When you are diagnosed with a disability, you may need to decide whether or not you will disclose it to your employer. You should begin by considering how it will impact your work. Do you need time off? Will it affect your productivity or ability to complete certain tasks?
If you find that your disability is going to have an impact on your job, you may want to disclose it to your employer since it will affect their business and gives them the opportunity to support you.
Going into a conversation with your boss about your disability can be stressful. It’s best to be prepared with the information you need to provide before you begin. Here are some things you should consider before talking to your employer:
Consider your relationship
How personal have your conversations with your boss been? This can help you decide how much information to disclose before you enter the discussion. If you have a close relationship with your boss and feel comfortable with them, you may be able to approach the meeting more openly. If they prefer to keep your relationship strictly professional, keep the conversation about work and remind them that you are committed to continuing to be a good employee.
What details to give
As you discuss your disability, it can help to be up front with what is going on and how it affects your daily life. You can give your exact diagnosis or stick with more general terms like mental disability depending on your comfort level. Consider addressing any assumptions your employer might make about your diagnosis and how you would prefer they address the issue. Tell them whether you are comfortable talking about it with others or if it should remain private.
Job impact and accommodations
If you have already been working with your disability, you likely know how it affects your job performance. Start by reassuring your boss of the tasks and goals you are still able to meet. Make sure that they know you are committed to be a good employee, but also may need new accommodations. Consider how your boss can support you and don’t be afraid to respectfully ask for what you need.
As you prepare to talk with your employer about your disability, it’s always a good idea to review your employment contract and your company’s disability policy. You can also discuss your situation with your doctor, lawyer or other trusted professional to ensure that you are prepared for the conversation and understand your rights as an employee.