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Disclosing disability

Sharing details of your disability

Disclosure in a work and further education context is a formal term for discussing your disability with your employer or college. It means informing your employer (or potential employer) and college, of your disability. You will need to consider whether you wish to share your disability, and if you do, when, and how. Whatever you decide, it’s important to know that disclosure is a personal, individual choice and you have no legal obligation to share your disability.

Some common questions regarding disclosure

Am I required to share details of my disability on an employment application or during a job interview?

No. You are not required to share your disability on an employment application or during a job interview, unless you need a reasonable accommodation for the application or interview process.

 What if I know that I will need a reasonable accommodation to do the job? Then am I required to disclose my disability on an employment application or during a job interview?

No. Even if you know that you will need a reasonable accommodation to do your job, you are not required to disclose your disability on an application or during a job interview.

 If I have two disabilities, do I need to disclose both of them when asking for a reasonable accommodation?

It depends. You are only required to disclose your disability that is related to your reasonable accommodation request. A good example would be : if you had you have bipolar disorder and diabetes, but only need a reasonable accommodation for your diabetes, then when requesting a reasonable accommodation, you need to disclose your diabetes but not your bipolar disorder.

 I’m concerned that I will be lying during a job interview if I do not sharing my disability. Won’t my employer be mad that I didn’t volunteer this information?

This is a very normal concern, but you are not lying by failing to disclose your disability. Consider all of the aspects of your personal life that you do not typically share during a job interview, such as your relationships or your religion. Think of your disability through that same lens.

 Should I disclose my disability on an employment application or during a job interview?

This is a more complicated question. While it is generally considered a best practice not to disclose your disability on an employment application or during a job interview (unless you need a reasonable accommodation), some people with disabilities choose to disclose. Disclosure is a personal decision, and once you should take time to consider. You are not obliged to share your disability but doing so may have benefits for you in the longer term.

 Once I get a job, am I required to disclose my disability?

No. Even when you are an employee, you are not required to voluntarily disclose your disability, unless you need a reasonable accommodation.

Sharing your disability

When applying for a job with a disability, many wonder if they should be sharing this information on their CV or cover letter, however this is not a requirement. Choosing when to disclose your disability is a personal choice, some may wish to share it in a follow up email or conversation once they have been offered an interview, especially if they require any sort of accommodation for the interview itself.

Advice on Disclosing

If you’re unsure on whether to disclose or not, why not answer the 5 questions below taken from The Ahead Disclosure publication.

After reviewing the questions, perhaps you feel you may not need to share this information immediately but you have the option of sharing your situation at a later date.

 What are the benefits to disclosing?

Does your employer need to know about your disability in order to provide reasonable accommodations? Or do they need to know medical information in case something happens?

Examples of reasonable accommodation include:

  • I need a piece of software on my computer.
  • I use Irish Sign Language and need an interpreter.
  • I will need time off for medical appointments.

 What are you going to disclose?

You do not need to share your full medical history, just enough to explain your circumstances that might require reasonable accommodations in your work situation.

 When are you going to disclose?

If you require supports during the interview process, you may wish to share your situation while making arrangements for the interview. In some cases you might not know what accommodations you may require until you start the job, so disclosure can happen at a later point.

 Who are you going to share your disability with?

Not everybody needs to know about your disability, only tell those who need to know and who can help you put the supports in place.

 How are you going to disclose?

Even if you speak to a manager or employer in person, it’s recommended to follow up with an email to create a written record of your disclosure. You may decide to disclose your disability once you have been offered a job or accepted a college place. You can decide who to tell - your manager, HR or your college office and you can also request that colleagues aren't told. This allows you to start the conversation about reasonable accommodations in the workplace or college as required. The important thing to remember is that you don't have to do this on your own, remember you can disclose at different points in either the recruitment or college entry process.

For further information on this topic please see links below:

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