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Disclosure in the Workplace

During the course of your student journey here in Trinity, you may have disclosed a disability in different ways to your course, to student services or to other students.  This may have be done informally by approaching lecturers or students, or formally through a Learning Education Needs Summary from the Disability Service or through your Trinity tutor in some instances.

Disclosure in a work context is just a formal term for discussing your disability with your employers. It means informing your employer, or potential employer, of your disability. You will need to consider whether you wish to disclose 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 disclose your disability. 

If you do decide to talk about it with your employers, you can disclose at any stage of the job application process or you can also disclose after you have started in a job. However, there are a lot of benefits to disclosing within plenty of time; for example, many graduates choose to discuss their disability in order to highlight skills, encourage understanding, and to obtain supports or accommodations. Other reasons can be for health and safety reasons or to secure time off for due to illness or appointments.

Some students say that they don’t need to disclose their disability because they feel that their disability is unlikely to impact them in a particular job; and some people feel they might receive differential treatment within the recruitment process or in the work environment.

It is okay to have views either way. However, it is still a good idea to give it a lot of thought in case you change your mind in the future (for example, if your personal circumstances or employment conditions / tasks change). When discussing your disability, preparation is the key; know what you want to say, and ensure you get your message across clearly.

Please see the AHEAD Booklet on Disclosure, a comprehensive resource, which introduces you to the relevant legislation and provides good examples.

How much information should I disclose?

Again, this is a personal choice and will depend on why you are disclosing. You only need to disclose the details that are necessary for the purpose of receiving supports and as you see fit. You do not need to disclose your whole medical history. However, ensure you provide sufficient information to allow your employer to support you effectively.

Do state clearly how your disability may impact your everyday work and any adjustments that may be required to complete your job effectively. Offer more than a medical term; this will not help your employer support you. Do highlight the skills and attributes you have developed whilst living with a disability. Do help allay any anxieties your new employer may have by describing how you have managed your disability in previous jobs, and within your study.