The choice to disclose or not disclose a disability is very personal issue. Many factors play a role including trust, need for reasonable accommodation, unconscious bias and fear of discrimination. This paper looks at comments left by employees of the federal Australian Public Service in an anonymous survey to discover why people had chosen not to disclose their disability. Over 800 respondents left comments that capture the reasons chosen not to disclose their disability in the workplace. Comments ranged in length from a single word to a paragraph. The three main themes to emerge were 1) the disability did not have an impact on work, 2) the fear of discrimination and 3) the privacy of the individual. One interesting finding to emerge was that although respondents had not told their workplace, they had told their supervisor and/or team mates.


Patricia Gray

Higher degree by Research student
Institute of Governance and Policy Analysis

Patricia has been working in the public service for the last 10 years. Her role as a research officer has given her insight into working conditions across the entire public service on topics ranging from performance management to working life for people from diversity groups. Patricia is currently undertaking her PhD on disclosure of disability within the workplace and, in her spare time between work and study, teaches tap dancing.


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