Disclosure is making a disability known or revealing a hidden disability. As employers, we always want to know the disability as soon as possible to make sure that we can support and accommodate what we need to, and comply with our responsibilities under employment and health and safety legislation.
However, it can be useful for employers when thinking about disclosure to consider what disclosure means. Usually we look for the name or category of disability but what does that information really tell us? As responsible employers, we seek to encourage the disclosure of a disability straight away to avoid any potential problems or perceived discrimination, but how can we do that effectively? We should be focusing instead on the impact of the disability on the potential or current employee, how someone with a disability will do the job and what supports and accommodations we can source to bridge the gaps between the impact of the disability and the employee’s performance.
Similarly, the person with a disability is often not sure how to approach their disclosure and worries about how it will be received. They might want to make their employer aware but are afraid of any negative consequences or stigma that might arise. Consider whether your employee has attempted to disclose; was there something on their CV or have they talked about working with a disability charity in a volunteer capacity? They may think that they’ve told you about their disability without being explicit.