Disclosing health conditions

Questions to help evaluate the pros and cons of disclosing an illness or health condition at work. Factors like workplace policies and relationships may impact your decision to disclose.

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Disclosure means sharing information about an illness or health condition. Before you make a decision, get the answers to these questions.

How could disclosing help

What do you hope to gain by disclosing and is that a reasonable expectation?

What could be the downside of people knowing about your condition?

How could disclosing help you put a plan in place for the times when you are unwell so that the people around you at work can be aware and supportive?

Policies at your workplace

Does your workplace have a workplace accommodation policy?

Does your workplace have an inclusivity and/or diversity policy?

Is there a respectful workplace policy and is it followed?

Relationship with your leader

Would you describe your relationship with your leader as supportive and respectful?

Does your leader respect confidentiality?

If your leader were to change, what are the chances the relationship with your new leader would also be supportive and respectful?

Workplace culture

Are differences among individuals respected and celebrated?

Are people with disabilities respected and fully included?

How are people who have a mental illness or addiction talked about? Are jokes made that make fun of people who have a mental illness or addiction?

Do you know of anyone at work who has disclosed? How were they treated by co-workers and management?

Your own needs

Would keeping this a secret be a burden to you?

Would sharing this be a relief for you?

Do you feel comfortable talking about your situation?

Who would you like to share this with and who would you rather not share this with?

Additional resources

A tool to support employee success. A process that engages employee and employer to develop solutions that support productivity and well-being. Supporting Employee Success is for any employee, including those needing accommodation.

Requesting accommodation. Employees can use this information to request a plan or accommodation to address their workplace issues. This process helps the employee and manager determine what's needed for success at work.

Responding to co-worker questions. When dealing with any health issues we all have different levels of comfort in sharing our personal information. Your co-workers will likely ask questions about why you were away, your current health status, how you’re coping, or why you may be doing things differently at work. 



Contributors include.articlesMary Ann BayntonWorkplace Strategies team 2007-2021

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