You do not have to tell your employer about your condition, and you don’t have to disclose a disability when you apply or interview for a job.
Some employers might ask medical questions after they give you a conditional job offer but they cannot withdraw the offer unless you wouldn’t be able to do the job with reasonable adjustments for your condition.1,2
You may have to tell your employer if you are likely to need reasonable adjustments to do your job. You could ask if a colleague or friend could accompany you for support, and to come prepared with some notes about the impact of IBD.
Reasonable adjustments are changes made to remove or reduce the disadvantage caused by disability. This might mean changes to the workplace, equipment or services you use in your role; the ways things are performed or accessibility of information.2
Your employer has a legal duty to consider making these changes, at their own cost. A small business which cannot afford to make reasonable changes must suggest other ways to support you.2
IBD can be invisible to others, and you might have to explain how it affects you and how the adjustments you want would support you.
Some examples of reasonable adjustments are:1
It is a good idea for employers to have a policy in place for setting up and recording such adjustments.2
Under the Equality Act, a person is considered disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term negative effect on their ability to do normal daily activities:3,5
As a life-long condition which can significantly impair ability to perform tasks, IBD may be considered a disability, depending on exactly how it affects your daily life.3
IBD can change in severity over time, with periods of remission and intermittent flare-ups. For the purposes of the Equality Act, if the negative effects of your IBD are likely to recur, they should be treated as if they are continuous.4
You are not required to tell anyone at work about your Crohn’s disease or your ulcerative colitis even if you consider it to be a disability. It can be difficult to know what to disclose, you might be worried about people’s reactions, and you might be worried you will be treated differently.
On the other hand, you may decide you do want to talk to your colleagues, and you may find your colleagues are supportive and consider your needs.
Read more here on talking about your IBD for some useful tips on how to broach the conversation.