Declaring a Disability to an Employer

Disability & Employment
If you are disabled and looking for work then it is not an obligation for you to tell the potential employer beforehand that you are disabled but before making the decision there are some things that you should take into account.

There are very good reasons for telling the employer about your disabilities because you have certain rights in the workplace due to your disabilities. The disability discrimination act is there to protect a disabled person, which means it is against the law for an employer to discriminate against you in recruiting and choosing an applicant for the job.

Under this act the employer has to consider making reasonable adjustments to the workplace to accommodate the disabled person if need be.

If you choose not to tell the potential employer about your disability then a tribunal could decide that the employer was right in failing to make adjustments if you encounter problems, because your employer didn’t know of your needs beforehand.

When to declare your disability

Bear in mind these points when deciding whether or not to tell a potential employer about your disability.

* If you are asked outright in an interview about your health or any disabilitie’s then you must answer honestly.

* If you fill in any forms and sign a declaration that you do not have a disability then you could face legal problems later.

* Some application forms ask outright questions concerning disability you must answer all the information honestly and give details of the important points regarding your disability.

* Explain how your disability might affect the work you are applying for.

* Focus on your good points and why you are best suited for the job.

* If you feel your disability could help you and have a positive affect in the particular job then state why.

Going for the interview

If you are asked to attend an interview for the job then makes sure the person holding the interview knows of any help you might need such as an interpreter or help needed with access to the building. For instance if the interview is to be held on the top floor is there suitable access for a wheelchair?

The employer will respect you more if you are up front and honest with them in the first place and although it is not a legal requirement for you to disclose your disability beforehand it is much easier if the potential employer or interviewer is prepared.

The interview time should be spent on why you’re the right person for the job not having to answer questions about your disability when you could have answered these questions beforehand so being upfront is always a good idea.

Many employers now have excellent equal opportunities policies regarding the disabled so you may feel more at ease during an interview if this has been discussed beforehand.

What you can do if you think you were treated unfairly

If you think you were unfairly treated during the interview because of your disability then you can make a complaint to an employment tribunal, the tribunal will then:

* Look into the case and decide if they think the employer treated you unjustly and against the law.

* Give recommendations to the employer, for example ask the employer to rethink and employ you or change its policy.

* Ask that the employer pay you compensation.

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