Disclosing your Disability

Source: Carleton Career Services

Author/Writer: Canadian Hearing Society, University of Tennessee

Date of publication: 2013


People with disabilities have rights regarding whether, when and how to disclose their disabilities. People with disabilities are not required to disclose their disabilities or state what their exact diagnoses are should they choose to disclose a disability. The only exceptions to this are if the disability interferes with one’s ability to carry out the essential job duties of the position one is applying for and/or if it poses a safety risk. Employers cannot discriminate against people with disabilities during the screening, interview, or employment stages. Despite this, it is important to consider whether to disclose and, if one is planning to disclose, when to disclose because it may affect one’s success in securing a position

Key Findings

When disclosing a disability to an employer, best practices include, but are not limited to providing positive examples of when you have overcome challenges, what skills you have gained from managing a disability and prepare a disclosure script and rehearse it. When disclosing disability, things to avoid include but are not limited to: using complicated medical terminology when describing a disability, unintentionally answering illegal questions about a disability, and leave room for doubt.

Understanding one’s rights regarding disclosing disability is critical as it can be a stressful experience. Not knowing what information is necessary to receive accommodation as well as the possibility of disclosure changing their employer’s attitude towards the employee are two key stressors. This resource provides clarity on the topic, which allows people with disabilities to have greater confidence in how to approach disclosure.

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