Talking about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job

Many people need to decide if they should talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job. There are laws in Australia that protect the rights of people with disability, to make sure they are  treated fairly. Even so, people can still be afraid to talk about their injury or disability with their employer.

Here are some things to think about before you decide to talk about an injury or disability.

Do you need to tell?

It is up to you whether you talk about your injury or disability.

By law, you do not need to talk about an injury or disability, unless your injury or disability will affect:

  • Your ability to do the main parts of your job, or
  • Your safety and the safety of others in the work place.

It’s a good idea to talk to your treating team or vocational provider to work out if, by law, you need to talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job.

The benefits of telling an employer you have an injury or disability

  • Your experience of injury or disability is valued,
  • It might help you to get the support or changes you need in the workplace,
  • If you have any workplace or performance issues, you might get more support and understanding about how to manage them,
  • You might be able to talk openly about any fears or concerns you have about your role or starting in the workplace.

If you decide to talk about an injury or disability

How and when you decide to talk about an injury or disability is important.  You might think about whether you should:

  • Put it in your application or resume,
  • Wait until your interview, or
  • Let your employer know once you start work.

The best time can depend on many things.

Generally, you do not need to mention your injury or disability in your application or resume. However, you might need to if your injury or disability:

  • Might affect  your ability to do your job,
  • Might affect your safety at work, or the safety of others,
  • Relates to the position or organisation you have applied for,
  • Means that changes to the role or selection process are needed.

You might also mention your injury or disability in your application or resume if you know the workplace supports employing people with a disability. A workplace that supports employing people with a disability will often include questions about disability in their application process.

If you don’t need to mention your injury in your application or resume, you can decide whether to talk about it in your interview or wait until you have started your job and feel ready to do so.

Tips

  • Plan with your treating team or vocational provider how you will tell your employer about your injury or disability and what you will say,
  • Focus on your personal strengths, qualities and achievements,
  • Provide clear information and offer to help organise any changes or supports if you need them,
  • Only talk about things that are work related,
  • Let your employer know if there are any other supports available to the workplace, such as the supports the TAC can provide.

Where to get help

Talking about an injury or disability is not always an easy decision to make. You can speak to your treating team, vocational provider, friends and family to help make your decision.

You can also call the TAC on 1300 654 329 for support and advice.

More information on this topic is also available at the Human Rights Commission website.