Tool 3 - Building Trust: Making It Safe to Come Forward with a Disability

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The Communication Tools to Support Disability Inclusion Toolkit includes 11 templates to help managers with disability inclusion:

What’s Tool 3 About?

Building trust can be very challenging for managers and supervisors. Trust is hard to define, but important to implement. The messages contained in this topic are designed to show managers and supervisors what trust around disability issues looks like within an organization and how they can help build it.

Tips for using the Tool 3 template:

  • The messages in this tool might be one of the more important messages for managers and supervisors in your workplace. When employees consider whether to come forward with a disability or to request accommodation, they will be more influenced by what actually goes on within their work team than by the messages from the larger company leadership.
  • Company leadership can support these messages by highlighting examples of individual employees who have received accommodations and improved their performance because of them. You will, of course, need to get the full voluntary permission of the employee before ”going public” with their accommodation experience.

You can copy and paste the template text below into a word processor and customize it for your organization. 

Building Trust: Making It Safe to Come Forward with a Disability

What trust looks like

Trust is hard to define and even harder to measure. Yet, we instinctively know when it's there. When it isn't, our work lives are profoundly affected. Coming forward with a disability is not an easy decision. The experience that each employee has will affect what they decide to do in the future. Remember, you play a key role in setting the tone for disability inclusiveness in our company. Treat every employee with respect even if you don't fully understand the challenges they face. Also, be sure to respect their confidentiality. Begin by getting the ball rolling on their accommodation request or concern. To learn more, contact (COMPANY CONTACT INFORMATION).

Here are a few simple points about what to do and not do to build trust around disability inclusiveness on your team:

  • Do send the message. Make it clear that it's safe to come forward with a disability on your work team. Don’t avoid talking about disability. This sends the subtle message that workers with disabilities might not be supported.
  • Do have zero tolerance for disability harassment. Privately challenge disrespectful comments or generalizations. Don’t ignore demeaning comments about disabilities, such as jokes, condescending comments, or false generalizations.
  • Do treat disability inclusiveness as good for the business. Emphasize talents and skills of employees with disabilities. Don’t treat disability inclusiveness as charity or treat disability hires as special favors.

Want to learn more?

For more about this topic, visit or call the Northeast ADA Center at 800-949-4232.

If the above text pastes into Microsoft Word with unwanted gray shading, select the text and use the Paint Bucket tool to choose No Color for the fill. Or, when pasting, try choosing Edit > Paste Special > Formatted Text (RTF).


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