Careers and Entrepreneurship

Telling an employer about a disability or long-term condition

Find out how you can share your disability with an employer so that you can receive additional support in the workplace

EmployAbility

We have partnered with EmployAbility to provide students with disabilities and long-term health conditions with individualised advice and support about adjustments for recruitment and the workplace, information about your rights, and support you with your application. The EmployAbility team will also advocate for you with an employer to ensure you receive the adjustments you need, taking any stress and anxiety out of the process.

You will also be able to apply for specific first year, internship, and graduate programmes, as well as vacation schemes and training contract opportunities, with their inclusive employer partners and receive full support during the process.

Disability and reasonable adjustments

The Equality Act protects you from discrimination in the workplace and during the recruitment process if you have a disability or long-term condition.

It defines a disability as "a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities".

If you tell an employer about a disability that is covered by the Act, they must make reasonable workplace adjustments to support you e.g. adding a wheelchair ramp to make the building accessible, providing a more suitable desk or chair, or adjusting your working hours.

Deciding whether to tell an employer about your disability 

Choosing if and when to tell an employer about your disability is a very personal decision.

Why you may want to tell an employer

  • So you have control over how your disability is explained.
  • So you can highlight your strengths and the positive aspects of your disability e.g. peer support roles and lived experience may be particularly valued for psychology roles.
  • So your employer can make reasonable adjustments - this could be for an interview or when starting or continuing in a role. 

Why you may not want to tell an employer

  • You may be concerned that an employer will discriminate against you and reject your application.
  • You may feel you don’t need to mention your disability as it doesn’t have any bearing on your ability to do the job.

If you're unsure about whether you want to tell an employer about your disability, you can discuss your thoughts with a Careers and Employability Consultant in an appointment.

How to tell an employer about your disability

Employers who have signed up to the Government's Disability Confident scheme may offer a guaranteed interview scheme where applicants who fulfil the essential criteria for the role are invited to interview if they have opted to be considered under the scheme. 

CVs and covering letters

If you're applying for a role using a CV and covering letter, you may choose to tell the employer about your disability on your covering letter, or you may decide to tell them later in the application process e.g. at interview. Prospects' example covering letter shows you can tell a future employer about a disability.

Your disability may have impacted on your ability to gain work experience. If this is the case, think about how you can demonstrate your skills and experience from other areas of your life when writing your CV e.g. you may want to write about being involved with societies, volunteering, your studies or your interests.  

Application forms 

If you're applying for a role by application form, there may be a section where you are asked if you want to provide information about a disability to qualify for the guaranteed interview scheme.

There may also be space in this section to let the employer know about any adjustments you need during the interview or selection process.

Interviews and assessments

You can ask an employer to make adjustments so that you feel more comfortable and confident when attending an interview.

For example:

  • asking for an interview to be held online rather than in person
  • receiving information about the interviewers beforehand, such as photographs of them
  • requesting more information about the format and what you can expect
  • letting them know if you're sensitive to particular lighting or noisy environments, or if you feel uncomfortable with eye contact or shaking hands.   

If you're unsure about how to write or talk about your disability, we recommend discussing this further with a Careers and Employability Consultant in a one-to-one appointment.

Reporting discrimination

If you're experiencing discrimination or problems at work, such as bullying and harassment, you can talk to your manager, HR team or someone you trust.

You can also discuss your situation and concerns with a Careers and Employability Consultant in a confidential appointment.

Other resources