How Telling Your Employer About Your Disability Can Actually Protect You

Discussing your disability with another person is a very personal decision. This is especially true when it comes to discussing your disability with your employer. You may feel worried about how your employer will respond and how you will be treated after you disclose your disability. However, it is important to remember that there are legal protections in place for people with disabilities, so telling your employer about your disability can actually be a good thing. 

Understanding the Law

The American Disabilities Act (ADA) specifically prohibits discrimination against a person with a disability in the workplace. According to Drew Lewis, PC, this means that from the hiring process to actually working, an employer cannot discriminate against you because of your disability. If you do face discrimination, you can bring a legal claim against your employer. 

Under the ADA, you are also permitted to disclose your disability or explain the details of your disability on your own time. It is your decision on when to share your disability with your employer. Though it can feel frightening, explaining your situation can be very beneficial to your workplace experience. 

Benefits of Disclosing Your Disability

There are several benefits of choosing to disclose your disability to your employer. A few of these benefits include: 

  • Access to Accommodations: One of the main reasons you may want to tell your employer about your disability is that under the ADA, you are entitled to reasonable accommodations in the workplace. Sometimes, certain tasks at work can feel overwhelming, but a simple accommodation can make it totally doable. Employers only have to provide accommodations if they are aware of your need. Disclosing your disability can lead to accommodations that make your work life much more comfortable. 
  • Greater Understanding: Another benefit of disclosing your disability is that it can help your employer have a better understanding of your situation. Letting your employer know about your disability means that you don’t have to explain or come up with excuses for your behavior or specific needs. Your employer can also be better prepared to accommodate your needs. All in all, if your employer is aware of your disability, it can result in a better work environment and a more understanding employer.  
  • You Can be You: You should not feel like you have to hide your disability when you go to work every day. Disclosing your disability not only allows for your employer to be more understanding, but it allows you to be your authentic self while at work. You don’t have to worry about hiding your disability or repeatedly explaining yourself. Instead, you can focus on excelling at your work, knowing you have access to accommodations and help if necessary.  

Talking to Your EmployerUltimately, the decision of whether and when you disclose your disability to your employer is entirely up to you. Take your time to decide if you are ready. Remember, that there are protections in place so you should not be discriminated against if you choose to talk to your employer. If you do face discrimination, know you have legal options available to bring a claim against your employer. Remember, the goal of disclosing your disability is to help make your work experience better and create an environment where you can thrive.