If you have a diagnosis of autism...

(16 Posts)
KitHenry Sun 14-Feb-21 01:40:19

Do you have to declare this to your employer?

If you didn’t have an official diagnosis of Autism but had been told by two different therapists and an Ed Psych that you should seek an official diagnosis because you likely were autistic, would you have to declare that to your employer? If not and you then subsequently decided to pursue an official diagnosis and were in fact diagnosed would you at that point have to declare it to your employer?

OP’s posts: |
FortunesFave Sun 14-Feb-21 01:48:11


EBearhug Sun 14-Feb-21 01:54:29

You don't have to declare it, but you can't expect any concessions for it, if you haven't.

daisychain01 Sun 14-Feb-21 07:39:41

Is it just enough to tell you that no, you do not have any legal or indeed moral obligation to tell your employer? Or is there something troubling you about either withholding or sharing information about the autism diagnosis?

Im not assuming it's yours in case you are asking on someone's behalf.

yuhuh Sun 14-Feb-21 07:41:51

No, I definitely didn't

zzizzer Sun 14-Feb-21 08:07:34

I did but it probably depends where you work. I'm in the public sector, it led to increased understanding and accommodations here.

CuckooSings Sun 14-Feb-21 08:18:14

No you don't have to but I highly recommend talking to HR. I have a diagnosis of autism and the allowances made at work mean I have kept a job longer than a year for the first time ever.

Respectabitch Sun 14-Feb-21 08:21:24

You are under 0 obligation ever to share a medical diagnosis or a disability with an employer, but similarly you have no rights to support or protection for it if you don't share, particularly if it affects your behaviour, performance or attendance. It comes down to your judgement of the cost/benefit of disclosing vs not disclosing.

KitHenry Sun 14-Feb-21 10:19:32

Thanks, gives me a lot to think about. I’m asking because when I was at Uni I had like a bit of a breakdown type thing and student services sent me to an Ed Pysch who diagnosed me with dyslexia and dyspraxia and said I ought to see someone about getting a diagnosis of autism as they felt it was highly likely I was, they said they were as certain as they could be but they can’t give that diagnosis. I never did pursue it because my Mum was not happy and said there was absolutely no way I was autistic (she didn’t agree with the dyspraxia either, in her eyes I’m only dyslexic). I kinda figured there wasn’t much point pursuing it as when they spoke to Mum about my early years she would just say there were no issues (even though thats not true).

I’m as certain as I can be that I am autistic, I know a lot more about autism now and it makes my whole life make sense. It just fits. I’ve never told anyone as I wouldn’t feel at all comfortable saying I was without an ‘official’ diagnosis if that makes sense.

But lately I’ve been feeling like I would like to know one way or the other for sure. I have two autistic children and sometimes I feel it would help them if I could say I was autistic too. I’ve also started work for the first time since 2005 and so I was wondering if getting a diagnosis would impact that, like if I suddenly had to tell them, would they feel misled and get rid of me.

If it was my choice, I don’t know if I’d want to tell them or not. There are times where I think if they knew it would explain my behaviour sometimes so they would be more understanding but other times I worry I’d be treated differently. My current contract is fixed term for 1 year and I’m 6 months through. I’m currently applying for a permanent position. And I think that’s why it’s come to front of my mind again as I’m wondering about how it all affects it.

OP’s posts: |
EBearhug Sun 14-Feb-21 11:15:55

Currently you don't have a diagnosis. So your first decision is to decide whether to get an assessment. If you decide not to at the moment, you can always change your mind later. I suspect that if you did go for it, it's the sort of service which might not happen very quickly, especially now. So if you decided to go for it today, you might still have a long way to go before you would have anything to tell an employer. Although you cod tell them you're waiting for an assessment.

If you did go for an assessment and received a diagnosis, that's when you will have a choice over whether to say anything to work.

In my case, I discussed it with my GP. He pointed out that there are people with autism who need a lot of support from different services to just live, and I'm not like that. He's not keen in labelling people unnecessarily, but he would refer me for assessment if that was what I wanted. He didn't think I could be autistic because I could look him in the eye. (The man has looked at my vulva before, I'm past shyness there.)

I realised the main reason I was thinking about it was because my manager was being an arse, and I was feeling under attack because of that. I shouldn't need a diagnosis, because what really needed to change was that he needs to accept not everyone thinks the same way he does, and people should still be listened to if they aren't neurological, or if they're the only woman in the team, or whatever his problem was. (We're a unix system administrator department - a natural home for people with autistic tendencies, I'd say.) And some months later, when I was still wondering if I should push for it, because a diagnosis could give me some protection at work, the department got reorganised, and I got a new manager and life is better (in that sense, anyway.)

But unlike you, I don't have children. If I did, and they had been diagnosed, I would probably be going for anything which might help me understand them more, even if in the end it didn't help, because then I would at least know I tried.

Respectabitch Sun 14-Feb-21 11:21:04

I was wondering if getting a diagnosis would impact that, like if I suddenly had to tell them, would they feel misled and get rid of me.

If they did, you'd have a pretty solid case for disability discrimination. I'm not going to say that wouldn't happen, because there are alarmingly stupid and prejudiced people out there, but most employers have enough sense not to do something that opens them up to a discrimination case.

It's up to you whether you pursue a diagnosis. At the moment there really is nothing to tell an employer meaningfully on that front; you could tell them that you suspect it, but I don't think that would mean much legally or practically. If you did get a diagnosis, it would still be up to you to disclose or not. It's not a decision anyone else can make for you; it's a bit like disclosing early pregnancy to an employer, there are risks of triggering discrimination/bias against you, but also possible benefits of invoking legal protections.

Ted27 Sun 14-Feb-21 16:01:25

Your first decision is to decide whether or not you want to pursue the diagnosis.
A few years ago I had someone come to work in my team. Within two hours of him starting we knew something was not ‘right.’ My son has ASD so I was fairly convinced this was the issue. He got himself in a right pickle very quicklybecause he simply could not cope and we could not broach the issue.
It was only when he was in danger of failing his probation and I had built up a relationship with him that we able to raise the issue. Turns out he suspected it but had always just been treated as the naughty kid in school and the wierd one at work - he had never been able to hold down a job. He was 28. We took him through occupational health, got his assessment and were then able to put in reasonable adjustments. He kept a job, not the one he was appointed to, but within the team and became a really valuable and well respected member of the team. He is still there. Having the diagnosis changed his life and he has done a great job of increasing understanding of neurodiversity in the dept.

LewishamMum Wed 17-Feb-21 21:46:31

It's up to you completely. I know they are not the same, and in fact are very different, but if you declare your dyslexia/dyspraxia (which you do not have to) then you will get allowances which might make things easier for you across the board.

PinkBuffalo Wed 17-Feb-21 21:52:51

Legally you not have to declare I think, but I always do as I am apparently quite “obviously autistic” so best to get in first rather than potentially turn up for interview and they wonder about me
But I been in my current job for over 10years now (cos I not like change!) and have to sometimes have quite a bit of support from managers, occ health, union etc so I guess it helps that they know? Also meant when I started work they assessed what I needed as well (desk in corner with no one surrounding me etc)

KitHenry Thu 18-Feb-21 12:33:46

I think it would be easier for me to think about getting an official diagnosis knowing I wouldn’t be obliged to disclose.
I did have someone tell me once they were surprised I didn’t already know I was autistic as it’s obvious. Another person once said ‘and you wonder where your kids got their autism from?’

OP’s posts: |
Mrscollier16 Tue 09-Mar-21 16:02:13

Once you have a diagnosis, it's completely up to you to disclose.

Both my husband and I are on the spectrum and he needs a lot of adaptation to work anywhere longer than 6m so declares it on all applications. He now works for local government and has been there 4 years and is doing really well. I on the other hand need no adjustments to do roles I work in and can mask well so I feel I would be at a disadvantage to disclose, especially as I'm not what most neurotypical people would consider as autistic as I've learnt at lot of skills and masking.

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