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Be Your Own Best Advocate: Making Decisions about Disability Disclosure

In Advocacy, Employment Articles, Featured, News by eri

Getting a job and keeping a job is, you might say, hard work. The process of pursuing employment involves many situations where you really have to put yourself out there, show your talents, and be proud of what you have to offer. When you have a disability, the extra thing you need to think about is if and how you would like to share disability-related information with the employer. When thinking about disclosure, the important thing to remember is that the answer is entirely UP TO YOU.

What Do You Need to Be Successful?

As you think about whether or not to disclose your disability to your employer, consider what you need to be successful in the job. Are there certain accommodations that would allow you to complete the work more effectively and efficiently? Most job accommodations are simple and inexpensive for the employer to put in place. Don’t hesitate to communicate what you need to be able to get the job done.

Disclosure Could Be an Opportunity

Strong communication is a valuable skill set in all work settings. Disclosing your disability and requesting a job accommodation are both great opportunities to improve your ability to communicate with an employer about your work-related needs. If disclosing is the right decision for you, it can be done in many different ways:

  • Some people include a brief statement about their disability in a cover letter attached to their resume. There are certain employers, like some federal government contractors, who have identified a goal of hiring a certain percentage of people with disabilities in their workforce. In these cases, disclosing early on in the hiring process may give a competitive advantage.
  • Another option is to wait until you have started the job to see what job accommodations may be needed, then discuss those needs and possible solutions with your supervisor.

Non-Disclosure May Be the Right Choice for You

There are many individuals with disabilities who choose not to discuss their disability with their employer. Not disclosing can be the right choice for a wide variety of reasons, including when someone believes that workplace adjustments or job accommodations would not be necessary for him or her to be an effective employee.

You Don’t Need All of the Answers Right Away

It can be a process to figure out what is right for you. Learning takes time. Don’t feel pressure to have all of the answers right away. And never forget that it is the whole you that makes for an exceptional job candidate.

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