The New York Times

How to Disclose a Disability to Your Employer (and Whether You Should)

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

The invisible nature of my chronic illness protects me from a whole universe of discrimination and microaggressions, but it also insulates me from potential support.

Of course, I acknowledge that my position is a privileged one. Some disabilities announce themselves as soon as a job candidate enters an interview room, along with all of the misconceptions society places on anyone with any degree of difference. I wondered what we’d have to do to help people come out of it empowered and employed.

The issue is as complicated as people are. As with all forms of discrimination, there’s a world between what the law says and how we relate to one another that’s murky and difficult to navigate, even for legal professionals, disability-rights advocates and those long-practiced in explaining themselves to a world not built for them. But there are ways to make it easier, and difficult truths everyone should know.

The cost of staying silent

Perhaps you’ve seen the little self-disclosure boxes on job application forms. Employers are prohibited from directly asking anything about your disability; that puts the onus on the employee or applicant to educate the employer, said Eve

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