Are you required to inform your employer when you have a disability? – Nationwide

If you have a physical or mental disability, is it imperative to report it to your employer?

It is a common question in the workplace that many people with disabilities have, especially if the disability is new to them, invisible to the public, or if they are just entering the world of work.

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According to Annette Burrows, president of the Canadian Association for Supporting Employment (CASE), there is no need to disclose a disability unless specifically related to work.

If part of the job is lifting 30 pounds on a regular basis and this is mentioned in the job description, it is normal for an employer to ask anyone if they can lift the weight while doing interviews, regardless of whether they have one has disability or not. And if a disability prevents you from performing the duty, disclosure may be required.

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But if your disability has nothing to do with the work you do, should you let your employer know anyway?

It depends, says Burrows.

Some, she says, find it helpful because the employer can set up accommodations that make the worker’s job easier.

“There is a duty to adapt. Once a person is hired by a company or employer without the company getting into any significant trouble, they have to find a way to work together to resolve it,” says Burrow. “But sometimes you don’t know what resources are available … So you want to explore your options and avoid undue hardship.”

If the job can’t be saved, another task could be changing position, adds Burrows. However, this is not absolutely necessary.

(It’s important to remember, however, that many of these provisions vary on a case-by-case basis, says Burrows.)

However, others may be afraid to speak up as they fear it will affect how their employer sees them or that they may lose their job.

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While it all depends on the workplace, their culture, and their flexibility regarding disabilities, there is still a stigma in many workplaces that prevents people with disabilities from seeking support or even employment in general, Burrow says.

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According to Statistics Canada, the employment rate of Canadians between the ages of 25 and 64 with disabilities was 49 percent in 2011, compared to 79 percent for Canadians without disabilities.

Of the people with disabilities, 12 percent state that they have not gotten a job in the past five years because of their disability.

Reasons why people with disabilities may not be hired include a lack of understanding of disability and housing issues, cost concerns, and legal obligations, according to Statistics Canada.

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“That’s unacceptable,” says Burrows. “There’s no reason good, skilled people need to be home instead of being in the church. I’m not sure if it is the person who has the disability or the community who has the disability. It shows me more that it’s our community – our perceptions, our preconceived ideas. “

Despite the obstacles remaining, according to Borrows, there are still a few ways people with disabilities can navigate the world of work – from the interview phase to established employment.

If you’re applying for a job or about to be interviewed, it’s up to you whether you want to disclose your disability, says Burrows.

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If you want to, but are concerned that this could affect your chances, take the initiative by explaining to the employer what your disability is and what it means in the interview. Train them, says Burrows, by letting them know how and not how your disability affects your ability.

If you already have a job and for whatever reason you want to let your employer and employees know, suggest organizing a briefing session with your employer and colleagues to educate them about your disability. For example, what is your disability, how does it affect you and what should you do in an emergency?

And when a problem arises, there are people and places to go for advice, says Burrows. For example, your HR department is a good place to start. You can also reach out to a trusted coworker, friend, or family.

For more information on disabilities in the workplace, support and guidance, visit the CASE website here.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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