Should I Disclose My Disability?

Written by CWD Editor
Last updated Monday November 16 2020

The decision to disclose your disability to your employer is entirely up to you. However, there are numerous potential benefits in doing so.

With disabled people finding it twice as hard to get employment as non-disabled people, it’s no surprise that people don’t want to put that under threat. That is especially so if your disability is non-visible; you may feel like disclosing is entirely necessary.

Your rights

Although it may feel like a risk to disclose your disability, you are entirely in your rights to do so. The Equality Act 2010 is comprehensive in its protections for disabled people in the workplace.

In the Act, you are both protected from direct discrimination and any discrimination arising from disability. This also classifies the decision to refuse reasonable adjustments for a disabled employee as discrimination.

Access to Work

It is challenging for an employer to know what an individual needs to make their job accessible. It may seem like you are imposing effort onto your employer by expressing your needs, but the reality is that it is far more difficult for your employer to guess.

Additionally, the government’s Access to Work scheme covers any adjustments needed as a result of your disability. Therefore, you can disclose your disability without fear of any financial repercussions on the business.

Legal help for discrimination

Despite the majority of businesses in the UK actively trying to support their disabled staff, there are still some cases of discrimination. This discrimination can come in many forms and is often not direct.

Knowing your rights within the workplace is essential to protect yourself against discrimination. Also, there is a wide range of organisations and systems to support you.

Reasonable adjustments

What the Equality Act considers a reasonable adjustment is not always agreeable across all parties. This is because the wording of the Act states something as inaccessible if it causes substantial disadvantage. This is a somewhat subjective term.

In addition, the employer doesn’t have to make a change if it is an essential part of the job. For example, they can’t adjust the result of the work itself, only how to attain that result.

However, if anything physical or practical within the role or workplace is giving you a significant disadvantage compared to your colleagues, it counts under the Act. Therefore, that would be considered a reasonable adjustment for the employer to make.

Even if you understand that you are entirely legally protected, and in the right about any reasonable adjustments, you may still feel uncomfortable. This is often the result of a non-inclusive company culture that is in itself discriminatory.

Starting a conversation within the workplace about the company culture could do wonders, and you are likely to find that many others feel the same way. Around 20% of the working-age population have a disability, so you are almost certainly not alone.

For further assistance, seek help in your area.

Last Updated: Monday November 16 2020

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