See Disclosure: It' a Personal decision
Should Disclosure Occur
It is generally not considered standard practice for applicants to disclose their disability in their resume and/or application letter unless:
Disclosure of disability should not be the central issue of concern in the process of seeking employment . As with all steps in the job recruitment process, the emphasis in applying for employment should be on the skills and experiences of the applicant to meet the requirements of the position.
- it is relevant to the position
- work related adjustments are required to ensure equal opportunity in the selection process and/or
- the organization is supportive of equity practices.
Some organizations require applicants to complete an application form as part of the recruitment process. Application forms are often used by organizations to obtain specific information about applicants, to readily make a direct comparison between applicants on the same issues and/or to assess their ability to express themselves in a concise manner.
Some application forms may also contain specific questions about disabilities and health issues. The following questions and answers may assist applicants with a disability and employers in understanding their rights, roles and responsibilities in asking and responding to disability specific questions in application forms:
Can Employment Application Forms ask About Disability?
Application forms should only ask questions about an applicant's disability if the information required assists to identify any work related adjustments required to ensure equal opportunity in the selection process.
'Employers should be cautious about including disability related questions in application forms, other than for the purpose of inviting applicants to identify any adjustments required to ensure equal opportunity in the selection process itself. Routine or standard questions should be reviewed to ensure that they are included for a good reason and not for discriminatory reasons. The Disability Discrimination Act (D.D.A.) (Section 30) specifically makes it unlawful to request information for the purpose of an act which is or would be unlawful' . (1)Application forms may tend to ask disability specific questions to determine an applicant's ability to perform the inherent requirements of the job. Employers need to consider whether disability specific information is relevant to the inherent requirements of the position and if so whether it is more appropriate to ask these questions in an interview, rather than on an application form.
'Employers should note that questions which may be reasonable and permitted at interview, for example to examine whether a person's disability affects their ability to perform the inherent requirements of the job or to determine whether reasonable adjustment is required and possible, will not necessarily be regarded as reasonable or permitted in an application form' .(2)A routine or direct question about disability, such as "have you ever had a mental illness?" in an application form may exclude or disadvantage applicants with a disability. If a question has this effect it may be considered discriminatory. These questions also tend not to relate to the inherent requirements of the position nor assist in identifying any work related adjustments required.
The Federal Privacy Act 1988 and other similar state privacy legislation requires government, large organizations and some smaller organizations to provide a statement on any form indicating how personal information will be used. Employers therefore are required to take reasonable steps to inform applicants about why they are collecting personal information, such as disability specific information, how they are using the information, whom they are disclosing the information to and how the information is to be stored. For further information refer to the Privacy and Confidentialitydocument in this resource and/or the Federal Privacy Act website at http://www.privacy.gov.au
Is There a Legal Responsibility for an Applicant to Disclose their Disability in an Application Form?
There is no legal obligation for an applicant to disclose their disability in an application form. An applicant may choose to ignore the disability specific questions or answer the question(s) as 'Not Applicable'.
All applicants, including applicants with a disability, are however responsible for investigating and understanding the inherent requirements of the position to determine whether they are able to perform them in the position of employment. Applicants with a disability who require work related adjustments to meet the inherent requirements of the position may choose to disclose their disability when accepting a job interview, in the interview or when the position of employment has been offered.
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