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Is “disclosing” a stammer the right word to use?

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Last updated 8th February 2023.

It’s good to talk about a stammer, but is there a better term than “disclosing”? In any event, I don’t think this matters legally.

Stamma’s Blog: The trouble with ‘disclosure’ (6 Feb 2023) suggests that although talking about a stammer is good, “disclosing” may not be the best way to describe doing so. The term “disclose” is formal, says the blog, and may suggest telling a big, or even shameful, secret. One could think about alternative language, such as “telling” the employer about the stammer.

I don’t have strong views on this. Most importantly from a legal point of view, I don’t think it matters legally whether one speaks of “disclosing”, “telling” or something else. The key point legally is whether the employer knows of the disability, and often the relevant disadvantage, or could reasonably be expected to know of it (Knowledge of disability).

The employer’s knowledge of the stammer and of the relevant disadvantage can be important as a condition for having legal rights under the Equality Act. Perhaps more importantly, knowledge of the employer is important in getting reasonable adjustments actually made in practice, and in otherwise seeking to avoid discrimination through misunderstandings – eg having interviewers understand that apparent hesitancy does not mean the speaker is uncertain. I discuss this at Recruitment: Should I tell the employer I stammer? and Examples of reasonable adjustments: Recruitment>Information about the individual’s stammer, for example.

Also the Stamma blog links to a short YouTube video, below, on ‘self-disclosure’ potentially having a positive effect on the way the listener views you:

Related link: “Find the right words” campaign by Stamma.

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