Disclosure is a choice you make about whether to tell another person or organisation about your disability. This information relates to your rights and responsibilities about disclosure and privacy.
If you would like to get more information to help you make a decision about disclosure, including reasons for and against disclosure, how to disclose and when to disclose, visit:
Choosing to disclose
There is no legal obligation for you to disclose information about your disability unless it is likely to affect your work performance and your ability to work safely.
The inherent or essential requirements of the job are tasks that must be carried out to get the job done. For example, if you have a disability that makes it difficult to write minutes of meetings, you may be able to record the information on a dictaphone and then transcribe it after the meeting. Taking shorthand is therefore not an inherent requirement of the job because you are able to do the job another way.
You may need to discuss your disability with your employer if you need to request reasonable adjustments when being considered for the job. You might need to talk about interview arrangements or modified equipment or flexible working arrangements.
What to disclose
If you choose to disclose information about your disability to your employer, the only information that is important to disclose is related to:
- any adjustments needed to ensure a fair and equitable selection process
- how the disability may impact on some aspects of the inherent requirements of a job
- any adjustments that may be needed to complete the inherent requirements of the job.
You do not need to disclose specific medical or personal information about your disability. Keep in mind that it is against federal and state laws to discriminate against someone on the basis of their disability.
Your rights and responsibilities in disclosing
You have a right to:
- the confidential and respectful treatment of information about your disability
- access information about an organisation’s equity policies and practices
- request information held by an employer about the collection your personal details, including your disability and how it is used by the organisation
- choose whether to disclose disability at any point while looking for work.
You also have the following responsibilities in relation to disclosure:
- disclosure before starting a job does not remove your responsibility to disclose your disability once you are working, if you require further work related adjustments
- you need to address the essential requirements of an advertised position, regardless of discussions that may take place with an employer.
Once you have disclosed a disability to your employer, your employer is obligated under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 to:
- not discriminate directly by treating you less favourably than a person without the disability would be treated in the same or similar circumstances
- not discriminate indirectly by having a requirement or condition or practice that is the same for everyone but which is less favourable in its impact on you
- make reasonable adjustments for you where required
- avoid and prevent harassment of you.
Information about your disability may involve sensitive personal information. Any information you provide to your employer must be treated appropriately.
Your employer cannot release information about your disability without your written consent unless the release is authorised or required by law.
The Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 provides for the protection of personal information held by Commonwealth and Australian Capital Territory agencies and some private sector organisations. Broadly speaking, the Privacy Act regulates the collection, use, disclosure, quality and security of personal information.
The Privacy Act gives you the right to:
- know why your personal information is being collected
- know whether the collection of your personal information is required or authorised by law
- know to whom your personal information is usually disclosed
- access a record containing your personal information
- make amendments to your personal information to ensure it is accurate.