When should you disclose your disability?
Disclosing your disability is voluntary. You should only disclose your disability if/when you feel comfortable and when you need to request a reasonable accommodation. When applying for an apprenticeship, this request may be made during the application process, hiring process, or after you have been hired as an apprentice.
What is a reasonable accommodation?
A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment or modification to the job or workplace environment that will allow you, the apprentice with a disability, to participate in the application process, perform the job, and/or to receive employee benefits that are equal to that of employees without disabilities.
Examples of reasonable accommodations may include but are not limited to the following supports:
- Adjusting or modifying your work schedule, such as needing time off to go to a weekly doctor’s appointment related to your disability.
- Providing assistive technology or devices, such as magnification software for a visual impairment or closed captioning for an interview or meeting held on a web conferencing platform.
- Acquiring, adjusting, or modifying equipment or devices, such as adjusting the height of your desk or an adjustable chair.
- Adjusting or modifying tests or training materials, such as providing additional time to review materials and complete activities to support people with learning disabilities.
Browse the Job Accommodation Network’s (JAN) Searchable Online Accommodation Resource (SOAR) for more examples of accommodation.
To whom should you disclose your disability?
Review your organization’s employee handbook to learn your employer’s process for voluntarily self-disclosing your disability status. You may also consult with your apprenticeship manager or your organization’s human resources department on how to disclose your disability or request an accommodation. You are under no obligation to tell everyone at work that you have a disability or share any details about it or your request for an accommodation. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires your employer to keep your disability and related medical information confidential. Your employer may share this information with your manager on a strictly need-to-know basis.
How should you disclose your disability?
When disclosing your disability, you do not have to use specific terminology, such as “the ADA” or “reasonable accommodation.” You also do not have to provide full details about your disability. Simply state your disability, describe your challenge(s), and explain what type(s) of accommodation(s) you may need. Your employer may respond with suggestions for alternative accommodations, which you can discuss together to find an accomodation that best suits your needs.
What should I do if I experience discrimination?
As an applicant or apprentice, you are entitled to a workplace that is free from discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation, and other toxic behaviors. Apprenticeship programs prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, disability, age (40 years or older), sexual orientation, and genetic information. Furthermore, sponsors of Registered Apprenticeship must take affirmative action to recruit, hire, retain, and advance apprentices with disabilities. Visit Apprenticeship.gov to learn more about how you are protected against discrimination and what to do if you believe you have experienced discrimination.