How & When to Disclose Your Disability With Your Employer (video)

This video goes over the basics of disclosing disabilities under Title I of the ADA

Video Transcript

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Hello, Scout the Service Dog here. Today, I'd like to talk to you about a person's options when disclosing a disability.

Determining if and when to disclose a disability can be a difficult decision, especially for those with hidden disabilities, such as brain injury or PTSD, like my friend Daniel here.

Someone may consider disclosing a disability when starting a new job, transitioning from school or unemployment, or retaining a job after acquiring a disability.

(horn tooting) (bell dinging)

Generally, a person should disclose their disability when they need to request a reasonable accommodation for the workplace.

Under the ADA, a person can request an accommodation at any time. This could be during the application process or while employed.

An accommodation request may be made even if a disability was not initially disclosed during the application process or after receiving a job offer.

A person has no obligation to disclose a disability if it is not affecting job performance, and employers are not allowed to inquire if a person has a disability or medical conditions.

Many employers have their own in-house procedures that detail how they handle accommodation requests. This may often be found in an employee handbook, an EEO Office or human resources department can assist with disability disclosure and accommodation requests. If that isn't available, a person can talk to a manager or supervisor directly. 

For an employee, making an accommodation request should be pretty straightforward. Plain English can be used to make a request and there is no need to mention the ADA or use the phrase "reasonable accommodations" specifically. Once a disclosure has been made, the interactive process should begin.

At this point, the employer can ask for limited information about the disability and the need for accommodations. Information about a person's disability should be kept private.

The ADA requires employers to keep disability and medical information confidential. Such information should only be given to managers and supervisors on a need to know basis.

It is important to note that employers do not have to reverse any disciplinary actions that may have occurred before they knew about the disability.

Employers are also not obligated to lower performance standards as a reasonable accommodation. Therefore, it is ideal that a person with a disability discloses and requests accommodations before job performance suffers or conduct problems occur.

(horn tooting) (bell dinging)

Well, that does it for me folks. Time to clock out.

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