It is generally not considered standard practice to disclose a student’s disability in their letter of recommendation unless:
- it is relevant to the position
- work related adjustments are required to ensure equal opportunity in the selection process
- the organization is supportive of equity practices
In some cases, personal information may be revealed if it helps explain a weakness in someone’s application. For example, sometimes there are acceptable circumstances for a gap in someone’s publication record—perhaps a medical condition kept that person out of the lab for a period of time. It is okay to explain that in the letter of recommendation but only after discussing it with the candidate.
Disclosure of disability should not be the central issue of concern in the process of seeking employment. Some employers may reject a candidate. As with all steps in the job recruitment process, the emphasis in applying for employment should be on the skills and experiences of the applicant to meet the requirements of the position.
If you have further questions or concerns about writing a letter of recommendation for a student with a disability, please contact either Career Services at 202-319-5623 or Disability Support Services at 202-319-5211.