Youth, Disclosure, and the Workplace Why, When, What, and How (Office of Disability Employment Policy, ODEP)
Every job seeker with a disability is faced with the same decision: "Should I or shouldn't I disclose my disability?" This decision may be framed differently depending upon whether you have a visible disability or a non-visible disability. Ultimately, the decision of whether to disclose is entirely up to you.
Why Disclose in the Workplace?
When you leave school and enter the workforce, many aspects of your life change. Among the many differences, is the requirement to share information about your disability if you want your employer to provide you with reasonable accommodations. In school if you had an individualized education program (IEP), as required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), information about your disability and the accommodations you needed followed you from grade to grade. When you enter the workforce, the IDEA no longer applies to you. Instead, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act protect you from disability-related discrimination and provide for meaningful access. The laws require that qualified applicants and employees with disabilities be provided with reasonable accommodations. Yet, in order to benefit from the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, you must disclose your disability. An employer is only required to provide work-related accommodations if you disclose your disability to the appropriate individuals.