Work-Based Learning

Your rights and responsibilities at work

  • Let's talk about some rules for work.

    Your Rights and Responsibilities at Work

    The Law provides both rights and responsibilities for people at work. Rights are things that the law provides to you or things they allow you do. Responsibilities are things that you have to do in order to get those rights.

  • Work experience is great!

    What are my rights as a person with a disability applying for a job?

    PROMISE offers you opportunities to try jobs. Some of these jobs will be paid and some will not be. Remember, the point of trying these jobs is to help you figure out what to do as a career. If you are not getting paid, think of the job like going to school. You still have to show up and work hard.

    Other times you might be working at a job where you do get paid. When that happens, you might have special rights because you are young or because you have a disability. There are certain rights all workers get. Let's look at what some of these rights are in New York State.

  • Let's talk about the ADA.

    Your rights as a person with a disability who is working

    Because of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), people with disabilities have certain rights when they are applying for a job or when they are working. But to have these rights, your disability has to be something that changes how you do things every day. If you just have the flu or a broken ankle, this probably wouldn't mean you have a disability. But if you have, for example, an intellectual disability, a psychiatric disability, or use a wheelchair, then you probably would have these rights.

  • Do I have to talk about my disability?

    What are my rights as a person with a disability when I’m working?

    Employers must give you a chance to fill out the job application.

    Your employer can't tell you they won't let you apply for the job because you have a disability.

    Employers must make a change in the job application if you need it because of your disability.

    If you use a wheelchair, your employer must let you use an accessible location. If you are blind or having trouble reading printed pages, then the employer must let you fill out the job application in a different way.

    Employers must let you choose if you want to tell them about your disability.

    Your employer can't make you talk about your disability if you don't want to. You can decide each time you apply for a job whether or not you want to talk about your disability. During Career Planning and Preparation you will work with your PROMISE team to think through how and when you want to disclose.

  • Who can see my school records?

    Are my school records private?

    Can anyone see my grades?

    If you are under 18, your parents can see your grades. But no one else can unless you give permission.

    But what if an employer asks for my grades?

    Sometimes employers want to see your gades and what classes you took. Usually, this means you or your parents have to sign a form called a "release" to give them your permission to see your school record.

    What about if I'm over 18?

    Then, you are an adult. No one can see your school record unless you give them permission.

    So should I put grades on my resume?

    You don't have to put grades on your resume, but you can if you want. Some people put the average of all of their grades, called a grade point average (GPA), to show how well they have done. Even if you decide to put some classes you've taken on your resume, you still don't need to show your grades. Think this through with your PROMISE team during Career Planning and Placement.

    The law that gives you this right is called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). If you want more information about this, go to

  • Is that discrimination?

    What do I do if I think I’ve been discriminated against at work?

    Call the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) if you think you’ve been treated worse than others at work because of your race, color, sex, disability, religion or country you came from.

    If you want, you can talk with your PROMISE team before you make this call. Or you can ask them to call for you. Be ready to tell them exactly what happened and when. This call is free. 800-669-4000 or if you need to type instead of talk you can call 800-669-6820 (TTY).

    To find out more, go to

  • How can I make sure I’m safe when I’m at work?

    Most employers try hard to keep their employees safe. There are certain things you have to do, and certain clothes or equipment you might have to use to stay safe at work. These are different for each job.  

  • I don’t think that’s a good idea!

    If you think something isn’t safe, say so!

    Even if everybody else is doing it…Even if you’re afraid you might look stupid.  If you feel like you or somebody else at work could be in danger, do something.  Tell your boss.  Tell your co-worker.  Tell your PROMISE Case manager.

    Be sure to tell your PROMISE case manager if you feel in danger at work!

  • Follow all the safety rules

    Following safety rules is important for everybody! Make sure you follow all rules about using equipment, wearing clothes or hard hats. If you’re not sure about what the rules are, it’s your responsibility to ask. To find out more, go to

  • Here’s what I expect...

    How can I make sure I do a good job?

    Make sure you know what your boss expects of you at work. If you’re not sure, ask your boss. If you know what expectations your employer has, it is much easier to do a good job at work. Your PROMISE team can help you to ask your boss about this every time you start a new job or work experience. But, you should practice doing it on your own so you will know how to talk to your boss after you leave the PROMISE program.

  • I’m not feeling well today...

    Call if you can’t make it to work or if you’ll be late

    Your employer has a right to know if you have to miss work because you’re sick or if you have to be late for any reason.   If you have appointments, try to schedule them for when you’re not working.  Know what do to if you’re sick or late.  Who should you call?  When do you need to call? 

    Your PROMISE team can help you figure this out and put the number in your phone.

  • Plan how you’re going to get to work

    It’s your responsibility to get to work. Work out a plan to get to work with your PROMISE team before your first day. If you need to adjust your work times because of para-transit, talk with your boss. This would be an example of an accommodation that you need to have because of your disability.

  • I think I need to tell my boss about my disability.

    Decide if you want to talk about your disability

    For each job you apply for, decide whether you want to discuss your disability or not. Don’t forget to use your PROMISE experience and team to help you think this through. If you do want to talk about your disability, decide when you will do it.

    You still have a right to an accommodation even if you didn’t tell your boss about your disability when you applied for the job.

  • You’re responsible for taking your medicines

    Your teachers may have helped you take your medicines. But your employer doesn’t, and shouldn’t, do this. If you need to take medicines at work, find a way to do this. If you need a short break to take your medicines, talk to your boss. Your PROMISE team can help you think through your options.

  • I think I need a stool to sit on at work.

    Need an accommodation? Think about what you need

    You have a right to a change in your job because of your disability.  This is called an accommodation.  Your boss probably won’t know you need an accommodation unless you ask for it.  Before you ask, think about what kind of accommodation you need.  Be ready to tell why you need it and how it would help you do your job better.   You should have thought this through during the PROMISE Career Planning and Preparation classes.  

    You can also check in with your PROMISE team for each new job or work experience to make the best choice for you.

  • I might have some ideas!

    How can my PROMISE team help?

    To learn about ways you might do things differently because of your disability, you can talk to your PROMISE team. There is another resource called the Job Accommodation Network that has a lot of experience with this as well. You can call them at 800-526-7234 or go to Click on the disability you have and get some ideas for accommodations.

  • Provide any medical documents that your employer needs

    Your boss might ask for some medical information so they can find a good accommodation for you. This might mean you need to see a doctor to get this information. The employer will pay for this doctor visit, but you might have to make the appointment. Get this medical information as quickly as you can and turn it into your employer.

  • Let’s make a plan to talk to your boss!

    Don’t wait too long!

    If you are having trouble doing your job because of a disability, don’t wait until things get really bad to ask for an accommodation. Ask for it so you can keep doing a good job.

  • Let’s see if you remember the key points!


    Your need to have working papers to have a job if you are under 18.


    TRUE. You have to get working papers to work under the age of 18. You can speak to your PROMISE case manager or the guidance counselor at your school about getting those papers.

    The ADA protects women from discrimination at work.


    FALSE. The ADA protects people with disabilities from discrimination at work. In order to be protected, your disability has to be something that changes how you do things every day.

    If you want an accommodation at work, you have to tell your employer about your disability.


    TRUE. If you need to do something differently at work in order to be your best, you have to tell your boss about your disability. you don’t have to use any legal jargon. just say “because of my medical condition or disability, I need to do a part of my job differently.” your employer may ask for information from your doctor in order to understand how they can help.

  • Let’s review this chapter!


    There are laws that help to you understand what your rights and responsibilities are at work. 


    If you want to work when you are younger than 18 years old, you have to get working papers.  Your PROMISE case manager or the guidance counselor at your school can help.


    The Americans with Disabilities Act says people with disabilities shouldn’t be treated differently at work.  You have a right to:

    • Apply for a job.
    • Decide when to tell your boss about your disability
    • Ask for an accommodation at work. An accommodation is something that lets you do your job in a way that works for you.

    If you feel that you have been discriminated against at work because of your disability or another reason (race, color, sex, religion, or the country you are from), you can talk to your PROMISE case manager or you can call the EEOC at 800-669-4000.


    Your grades are private.  If you are under 18, only your parents can see your grades without your permission.  If you are over 18, no one can see them without your permission.


    Safety at work is everyone’s job.  Follow all safety rules and if you don’t think part of your job is safe – tell someone.


    You have some responsibilities at work as well:

    • Ask your boss what he expects for you so you know what doing a good job looks like.
    • Call in to work if you will be late or need to stay home.
    • Think through and plan how you will get to work on time.
    • Decide if you want or need to tell your boss about your disability. Your PROMISE case manager can help you think through how and when to tell.  They can also help you think about what kind of accommodation you might need.  Don’t wait until it’s too late to ask for what you need to do your best work.
    • Take care of your health.
      • If you have medicines you need to take, set a reminder so you can remember.
      • If you decide to ask for an accommodation and your employer asks for information from the doctor, ask your PROMISE case manager to help you get them.



  • Chapter complete!