're being discrete by using overly broad terms, or ADA compliant “we welcome all blah blah blah”... use a burner phone if you’d consider applying regardless of the answer, or your own number if is a nonstarter, to call HR and ask if PTSD is a disqualifying medical condition for admin jobs or non-sworn positions.

The ‘generally speaking’ answer, however, is Yes. PTSD is usually on the short list of conditions that will both prevent hiring, and force resignation. Not always. Not in all departments. And not always on paper nor talked about. Nor is there often/always an across the board policy. Like, it’s common practice to send sworn folk into admin roles who have PTSD -or other disqualifying medical conditions- rather than allow early retirement. That way, if they quit, they’re looking at years of legal battles they’ll probably lose, because they were offered a way to remain on the job, and voluntarily chose to leave. But those same admin positions often disallow hiring anyone with those conditions. Either up front, it’s disqualifying -or- it “just” makes you non-competitive. They’re more than meeting special needs quotas by being the dumping ground for other departments, so diversity hires aren’t anywhere in their mission.

Another quirk with LEO/First Response jobs is medication. A lot of departments that have no actual policy on <insert psych conditions here> DO VERY MUCH have a policy about what meds you can be taking... and how long you have to be off of them before you can return to work (or be hired), and what hoops you have to jump through -and how long- in order to work. Ditto, admin often gets stuffed to the gills with medevac pilots, cops, firefighters, etc. who are taking medication that makes it illegal to do their actual job, without firing them or forcing resignation / early retirement.

It all gets very complicated. Even within the same district. Much less once one starts comparing federal, state, & local laws and policies.

The only way you’re really going to know if being diagnosed with PTSD &/or taking any of the meds you may or may not be taking might tank your application? Is to contact them directly.

I think the answer to that is going to depend on where the organization is, what its policies are, and what the local/regional/federal laws are.
Yep!!
 
Last edited:

FauxLiz

Sponsor
if a mental health diagnosis like ptsd is protected under anti-discrimination laws?
@gealach PTSD is a protected disability in the US so it would be protected under anti-discrimination laws, however those laws require that that organization be able to make reasonable accommodations for the employee. I don't know if there are absolute versus relative disqualifiers and I doubt if I could find out what if any those are as the answer could be considered to invalidate the testing.
But those same admin positions often disallow hiring anyone with those conditions. Either up front, it’s disqualifying -or- it “just” makes you non-competitive.
@Friday thank you for the insight, I hadn't thought about individuals being pushed into these types of admin positions because they are asking for specific certifications that are not law enforcement or first responder related so I thought this would likely be more of an opportunity than many others.

I am planning on talking to my T about this during our next session. I think that I am stable, we have done a lot of trauma focused treatment over the last three years and as the position would be removed from day to day exposure I believe that I can manage the position while also managing any symptom flares.
 

Freida

Sponsor
PTSD is a protected disability in the US so it would be protected under anti-discrimination laws
This is true --once you have the job
But it doesn't mean they have to hire you in the first place. It's the whole "we found a better fit" thing to weed people out.

I'm surprised that an HR job would require a psyche eval because technically you wouldn't be working directly with those who are in the field. That might need some investigating.

Do they want to know you won't have issues working with LEO? The ptsd might be an issue - especially with the current backlash against police across the US

Are they looking for someone who is actually working with the boots on the ground and they need to know if you can handle what they see and do every day? Then ptsd might be an issue

Or are they simply looking for if you are the kind of person who won't lie, will show up for work each day, wont share confidential information? Then ptsd probably wouldn't matter.

No matter what you do, don't try to hide it from them. If they are doing a psych then they are probably also doing a background check which is looking for one thing -- will you lie or try to hide things. Background checks can be super invasive, so they will find out about a diagnosis. That's not necessarily a bad thing, especially if your t can back up your stand that you are capable of working even though you have pstd. It could actually help you get the job.

But the worst thing that can happen is getting caught in even a little white lie or omission.
That will automatically disqualify you long before the psych does
 
Top