Disclosing your Disability - what this means?
The following is content on this page:
- The Process: from disclosure to reasonable accommodations
- Frequently asked questions
- What medical evidence of a disability is required?
College seeks to create a supportive environment which encourages disclosure with a positive response. Disclosure is welcomed so that the appropriate supports may be provided to enable staff to carry out their work. However, it is ultimately a personal decision whether or not to disclose. The Code of Practice outlines detailed recommendations in relation to disclosing at recruitment stage or when already in employment.
Disclosure of personal and medical information is confidential and no information disclosed will be provided to a third party without consent at any time.
For the staff member:
If you have a disability you are encouraged to discuss your specific needs with your line manager, so that the necessary measures and supports may be put in place to facilitate you in carrying out your work.
Your performance management review (PMDS), for example, may be an appropriate time to discuss any adjustments with your manager.
If you would like further guidance, you may consult with the Director of the College Disability Service or other contacts listed in the Who Can I Talk To? section.
For the manager:
Line managers should respond positively to a disclosure of a disability, whether it be from a newly recruited or existing member of staff. The following are some guidelines:
- Read the Code of Practice and familiarise yourself with your responsibilities and College procedures.
- Consult with the staff member directly and discuss whether any adjustments may facilitate them in fulfilling their position. Do not make assumptions about your employee's capabilities.
- Respect confidentiality at all times.
- Outline the College supports, including the procedure for needs assessment and reasonable accommodation (as detailed in the Code of Practice).
- Seek advice if necessary by contacting one of the Sources of Help listed.
The Process: from disclosure to reasonable accommodations
Supporting staff with disabilities is a collaboration between a number of people, primarily the individual staff member, their manager and the Disability Service. Table 1 outlines the key steps involved. This document elaborates on each step, and provides additional information as appropriate.
Please always refer to the Code of Practice.
Frequently asked questions
Who will see my medical information?
Any documentation or information presented in disclosing a disability is seen and held by the Disability Service, and specific medical or other documentation will not be disclosed to any third party.
What is kept on my personnel file?
If there is a change to the terms and condition of your employment, through the needs assessment process described below, a copy of the reasonable accommodation report will be placed on your file in the Staff Office.
Case Study 1
A staff member has a mental health condition, and has had the condition for several years. It means that there are times when she experiences a flare up of her condition, at which time she needs to manage her workload more carefully, and make sure that she takes exercise. This has not had any impact on her work to date, but she wonders whether she should disclose.
The staff member arranges a confidential meeting with the Disability Service, where the options are discussed. If she does disclose, she could inform her manager of any issues, with a view to finding some accommodations should she experience difficulties in work. She had not disclosed to date because she was afraid of negative attitudes
The Disability Officer outlined the content of the Code of Practice, and explained that staff have had training in the code, thus the staff member can be confident that any disclosure would be met with a positive response. They discussed the pros and cons of disclosing.
The staff member felt that disclosing her mental health condition to her manager would mean that, should she experience any difficulties in the future, these can be managed early, meaning that she is less likely to need time off. Disclosing also means that she feels comfortable accessing support services provided within College.
See the Code of Practice section 3 and 4 for further reference.
What medical evidence of a disability is required?
Staff with disabilities will need to have evidence of disability from a specialist medical practitioner. It is recommended that evidence is provided by the staff member's own medical consultant. College has a 'medical evidence form' to be completed by the relevant medical specialist if required. Evidence from a General Practitioner / Family doctor, or support organisation is not accepted as verification of disability.
It may be necessary for an appointment to be made with an Occupational Health doctor in College; if so, the line manager arranges this, in collaboration with the individual staff member. The Occupational Health service is used primarily in cases where a person has been on sick leave for a period of time and this referral is made by line Manager via Staff Office.
Evidence of disability documentation is required prior to a needs assessment meeting.
See the Code of Practice section 6 and College Sick Leave policy for further details.