Disclosure is the decision to, and the process of, telling someone (in this case an employer or recruiter) about your disability.
If you can perform the inherent requirements of a position disclosure is not mandatory and you may choose not to.
For the majority of people who are blind or vision impaired, it is not possible to conceal our disability; it is made obvious by the use of a white cane, dog guide, other mobility aids, pieces of technology we use and countless other factors.
However, we do still need to consider the ‘when’, the ‘how’ and the ‘what’ to disclose.
When to disclose your disability
When to disclose your disability is a personal choice and there is no right or wrong answer and no one size fits all solution. If you are applying for a role that relates directly to working with people with disability, disclosure at the application process may benefit your application, however in other cases it may not.
If your vision impairment is such that you require the use of a mobility aid such as a white cane or dog guide, you may not have a choice but to disclose when you turn up for the interview.
If, however, you do not use a mobility aid your vision impairment may not be immediately obvious to your potential employer. You are left with a choice; you may choose to disclose your vision impairment at the interview, once you accept an offer of employment, or not at all.
If you feel you can perform the inherent requirements of the job without reasonable adjustments, you may not be required to disclose your disability at all. However, if you do require reasonable adjustments you will need to tell your employer some details about your disability.
- How your disability will likely affect your ability to perform work related tasks
- What reasonable measures you require to be put into place to enable you to perform the role.
You do not need to disclose how you acquired your disability or specific information about any treatment you are, have, or may receive for it. You do not need to discuss how your disability affects you outside of work.
How to disclose your disability
Again, this is a matter of personal choice and one that you may need to reconsider for each application.
Disclosing during the application process
Depending on the position you apply for you may wish to tell the employer during the application process. You may reference your lived experience of disability in relation to a selection-criteria, or perhaps a job is ‘identified’ and therefore only people with disability can apply for it.
There are pros and cons to disclosing your disability at this point. The main one being that if an employer chooses not to interview you for the role, you cannot be certain whether it is related to your disability.
If you choose not to disclose your vision impairment during the application process, you may be confronted with online testing or skills assessments as part of the recruitment process.
It is possible these tests and assessments may not be accessible to you. This again leaves you with a choice: you can call the employer to discuss your accessibility needs, you could find someone to assist you with completing the testing, or you may choose to abandon the application altogether due to the inaccessibility of the recruitment process.
Disclosing during the interview
If you’ve made it through the application process, the next step is generally an interview. If your interview is face to face your disability may be obvious because of your use of mobility aids and assistive technology.
If, however, your interview is over the phone or internet you may again be left with a choice of whether or not to disclose.
Resources about disclosure
There are lots of resources and articles that relate to the disclosure of disability in Employment. It might be worth reading a few of these to give you some different perspectives on disclosure, and then have a think about what works for you to make you feel comfortable during the application process or interview.
You may also wish to check out the BCA Employment Suite of policies for additional information and resources that may be useful in your search for work.