This article perfectly lays out the dilemmas that employees with disabilities face - whether their disability is visible or invisible. Is discrimination against employees with disabilities illegal? Of course. And yet, discrimination happens in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. So employees are left with a decision: should I disclose my disability and request accommodations that I am legally entitled to, and face what are frequently incredibly negative consequences? Or should I try to hide it, do my best at my job, knowing that I will be spending enormous energy trying to hide an important part of myself? (And of course, keeping disabilities hidden is not always even an option.)
From the article: ". . . Katie Rose Guest Pryal, a former academic who said keeping her mental illness a secret from her colleagues meant she could be only about 70 percent herself at work. “Keeping a major aspect of your identity a secret because you fear for the ramifications is not good for you,” she said. “But every time I sat down and weighed the positive and the negative, the negative of sharing outweighed the negative of keeping the secret.”
This is another area in which just focusing on meeting the legal requirements leaves so much opportunity on the table. Companies will always lose (productivity, innovation, creative output, you name it) when they are only able to access a small portion of the true potential of their employees. It doesn't have to be this way.
Read the entire article: How to Disclose a Disability to Your Employer (and Whether You Should) from The New York Times.