Disclosure in the workplace
Disclosure is a highly individual choice that can be influenced by many factors.
There are many reasons for and against disclosure, it is for you to decide what you choose to share and with who.
No one has to disclose a diagnosis of autism.
Disclosure of autism
When starting a new job, you might want to consider whether to disclose an autism diagnosis in the workplace.
Possible reasons for disclosure include:
people being able to understand you better
reducing the pressure to hide or mask autistic traits, such as stimming
needing to access workplace adjustments
helping people understand autism when they may not know much about it
your personal preference to disclose.
Possible reasons against disclosure include:
being worried that people will be prejudiced about autism
not needing any workplace adjustments
not find it relevant to your performance or behaviour in the workplace
your personal preference is not to disclose.
You’ll notice that each of these lists ends with ‘your personal preference’ – because that’s the main priority in this decision! Disclosure is an individual choice that may be influenced by many factors, such as the job itself, your circumstances at the time and your needs or preferences. No one is obligated to disclose a diagnosis of autism.
Additionally, you’re allowed to be selective about where you work. You might like to research an organisation’s values on their website (if they have one) before applying for a job or to seek out workplaces that demonstrate they are progressive and inclusive.
Timing your disclosure
If you choose to disclose your diagnosis in the workplace, you’ll need to consider when you want to do it. Some people prefer to disclose during the application process – that way, everyone is fully aware from the beginning, with no surprises down the track. Others prefer to wait until they’ve signed a contract, especially if they’re worried about being overlooked for an interview.
You might like to read some first-hand experiences of autism disclosure:
Remember that each person’s experience is unique. While some of these stories may endorse a particular approach to disclosure, that doesn’t mean you need to share the same perspective.
Check out the Choosing your Path website that provides comprehensive information on the topic of disclosure for work or education.
To find out more about disability rights in Australia, visit the Australian Human Rights Commission website