The thought of disclosing a disability to an employer can be nerve-racking for many workers in California. Despite the various protections afforded to employees under state and federal law, there is no guarantee that an employer won’t lash out or retaliate against a worker who discloses a disability in the workplace.

Sadly, it isn't uncommon for companies to push for whatever they can get away with. This can force good law-abiding employees to endure subtle yet equally damaging forms of discrimination, such as being passed up for a deserved promotion, having their judgment repeatedly questioned in meetings, or working under a “helicopter boss” who micromanages their every move.

Keep reading to learn more about potential pros and cons of disclosing your disability to an employer.

Disclosing a Disability Under California Law

Under the law, employees have the right to a safe work environment free of discrimination and harassment. While it can be intimidating to assert your rights as a disabled worker, rest assured that your employer can and should face the legal consequences of their callous actions.

In a worst-case scenario, misconduct at work can function as a turning point for mistreated workers to discover new opportunities elsewhere in an ethical and supportive environment, restoring their sense of safety in the workplace. However, determining whether or not you should disclose a disability to an employer can be a difficult decision. There are various pros and cons to disclosing a disability, and many depend on the employee’s unique circumstances.

Below are the top 3 reasons to consider disclosing your disability to a current or future employer in the Golden State:

1. You need reasonable accommodations under the ADA.

One of the top reasons to disclose a disability to an employer is the need for reasonable accommodations at work. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), disabled workers have the right to reasonable accommodations in California workplaces. Appropriate circumstances for disability disclosure generally include situations where an employee requires reasonable accommodations to perform the essential functions of their job.

Disclosing a disability in these circumstances can allow employers to provide accommodations under the ADA, such as flexible work hours, assistive technology, or modifications to the work environment. If you’re capable of performing the essential functions of your job without needing additional assistance and don’t foresee your disability impacting your work performance in the foreseeable future, you may find it unnecessary to disclose your disability at this point in time.

If you wish to move forward with disclosure in hopes of obtaining reasonable accommodations, it’s important to communicate your needs clearly and specifically to secure the assistance you’re rightfully entitled to under the law. It’s imperative to keep records of these requests, including any correspondence between yourself and your employer, to safeguard your best interests in the event that any legal conflicts arise.

2. You have concerns about financial security.

If you’re concerned about the potential impact of your disability on your long-term financial health, it may be worthwhile to disclose your condition to your employer. This can help prevent employees from getting sidelined as a result of staying silent about a disability and instead allow them to be held to fair expectations regarding output, performance, ability, and more.

Regardless of the situation, it’s imperative for employees to use their discretion when making these decisions by approaching any disability-related conversations in the workplace with confidence and preparedness. Being knowledgeable about your rights is essential. A qualified employment lawyer can help prepare you for the tasks and decisions ahead. Your legal representative can also use their in-depth understanding of employment law to direct your legal steps wisely to achieve a desired outcome.

3. You’re worried about performance or unfair treatment.

When considering whether or not to disclose your disability, it's important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages. Not only can disclosure lead to workplace accommodations that can make your day-to-day tasks more manageable, but explaining your needs can help your employer understand your unique strengths and how to use them to benefit the team.

Even if employees lack a specific need for reasonable accommodations in the present, it may still be beneficial to make a trusted employer aware of any short- or long-term disabilities to avoid unfair treatment in the future, such as negative performance evaluations. In some cases, these situations may be avoided by making certain adjustments in advance, such as reducing the demandingness of daily hours by permitting an employee to work weekends or extending deadlines for a fixed period of time.

Unrelenting Advocacy for Wronged Employees in CA

Our trusted employment lawyer is dedicated to protecting workers against injustice in California workplaces. Our firm provides high-quality legal services to workers in California, empowering them to assert their employee rights and speak out against acts of misconduct. If you’ve experienced mistreatment in the workplace, our firm can provide the fierce representation you deserve while keeping your best interests at heart.

At Polaris Law Group, we have over 25 years of experience representing hardworking employees in a wide range of employment law disputes, from disability discrimination to wrongful termination. When you partner with us, you can rest assured that we’ll fight tirelessly to restore your rights and obtain a favorable outcome on your behalf. Don’t wait to exercise your American right to a safe and healthy work environment.

Unethical employers can make it difficult for workers to exercise their rights. Our firm can hold companies accountable for misconduct. Call (888) 796-4010 to schedule a consultation.

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