Disclosing Your Condition To Co-Workers
You are under no obligation to disclose your medical condition to your co-workers even if you disclose your condition to your employer. However, keep in mind the following:
- Your relationships with your co-workers may suffer if you start taking time off, or show fatigue or weight loss or other side effects without some reasonable explanation.
- Disclosure may occur from a simple phone call or message from your doctor's office or if side effects occur such as weight loss or other physical changes, or fatigue. (Clothes that are suddenly too loose or too tight invariably lead to health questions.)
- It is stressful to keep a secret. The more important the secret, the greater the stress.
Co-workers are not obligated to keep your information a secret. Once you tell one person, keep in mind that news travels fast.
Choose carefully who, what, and when to tell.
- Once words are spoken, you can't take them back.
- If you are going to tell more than one person at work, start with the person with whom you feel safest.
- Consider setting one person as a point person you trust to tell other co-workers what is going on to save you from updating everyone. If you leave work temporarily, the same person can keep you up-to-date about what is happening at work.
- The timing is up to you. If you need an accommodation at work to help you do your job that will seemingly make you "special" or move more work to co-workers, it may be useful to tell co-workers once the accommodation has been agreed upon with your employer.
If you do disclose your condition, tell people what to expect.
For additional information, see:
- Should I Disclose My Condition To Co-Workers?
- What Should I Tell Co-Workers?
- How Should I Handle Inappropriate Questions?
- What If A Problem Arises With A Co-Worker?
Whether you tell or not, start keeping a work journal about events at work that either show how well you are doing your job or that could seem to be discrimination or harassment.
NOTE: For information about disclosing to your employer, click here.