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Talking about your disability or conviction

Employers may ask you to disclose your disability, so that they can help you at work. However, it's up to you if you want to.

Here are some things to consider, to help you decide:

  • Does your disability impact you or your work colleagues? If so, you may have to tell your employer, to make the workplace safe for everyone
  • Do you need any adjustments to help you at work?
  • Once you've told an employer about your disability, you're protected by the Equality Act. This means your employer must take reasonable steps to provide the adjustment you need for your disability.

The Equality Act

The act covers you if you have a physical or mental health disability that has a 'substantial' and 'long-term' negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

This includes:

  • Physical, mobility and sensory impairments
  • Cerebral palsy, visually impaired and hearing impairments
  • Dyslexia, mental health conditions, asthma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer (including those in remission) and HIV.

All employing organisations (except the armed forces) and professional bodies are covered by the act.

If you feel you have been discriminated against, talk to your employers about your needs. If this doesn't help, organisations such as ACAS, Citizens Advice and the Equality and Human Rights Commission can provide advice.

Telling your employer about your disability

You can talk about your disability with regards to how it would affect your job.

This can be at:

  • Application stage - mention it, if it will affect the role you are applying for
  • Pre-interview stage - if your disability means that you need some adjustments, then let the employer know as soon as you can
  • In the job - you may decide to disclose your disability once you've been offered the job or when you start work. You can decide who to tell, your manager or HR and you can also request that colleagues aren't told. If your condition affects the way you work, it may be helpful to be open with colleagues so they understand and can help you with anything you may need.

Don't assume they’ll have a negative attitude. Your experiences and skills may give you the edge over other individuals.

Avoid focusing the whole of your application or interview on the issue of your disability. Your main focus should be on showing the employer your suitability for the job.

Reasons for not telling your employer

You may not need to divulge your disability if you feel that it does not affect your ability to do the job. Our online advisors can talk through the best options for you.

Reasonable adjustments

Employers have a duty to make 'reasonable adjustments' in the workplace.

Examples include:

  • Allowing flexible working hours
  • Using modified equipment, such as a screen reader or a textphone
  • Making physical adjustments to premises
  • Providing instructions and manuals in accessible formats
  • Providing a clear job description and task assignments
  • A gradual induction process
  • A transfer to another place of work or post of equal standing.

Access to Work provides grants to disabled people so they can do their job effectively.

This covers:

  • Specialist equipment
  • Disability awareness training for work colleagues
  • A communicator at a job interview and in work.

Remember you may be the most knowledgeable person when it comes to your particular disability. Working with your employer, you may be able to find a very simple solution with little or no disruption or expense.

Convictions

Having a criminal conviction can cause a lot of worry.

You may be thinking:

  • “Will it affect my chances of getting a job?”
  • “How do I tell an employer about my conviction?”

For more information, help and support, chat with us online today.