Elyssa Duncan
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Here’s how and when to disclose your disability to an employer
Last updated: October 6, 2022
Elyssa Duncan
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Here’s how and when to disclose your disability to an employer
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Deciding how and when to disclose a disability to an employer can be a difficult choice to make. Especially if you have a non-visible disability such as PTSD or a brain injury, knowing when to discuss your condition with a potential or current employer can be a real challenge.

If you have a disability that affects your ability to work without accommodation, you are not alone. 55.8% of people with disabilities aged 16 - 64 are employed in the United States alone.

Here are some dos and don'ts of disclosing your disability to an employer effectively and productively.

Do's of disclosing your disability to an employer

DO ask if you need an accommodation on the job

Under the American Disability Act (ADA), you can request an accommodation at any time during the job application process or while on the job as an employee.

If something is preventing you from competing fairly against other candidates during the application phase or a barrier in the workplace is preventing you from performing a job to your full potential - ask for an accommodation.

The purpose of accommodations is to ensure there is a level playing field for all candidates and employees. Even if you check off the self-disclosure box on a job application, employers cannot directly ask anything about your disability, so it's up to the applicant or employee to educate the employer on what they need to succeed.

DO know who to disclose to - find a trusted person to work with

Many workplaces have their own in-house processes for how they handle disability accommodation requests. Check your employee handbook or HR paperwork for the applicable information. If you have an EEO office or a human resources department, they can likely assist you. Before engaging in the conversation, come up with a list of answers to potential questions they may ask, such as:

"What kind of accommodations would you need to complete the job requirements successfully?"

Come prepared with solutions that will allow them to see you can complete the job, with some modifications and assistance when needed.

DO know how to disclose your condition

Preparation is vital when it comes time to disclose your disability. Adequate disclosure requires that you talk about your needs and you provide practical suggestions for job accommodations if needed.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), you only have to let your employer know that you need an accommodation or adjustment at work for a reason related to a medical/personal condition. You don't have to mention the ADA or use complicated terms or phrases. Using easy-to-understand "plain English" to make your request can be the most effective way.

Don'ts of disclosing your disability to an employer

DON’T disclose too late - transparency is key

There is no one "right" time or place to disclose a disability, but it's recommended that you choose a confidential place at a time that allows for enough time to ask and answer questions.

You shouldn't want to wait until after you're up against barriers or experiencing work performance problems to let your employer know about your disability. It's usually more beneficial to disclose your disability and request aids before job performance suffers or issues occur.

It's important to note that employers do not have to rescind disciplinary actions that took place before they knew about the disability, nor do they have to lower performance standards as a reasonable accommodation.

DON'T feel you need to disclose to everyone

Remember, it is your right to keep information about your disability private, and you can disclose it on a "need to know" basis. It's not necessary to inform every single coworker and colleague about your disability or accommodation needs.

Also, your employer is required by the ADA to keep your disability (and medical information) completely confidential and only give it to managers and supervisors when it directly pertains to a situation in which they are involved.


Need more support? Please take a look at our Disability Resource Center for more information.

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Elyssa Duncan
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Comments

Irene Marano

I think it also depends where you work. If you work in an unprofessional work environment it is always better to wait and see .I did work in one and the bosses were the ones that told me what was wrong with everyone . I didn't feel the need to share information because of that .

19w
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marsue rosa

Us the respect and honor we deserve for yall raping and killing our families right in front of our eyes, believe me or not I will open the portal and I am that raging bull bc my dad was a sitting bull and Ricky taught me how to rattle me cage and showed me how to open the gates to he'll, because yall have fuked with our people long enough and he knows when I had enough I take over bc I am that Go Getter raging bull, truebluehealer Redbone so I'll see yall tonight on hollow eve.....Marsue Rosa Gay

48w
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marsue rosa

That sounds real nice but who make sure that they are following those laws and regulations or who make sure that hospitals are I've been through five hospitals in the matter of 1 week and got toss out like I was a slave that just got free and got ownership rights for the first time and never felt so alone and scared for my life so I ran to my God uncle Mac palmer who nurse me back to health and moma blue, I told them how many times they poked me to get blood and how oscher put the heart monitor pads 2on my stomach and 2 on my arms and two on my chess like they where trying to make sure I had a heart attack bc my Ricky gay just pass of cancer and I know what fetynol patch when I feel one, my heart started racing 30 mind after they put that on me after leaving me in a room for two hours that how I know for sure yall killed my daddy Joaquin rosa Albert and Virgina Gay Rhodus ,Margaret Gay and tried to kill me but this one is for my true love Ricky Gay mother fucker you may got him the 2nd time but he gav÷me his heart mother fucker so I'm bring him back from the dead, Bc I'm still here mother fuckers he told yall I'm not going to stop tell yall all pay the toll that I and my husband family had to pay and Hailey I'm coming for you next it's Hallow eve and I'm going to be that Ragung bull the devil warned yall about yall tried to cut my leg off with out even looking at it, that's why I can walk run and fucking slide them back and forth, yall see I am that warrior princess of all tribes and my leaders haha very spoken if yall do not give me what is owed to my people and give

48w
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meena ravee

What if on an application they ask if you have a disability and you have the choice as to whether you disclose it or not, won't the employer suspect something if you refuse to answer?

49w
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Melissa Thomas

This is good information please keep sending articles on this topic so I could receive more knowledge on this subject, thank you.

49w
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Paul Hegwood

I agree with this topic please keep me up to date on employment law.

49w
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victor baca

I fully agree to this policy!

49w
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