Disclosing a disability at work is a personal decision that some people may not feel comfortable doing. That’s okay! For those who do decide to, there are many potential benefits of disclosing your disability to your employer, including access to reasonable accommodations and the opportunity to improve workplace diversity. In this blog post, we will explore the process of disclosing a disability at work in the United Kingdom and discuss some of the potential advantages or disadvantages of doing so.
Deciding whether to disclose your disability at work
When it comes to disclosing a disability at work, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Some disabled people may feel more comfortable discussing their needs with their employer early on in the recruitment process, while others may choose to wait until they have been offered the job. 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 may not legally ask disabled jobseekers whether they have a disability unless this question is relevant for carrying out one of the duties in that role.
The law states that employers must make “reasonable adjustments” if they are aware that disabled employees are facing barriers in the workplace. This might include changes to the working environment, such as providing disabled employees with a wheelchair-accessible office or alterations to how job duties are carried out.
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 fulfill their roles and often see disclosure as a positive step towards improving workplace diversity. This doesn’t mean that anyone has to disclose their disability, though, as this may not feel like the right choice for everyone.
When to tell your employer about your disability
There are several different stages of employment that might feel like the right time to disclose your disability:
- In person during an interview or meeting with your manager.
- Via email or letter before starting a new job.
- During training sessions at the start of employment.
- After a prolonged period of time has passed and you feel well established in your role (this may be chosen if you are nervous about workplace discrimination).
Whichever way you choose to disclose your disability, it is important to be clear and concise about what type of support you may need. If this could help you receive support, you could also provide your employer with any documentation or evidence that supports your claim, such as a doctor’s letter or report.
How to tell your employer about your disability
When disclosing your disability to your employer, following these simple steps might help guide you through the process:
- Consider what type of support you may need and why.
- Think about who you would like to disclose your disabled status to at work, such as your line manager or HR representative. You might feel more comfortable talking to someone you know well first.
- Draft a letter or email disclosing your disability and what type of support you would like from your employer. You can find templates for letters and emails on the internet, but it is important to tailor them to fit your individual needs. Make sure to include contact details in case your employer needs further information.
- Arrange a meeting with your employer to discuss disclosure, either in person or over the phone. If you feel comfortable doing so, provide them with the letter or email you have drafted and ask if they would like to see any supporting documentation. Ensure that this is kept confidential and only seen by those who need to know about it.
- If your employer has any questions or wants further information, provide this as soon as possible. Remember that disabled employees have the right to ask for reasonable adjustments at work, and employers must make these if they are aware of a disabled employee’s needs!
To summarise this article, disclosing a disability at work can be a daunting task, but it is often the first step to receiving the necessary support. By taking the time to understand your rights and what type of adjustments may be available, you can feel more confident in disclosing your disabled status to employers. For more information on your rights as a disabled employee, take a look at Careers with Disabilities. For specialist opportunities tailored to your needs, take a look at our live jobs board!