In this episode
In this episode of Inform, we explore talking about your disability at work.
We speak with Fiona Murphy, a deaf writer who also works as a physiotherapist. Her memoir, The Shape of Sound is forthcoming from Text Publishing in 2021.
Also in this episode, we hear from Daniel Valiente-Riedl. Daniel is the general manager of JobAccess, which is the national hub for workplace and employment information for people with disability, employers and service providers.
We discuss the legal obligations and the legal protections you have. We look at the reasons why you might want to talk about your disability at work and we have some great advice if you’re thinking about discussing your disability with your employer or colleagues.
It’s your choice
Choosing if and how you might talk about your disability at work can be tricky to figure out. It’s probably not a surprise to learn that while there are approximately 1.5 billion people with a disability around the world, only 12% of people with a disability choose to disclose it.
People may be curious about your condition and how to manage it. And it is up to you how much you want to say. Be as open and honest as you feel comfortable with. It is your decision. If people do not respond well, remember that is not your responsibility to change people’s attitudes towards disabilityDaniel Valiente-Riedl
In 2018, Fiona wrote a personal essay for the website Eureka Street that discussed her experiences talking about her disability. ‘Disclosure,’ Fiona wrote, ‘is widely perceived as in invitation for questions about your body, from how it functions and to how it deviates from normal’.
I’d always been taught to kind of just blend in and try my best and work really hard, but I had never really been taught about access. It was only my late 20s that I actually heard about what access is. And it was more through the disability community itself and learning from other people with disabilities, of how to ask for access, and that it’s actually my right to ask for access that I’m not asking above and beyond what is reasonable.Fiona Murphy
You can find a transcript of this episode here:
Share your story
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Inform is a production of Independence Australia. If you’re keen to hear more, you can go back and listen to our past episodes at: www.informonline.org.au/listen
Stay tuned for the next episode of Inform. In the meantime, subscribe for free on your preferred podcast listening platform to be the first to hear about new episodes.
Host and producer: Kirby Fenwick
Managing editor: Alison Crowe
Our thanks to Fiona Murphy and Daniel Valiente-Riedl, general manager of JobAccess.