Disability advice for employees

Bucks is committed to ensuring that all employees with a recognised disability, including dyslexia, are treated fairly under the Equality Act 2010. Applicants may also wish to note that Bucks holds Disability Confident accreditation from the Department for Work and Pensions for having a positive approach to employing disabled people. We would therefore always encourage the formal disclosure of a disability as it can bring about benefits to all. All new starters are given the opportunity to declare a disability on their employee record on Business Connect.

Many employees choose not to disclose their disability, sometimes for fear of discrimination, sometimes because they are able to manage their workload, or don't require any additional support. However, every individual's situation can change for a variety of reasons and this may impact on their decision or need to disclose.

An employee may choose not to disclose their disability whilst they are employed in a job because:

  • they can manage their job and the impact of their disability, without additional support or assistance
  • they may have put in place adequate external structures to ensure that their disability does not impede their job
  • they may feel they would be treated differently or their disability would be perceived in a negative or discriminatory manner
  • their disability may be in remission and therefore not considered relevant to their current position of employment
  • they feel that they will be discriminated against or seen as less competent in the job.

We are keen to create an environment where individuals can feel confident that when disclosing a disability, impairment, or medical condition to us, they would not be disadvantaged. Visit our Equality Act 2010 page for Disability Definitions.

Disclosure can occur at any time and the following factors are some or the reasons why individuals choose to disclose to their employer:

  • their personal circumstances may change, such as acquiring a disability or medical condition
  • they may experience a progression of their disability
  • they may feel more comfortable and confident about disclosing once an environment is familiar
  • they may be confident to disclose their disability knowing that it will not lead to discriminatory attitudes and actions
  • their job and conditions may have changed - eg moving to a new work location, agreeing to take on additional duties, a new manager and/or new colleagues, any of which may highlight issues in relation to a disability
  • they may identify a specific support that may not have been available when they commenced the job - eg new software or hardware
  • they may not be performing well in the job due to their disability and may need to explain the situation to their employer.

We hope that the benefits of disclosure will encourage more employees to do so.

You can formally disclose by amending your personal details on Business Connect. You should then contact your Human Resources Business Partner and/or your line manager to discuss the barriers which you may have encountered in working life and what reasonable adjustments might need to be made.

It is also advisable to contact Access to Work, to see what other help and support they might be able to recommend.

Having received Access to Work recommendations a meeting should be arranged with your Human Resources Business Partner and your line manager in which appropriate ‘reasonable adjustments’ can be agreed. The reasonable adjustments individual agreement (Word format) serves as a useful aid for all parties and establishes a formal review process.

The feedback below comes from employees here at Bucks:

"After a disappointing PDR, I felt the need to disclose my disability as I felt it had affected my performance negatively. My line manager and my supervisor were very supportive, and I was put in touch with the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, who explained the process for disclosure and reasonable adjustments.

I was referred to Access to Work for an independent assessment. The assessor listened carefully to all the difficulties I was facing and recommended several solutions, which ranged from a very simple change of desk position, to personal coaching and equipment to assist me in my day to day work.

The coaching was invaluable and has made me feel much more confident in my abilities by focusing on my strengths, and using those to overcome my weaknesses. My performance in my role has greatly improved thanks to everyone involved in the process and I would strongly urge anyone in a similar position to make the most of the support on offer"

"I have an autoimmune disease called scieroderma, which affects all connective tissues, causing pain and swelling in my joints. I was finding typing increasingly difficult to do as it was really painful, and as it's a key part of my role, I was very worried about being able to continue with my job.

After speaking to the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, about reasonable adjustments, I contacted Access to Work. They came out to my office within two weeks of my first phone call and did a full needs assessment of my office setup. This was followed by a very detailed report, which included recommendations for installation of, and training for Dragon Hands-Free Software (voice recognition software), as well as egonomic equipment, stationary and furniture.

This adjustment/support has enabled me to use my computer fully with minimum use of my hands. My job includes a great deal of computer work every day, including reports, spread sheets, emails and feedback to students. Now I can do all of this using Dragon, it's made such a positive change - enabling me to work at full capacity. I can't emphasise enough how much this adjustment has improved my ability to work effectively".