Education to Employment Education to Employment

Section 13: Deciding when to disclose my disability at work

This Section provides basic information about deciding when is the best time for you to disclose your disability at work.

When you disclose your disability could be a critical decision and the best time will depend on many factors. This information sheet gives some tips on how and why to disclose at various stages of your employment. Remember that disclosing your disability is not legally required EXCEPT where it affects your ability to perform the 'inherent requirements' of a job, including your ability to work safely.

When? In your letter of application or resume

Reasons to

It is generally not recommended practice to disclose your disability at this point, unless:

  • it is relevant to the industry or position
  • you need adjustments to be made in the selection process and/or
  • you know the organisation is demonstrably supportive and encouraging of employing people with disability.

Tips on how

If you do disclose at this point, consider including the point as part of details about:

  • past achievements
  • personal attributes and/or
  • in relation to specific selection criteria, such as problem solving or people skills.

If you are seeking adjustments as part of the selection process:

  • be as specific and constructive as possible about suggested adjustments
  • offer your assistance in coordinating these adjustments and
  • identify in general terms the types of workplace adjustments you would seek if you got the job.

When? On being offered an interview

Reasons to

You could decide to disclose your disability at this stage because:

  • your disability is visible to others and you want to prepare the interview panel
  • you need adjustments to be made in the interview process and/or
  • you don't want to worry about the issue during your interview.

Tips on how

If you do disclose at this point:

  • plan ahead what to say
  • promote your disability as a positive attribute
  • be as specific and constructive as possible about suggested adjustments for the interview
  • offer your assistance in coordinating these adjustments and
  • identify in general terms the types of workplace adjustments you would seek if you got the job.

When? During an interview

Reasons to

You could decide to disclose your disability at this stage because you'd like to:

  • address any misconceptions about your apparent disability and ability to the job
  • promote the knowledge, strengths, skills and personal attributes you have gained from living with a disability
  • identify any workplace adjustments you would seek if you got the job and/or
  • check out the employers' likely attitude towards your disability.

Tips on how

If you do disclose at this point:

  • plan ahead what to say and rehearse before the interview
  • be prepared for any negative reactions and make a constructive response
  • promote your disability as a positive quality
  • do describe in general terms only the adjustments, if any, you would seek if you got the job and
  • demonstrate your willingness to assist and negotiate with implementing these workplace adjustments.

When? After a job offer

Reasons to

You could decide to disclose your disability at this stage because you'd like to:

  • seek workplace adjustments
  • inform the employer of any disability-related issues that could arise during your employment and/or
  • check out the employer's attitude towards your disability.

Tips on how

If you do decide to disclose at this point:

  • plan ahead what to say
  • be prepared for any negative reactions and make a constructive response
  • promote your disability as a positive quality
  • do describe in general terms only the adjustments, if any, you would seek if you got the job and
  • demonstrate your willingness to assist and negotiate with implementing these workplace adjustments.

When? In the job

Reasons to

You could decide to disclose your disability at this stage because:

  • you'd like to seek workplace adjustments
  • you'd like to inform the employer of any disability-related issues that could arise during your employment
  • you may discover that you need adjustments that you were not aware of before starting the job
  • after getting to know the workplace you are more confident that you can safely disclose your disability and/or
  • you may be struggling to perform the job and need some assistance.

Tips on how

If you do decide to disclose at this point:

  • plan ahead what to say
  • be prepared for any negative reactions
  • ask about how your personal information will be protected
  • offer any information you know of about managing disability in the workplace or specifically about your type of disability in the workplace
  • be prepared to describe in general terms the adjustments (if any) you need and
  • demonstrate a willingness to assist and negotiate with implementing any workplace adjustments.