Balancing Employee Privacy and Disclosure

The following are tips for employers on how to balance employee privacy while encouraging the disclosure of information that supports employees to be successful.

1. Ask the person.

The best way to understand what information should be shared, and what information should be kept private, is to ask the employee.

An excellent way to phrase this question is, “What information can we share with the team about your working style and what they can do to contribute to your success in this role?”

Help the employee see why sharing information will be helpful to their success.

2. Consider what information is relevant to the role.

What information could be shared that would help make the employee successful in their role? What information pertains specifically to the employee’s duties and responsibilities?

An example of this is “Bill prefers that people email him about tasks, versus asking him in person. This allows him to keep track of the various pieces on his plate and prioritize accordingly.”

3. Consider how you share information about all your employees.

Making the sharing of information a best practice amongst all employees can reduce the stigma of sharing information about employees with disabilities.

What information can each person share about what makes them successful in their roles?

4. Demonstrate the benefits of disclosure.

Employees may not disclose having a disability for fear of the repercussions that might exist by doing so, or because of past experience.

Demonstrating why an employee might disclose can benefit everyone involved.

However, remember: no one has an obligation to disclose, and ultimately the decision is theirs.

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