If you do feel comfortable doing so, there are many potential benefits of disclosing your disability to your employer, including access to reasonable accommodations and the opportunity to improve workplace diversity.
You do not have to notify your employer about your disability. There is no legal requirement or rules in relation to disclosure. If you decide to disclose your disability, this choice should be completely your own. The Equality Act 2010 protects all disabled people against discrimination in the workplace. This includes the recruitment or job application process.
Visit our dedicated guide for more information on your rights as a disabled worker.
Deciding Whether to Disclose your Disability
When it comes to disclosing a disability at work, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. It is important to remember that you are not obligated to disclose your disability or to answer any questions about it during the recruitment process. In fact, employers are not legally allowed to ask disabled jobseekers whether they have a disability unless the question is relevant to carrying out one of the duties in that role.
Some people may choose not to disclose their disability at work for fear that they will be seen as less capable than other employees, but this is often not the case. In fact, many employers are happy to make reasonable adjustments to help disabled employees fulfil their roles and often see disclosure as a positive step towards improving workplace diversity.
Potential Benefits of Disclosing your Disability
People With Disabilities are Highly Valued Workers
Just like any non-disabled worker, people with disabilities have the potential to be valuable, talented workers. While it is by no means a necessity, it can be validating to be rewarded for your achievements while being honest about your authentic self. By being open about your disability at work, you can also be a role model to other disabled workers who are having trouble disclosing their disabilities.
Additionally, having a disability may have provided you with unique experiences that could prove highly useful in the workplace. The talents, skills and experience you can bring to the workplace should not be overlooked because of your disability.
Access to Work Scheme
There is funding available if you require specialist equipment or financial support with transport costs or work-related obstacles resulting from a disability. Many employers are unaware of the Access to Work Scheme. By disclosing your disability, you will be able to raise your employer’s awareness about Access to Work and potentially improve your own working environment.
Equal Opportunities Policies
Many employers have made commitments to hire more disabled candidates. Sometimes this may include a guaranteed interview to disabled applicants that meet the minimum criteria for the job. It is also a legal requirement for employers to offer reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process. This could include providing the application form in a different format, or waiving the need for a formal interview. By choosing to disclose your disability, this could help ensure you are not at a disadvantage during the application process.
How Do I Disclose My Disability?
It is not necessary to mention your disability on your CV. It is important to use the limited space on your CV to showcase your skills, talents and experience. It is unlikely there will be sufficient space to qualify your disability and highlight the reasonable adjustments that you require.
However, it can be useful to disclose your disability on your CV if there is no accompanying application form. In this case, using your CV to disclose your disability before the interview or next stage of recruitment is a good option.
For support with writing a stand-out CV, use the Careers with Disabilities CV template.
A cover letter is often sent to a potential employer alongside your CV. The cover letter is a great place to disclose your disability. You can also mention how your disability has helped you to develop certain skills or form a positive attitude towards life. You may also want to highlight the reasonable adjustments that you may require and how the Access to Work Scheme can help fund these.
It is important to bear in mind that the cover letter should focus on your skills relevant to the job. A discussion about your disability should only form part of the letter. For help with writing a covering letter, visit the Careers with Disabilities covering letter template.
Sometimes job application forms ask directly about disability which offers an ideal and straightforward disclosure strategy for disabled jobseekers.
Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form
It is common for employers to ask applicants to fill out an equal opportunities monitoring form. This form is separate to the application form and is often anonymous.
During the interview, you may want to prepare some ways to discuss your disability positively. However, don’t use up all your interview time discussing your disability. The focus of your interview should be on your skills and experience relevant to the job.
Additional Things to Consider
When discussing your disability with your employer, consider what type of support you may need and why. It can also be helpful to think about who you would like to disclose your disabled status to at work. If you don’t want to directly discuss it with your manager, you may be able to disclose your disability to your HR representative. You might also feel more comfortable talking to someone you know well first.
If you’re asked to provide any supporting documentation, ensure that this is kept confidential and only seen by those who need to know about it.
For more information, take a look at our full guide on disclosing your disability at work, or take a look at our top interview tips at Careers with Disabilities! Additionally, our live specialist jobs board has opportunities from disability-inclusive employers all over the UK.