Disclosure means informing someone or to make the information known, in this case to the employer or your college, about your disability, specific learning difficulty or mental health difficulty.
Deciding to disclose is your choice and often the decision to disclose or not is made on the basis of;
- weighing up the benefits of reasonable accommodation
- workplace considerations and the environment
- awareness against the cost of labelling
- potential discrimination or differential treatment
It is important to remember, that if you do not disclose, then the employer or college is not legally obliged to provide you with any supports or reasonable accommodation. Read the Legal Entitlements section for more information on this along with examples of different kinds of reasonable accommodations.
Advice on Disclosing
If you’re unsure on whether to disclose or not, why not answer the 5 questions below taken from our Disclosure publication. After reviewing the questions, perhaps you feel you may not need to disclose immediately but take into account your environment and/or disability could change …
We recognise the term disclosure can mean different things to different people and its meaning changes by the context. Disclosure is often defined as ‘the act of making something known’ that may have been previously private or a secret. From our engagement with students and graduates with disabilities, they feel the word ‘disclosure’ can be perceived as negative, which may not align with how they feel about sharing their disability or identity with an employer.
Using the word disclosure has particular connotations in the legal framework, when we use the word disclosure in the context of a work or education environment, we define it as: ‘informing or telling someone about your disability’
- They need to know medical information in case something happens
- I need a piece of software on my computer
- I use Irish Sign Language and need an interpreter
- I will need time off for medical appointments
If you are not sure what you might need, check out our reasonable accommodation section or get advice from your disability organisation
If you request a reasonable accommodation, you will need to give some explanation or background and explain why you need it. This doesn’t have to mean they need to know your full medical history but they only need to know relevant and useful information.
Depending on your answers to the first two questions, it will shape when you might have to disclose. For example, if you are going to an interview, you may need to tell them before the interview that you will require an accessible room or perhaps an interpreter if you are a sign language user.
Not everybody needs to know about your disability, only tell those who need to know and who can help you put the supports in place.
It is always best practice to follow up your request with an email if it was done verbally so there is a written record and clarity on both sides and be specific about your request.
There is loads more information in our free Disclosure publication which is available to download here by clicking here. It also includes a self-assessment questionnaire to help you remember what supports you used previously and what did work and what didn’t.