Disclosure and the Equality Act 2010
There are no hard and fast rules in relation to disclosure and it is up to you to decide if you let an employer know that you are losing your sight
Although you may be uncertain about how your employer may react, there are many good reasons for telling your employer. For one, you are protected under the law. The Equality Act covers employment, and your employer is not allowed to discriminate because of a person's disability. In addition, telling your employer about your sight loss means that they can help you with the wide range of support available to assist you do your job.
The Equality Act says that employers have a legal duty to make 'reasonable adjustments'. Your employer only has to make adjustments if it knows you are disabled. This is a point for you to bear in mind when you are thinking about whether to disclose your disability.
Examples of the sort of adjustments your employer should consider, in consultation with you, include:
- providing modified equipment. Telling your employer about your sight loss means that they can help you with the wide range of access technology available to help you do your job, from large screen monitors and magnification software, to programmes that read text to you through earphones.
- providing a Support Worker (e.g. a reader)
- making adjustments to the buildings where you work
- being flexible about the hours you work
- providing time off to have assessment, treatment or rehabilitation
- providing training, or retraining, if you can't do your current job due to your sight loss
- making instruction manuals and / or work-related systems more accessible
- reallocating some minor duties to another colleague
- transferring you to another post or another location
You can play an active role in discussing these arrangements with your employer. You might also want to encourage your employer to speak to someone with expertise in providing work-related help for disabled people, such as an occupational health adviser, RNIB or Action for Blind People.
RNIB and Action for Blind People can also carry out a work-based assessment and make recommendations on the equipment, software, and adjustments that would better allow you to fulfil your role. This may make the difference that will enable you to retain your job. For more information please see our Work-based assessments section.
It is worth remembering that if your employer does not know you have a disability, they cannot make any adjustments to help you succeed in your job.
For more information about your rights, we refer you to RNIB's Equality Act 2010 section.
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