The work life of people with invisible disabilities is becoming an increasingly important social topic amongst Canadians.
When people think of disabilities, they tend to think of individuals who have some sort of physiological disability such as those requiring a wheelchair, which is something everyone can see. However, many people have invisible disabilities. People with invisible disabilities are afraid to reveal their disabilities at work because they fear they will receive unfair treatment in the workplace, suffer a loss of credibility in the eyes of others, be the target of gossip and/or experience rejection (Brohan, 2012). People with disabilities expect to be productive at work but may need accommodations in order to do their jobs. People with invisible disabilities such as chronic illnesses, mental health issues or other conditions may need a variety of accommodations at work (Share, 2022).
Employers are being encouraged to treat their diverse groups of employees equitably and continuously support them (Leonard, 2022). Employers in Canada also have a legal duty to keep employees safe, not discriminate and take steps to avoid any negative effects on an employee based on personal characteristics such as gender or disability (British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, n.d.; Government of Canada, 2022; WorkBC, 2022). Still, even with such laws and organizational policies in place, people with disabilities sometimes experience ignorant comments or prejudiced behaviour from others at work.