Sharing information about a disability
The National Museum of Australia promotes a diverse and inclusive workplace culture and provides support for all employees. Without sharing information about your disability, the Museum is limited in how it can offer appropriate, timely and relevant support to employees in the workplace to enable them to do their jobs.
Sharing information about your disability is the first step towards support and assistance in the workplace.
Factors to consider before sharing information about disability
Ultimately, the decision to share information about your disability is up to you. Before making such a decision, you should consider that there is no legal need to share information about any disability you may have, unless:
- it will affect your performance or ability to do the inherent conditions of a position; or
- it affects your ability to work safely and/or ensure the safety of colleagues around you.
What are the benefits of sharing disability information?
There are a number of benefits to sharing information about your disability. Sharing may be beneficial because:
- it is the first step to creating a trusting and open relationship, allowing you and the Museum to develop the most effective workplace adjustments for you
- you can challenge misconceptions, showing that your work will be business as usual
- if your disability does affect your work, misconceptions of poor performance will be removed and reasonable adjustments including the purchase of equipment where needed can be made to assist you
- if there is a change in your disability the Museum can respond quickly and effectively to keep you at work and able to work effectively
- you comply with Workplace Health & Safety legislation should your disability be reasonably seen as creating a health and safety risk.
Why wouldn’t you share information about a disability?
You may not wish to share information if:
- your disability has no impact at all on the inherent conditions of the position
- it creates unnecessary curiosity, concern or insensitivity.
What is a disability?
There are many different types of disability, for example levels of vision, hearing, speech and intellectual impairments, mental illnesses, reduced use of limbs and learning difficulties.
The federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992 defines a person as having a disability when there is:
- total or partial loss of the person’s bodily or mental functions; or
- total or partial loss of a part of the body; or
- the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness; or
- the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness; or
- the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person’s body; or
- a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction; or
- a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person’s thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment or that results in disturbed behaviour
and includes a disability that:
- presently exists; or
- previously existed but no longer exists; or
- may exist in the future (including because of a genetic predisposition to that disability); or
- is imputed to a person.
When should you share information about a disability?
You can share information about your disability before an interview, at an interview, after you are offered a position or after you start with the Museum. There are separate benefits for each option, including:
Before and at an interview
- creates open discussion about the inherent role of the position, expectations and opportunities
- allows the Museum to provide access and support for the interview
- removes surprises and awkwardness at the interview
- allows you to demonstrate skills, abilities and ways of managing any effect your disability may have on the role.
When offered a position or after starting
- gives you better access to information on the Museum’s workplace adjustment, support and equity strategies and schemes
- allows easier and faster implementation of workplace adjustments, helping you to start with all the assistance/equipment that you may need
- allows increased understanding and response from the Museum and colleagues.
What information should you share?
If you decide to share information about any disability you may have, think about the information you will provide. You only need to provide information about:
- any adjustments you may need for a fair and equitable selection process
- how any disability you may have effects aspects of the inherent conditions of your role
- any adjustments needed so you can complete the inherent requirements of your role.
With whom do you share disability information?
- the Recruitment Officer (before an interview) to ensure that the interview panel is briefed and any necessary adjustments are made to assist, for example:
- if you use a wheelchair, that the interview is in an accessible room and that the interview table is a suitable height
- if you have a visual impairment, that you are met at the front door and taken to the interview room
- if you have a hearing impairment, that the questions are provided in writing,
- consideration of other options that may assist.
- Your supervisor or Business Unit Manager who will discuss with you the reasonable adjustments that are required to ensure that the inherent tasks of the position can be completed and that you have appropriate training and development opportunities.
- the Human Resources Manager, Senior HR Advisor or the Diversity and Wellbeing Support Officer who are responsible for coordinating workplace assessments, job access assistance and equipment purchases. They can also assist with the review of tasks and provide advice on the type of reasonable adjustments that may be available and appropriate solutions or options.