Disclosing in the Workplace

“When we experience success, we are more ready to persevere despite the difficulties.” – Dys expert, Interviewed by Eurocultura (Italian Project Partner, 2023)

Disclosing one’s disabilities in the workplace refers to the act of informing one’s employer or colleagues about their disability. There are many reasons why workers and jobseekers inform current and potential employers of their disabilities, such as to request accommodations, seek support, or simply to raise awareness within workplace.

According to an Accenture survey, 20 percent of respondents, who are employees with disabilities in the United States, do not feel their workplace culture is fully committed to helping them thrive and succeed. However, Accenture’s research found that employees who do disclose their disability at work are 30% more engaged — in terms of career satisfaction and aspirations, confidence, and a sense of belonging — than those who don’t (Hennborn, Laurie, 2021).

There are both advantages and disadvantages that can be associated with disclosing your disability in the workplace. 

The advantages of disclosure within the workplace include receiving better support from employers by means of additional resources such as assistive technology or time through more flexibility within your role and creating a more effective dialogue between you and your employer on the support you need to succeed within your role. Moreover, by disclosing your disability to employers or colleagues you can raise awareness within your workplace and challenge individuals to collaborate in a more meaningful way with people with disabilities in general in the workplace. 

Such advantages can have a positive impact on your overall job satisfaction and the employer can judge your job performance fairly and provide you with more support if needed as your role within the workplace evolves.

Some disadvantages that may arise are misperceptions by employers and colleagues on your disabilities that can result from common myths about learning and thinking differences, feelings of insecurity about your career progression as you may feel employers will mistrust your capabilities in taking on more duties and responsibilities or fear of your employer or colleagues sharing information about your disability throughout the workplace without your consent (Stefanakos, Scanlan, Victoria, 2024).

Thinking proactively about strategies on disclosing your disabilities in the workplace can have a positive impact on your journey towards effectively communicating your needs to employers and colleagues.

Consider the following before and during your journey of disclosure (Dyslexia Association Ireland, 2024):

  1. Take a solutions-focused approach: research solutions to difficulties that may arise from your disabilities and find information on the support available in your country or online to best enhance your ways of working.
  2. Be transparent and honest to employers or colleagues about the challenges that you may face within your role while shedding light on your strengths and talents.
  3. Agree with your employer on the nature of your reasonable accommodations and additional supports you require, this is dynamic, and you should inform your employer on relevant updates to the agreed supports through a review process.

The Dysineduprowork Project has conducted a European desk research and analysis across Ireland, Belgium, Estonia, Italy and Greece of the current state of the art regarding supports to DYS learners in both VET training and Employment including State intervention. The aim of this research was to assess the degree of inclusivity in VET settings and the workplace and understand the differences in policies and support in the EU labour market and constitute an assessment of the EU labour market in terms of inclusion.

In 2024, we will publish our findings on best practices for employers and develop a training programme designed for Dys Workers and Jobseekers. Stay tuned to find out more about resources within the partner countries and strategies on applying for jobs, entering employment, or managing your current employment



Hennborn, Laurie (2021) ‘Make it Safe For Employees to Disclose their Disabilities’ Harvard Business Review, Diversity and Inclusion [last accessed, December 2024] https://hbr.org/2021/06/make-it-safe-for-employees-to-disclose-their-disabilities

Stefanakos, Scanlan, Victoria ‘Pros and cons of disclosing a disability to employers, https://www.understood.org/en/articles/pros-and-cons-of-disclosing-a-disability-to-employers  [last accessed, Dec 2024]

Access Consultancy (2019) Newsletter  ‘Encouraging Disability Disclosure at Work – How to Ask the Question’. Dyslexia Association Ireland, ‘Dyslexia at work’ [last accessed, Dec 2024]