In 2020, 52.3% of disabled people were in employment compared with 81.1% of not disabled people. It is therefore completely unsurprising that disabled people, who face greater barriers to successful employment, will wonder if they should or shouldn’t disclose their disability during their job search. This is, of course, particularly pertinent when it comes to invisible disabilities.
The unfortunate reality is that there is a huge amount of prejudice and stigma surrounding disabled workers. We are an experienced London recruitment agency, and here we cover the main considerations.
What do you have to do by law?
Knowing your rights is an excellent starting point. It can also help to protect you from discrimination. Importantly, bear in mind:
- Prospective employers cannot ask you disability-related questions apart from for the specific purpose of determining what reasonable adjustments you might need. You may need reasonable adjustments to be able to attend an interview.
- You do not have to tell a prospective employer about your disability.
- Prospective employers are not allowed to discriminate against you during the recruitment process on the grounds of your disability—this is unlawful.
Should you tell your prospective employer about your disability?
While you don’t have to tell your prospective employer about your disability, there are good reasons why you may want to. For example, if you let the hiring manager know about it, then they can ensure reasonable adjustments are made so that you can attend an interview and indeed work in the role. If they don’t know about your disability, they won’t be able to do this. You are also not protected by the Equality Act if you haven’t specified your disability.
You need to weigh this up against any potential discrimination (including unconscious bias) you fear may happen. If you’ve been disabled for a long time, you may have a history of facing discrimination and feel that it’s better to keep your disability quiet, until you have the job. However, do consider if you actually want to work for an employer that you believe may be prejudiced. It’s a tough and very personal decision.
If you want to tell a prospective employer about your disability…
If you’ve decided that you do want to tell a prospective employer about your disability, your next question will be “when?”
Again, this depends on personal factors, such as the nature of your disability and the impact on your ability to attend interviews or carry out the role’s responsibilities. A recruitment agency can be useful here. Your experienced consultant can help you determine the best course of action, and consider the kinds of questions you may be asked about your disability to prepare realistic and helpful responses.
It is worth specifically looking out for employers that are positive towards applicants with disabilities. You can have a positive discussion with them, so that you can bring your skills and aptitude to the table in a way that works for both parties.
Remember to focus on your achievements and the positive ways in which you deal with the impact of your disability. This can help the prospective employer feel that they can be more honest, and that they can work with you to make reasonable adjustments and recognise the benefit of having you as an employee in their workplace.
Our London recruitment agency can help you identify disability-friendly employers and roles. Get in touch on 020 7870 7177.
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