Social Anxiety Disorder Work and School Telling Your Employer That You Have Social Anxiety Disorder Tips For Telling Your Employer That You Have SAD By Arlin Cuncic Arlin Cuncic Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." Learn about our editorial process Updated on November 11, 2021 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Carly Snyder, MD Medically reviewed by Carly Snyder, MD Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Only share your diagnosis if it makes sense to do so. Getty / Hero Images Table of Contents View All Table of Contents Deciding on Disclosure Americans With Disabilities Act No Disclosure Required Timing Requesting Accommodations Planning What to Say How Much to Tell? Telling your employer that you have social anxiety disorder (SAD) can be difficult. If you’ve been diagnosed with SAD and have received treatment, you need to decide whether or not to tell your employer (or potential employer) about your condition. The choice is yours—you can choose to disclose or not disclose, and you can choose at what time you wish to disclose. Deciding on Disclosure You might be asking, "Why would I want to disclose my condition?" Common Reasons for Disclosure Not wanting to “hide” a conditionWanting to educate others about the conditionNeeding special accommodations at work At the same time, there are barriers to disclosure, such as the stigma associated with having a mental health condition and potential discrimination by employers and coworkers. What Is Stigma? Americans With Disabilities Act Any individual with a psychiatric disability is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Anxiety disorders, and SAD in particular fall under this designation. Under the ADA, you are not required to disclose your psychiatric disability unless you wish to request accommodations in the workplace. No Disclosure Required By the same token, a potential employer is not allowed to ask whether you have a disability during the hiring process. They may, however, make a job offer conditional on a medical examination. This medical examination must be required of all job candidates, not just those suspected of having a disability. If your potential employer discovers a disability during the examination, they may inquire about the nature of the disability. In this situation, it is best to be prepared to thoroughly explain the disorder and also detail the skills and abilities you possess that will enable you to fulfill the job requirements. How to Relax Before a Job Interview Timing of Disclosure The ADA stipulates that an employee may disclose their condition at any point: Before applyingDuring the interviewAfter a job offerAnytime after starting a job Your reason for disclosing will probably dictate when you decide to disclose, and who you disclose to. If you do decide to disclose, it's important to understand the following: What the job entailsHow you can meet those demandsWhat accommodations you might need Requesting Accommodations If you need special accommodations during the hiring process, you may choose to speak with human resources at that time. If you require accommodations once on the job, including telecommuting, flexible hours, or changes to elements of the working environment, it might be more appropriate to discuss these accommodations directly with your supervisor. Try not to wait to tell your employer about your SAD until it is too late and your work has suffered. Disclosing your social anxiety disorder early and in good faith is more likely to be met with a positive response. When deciding whether or not to disclose, you will also want to consider how much detail you wish to provide. SAD is a relatively poorly understood diagnosis, and many employers may not be familiar with the disorder. If your goal is for your employer and coworkers to have a better understanding of the symptoms that you experience, you may wish to describe SAD and the limitations that it may place on you at work. Doing so may be particularly helpful in the case of SAD, since people may otherwise perceive your anxiety as aloofness or an unwillingness to be a team player. 5 Myths About Social Anxiety Planning What to Say It may also be helpful to plan what you are going to say ahead of time. Here is an example of what someone with SAD might say to an employer. Sample Statement “I’d like to tell you about a condition that I have called social anxiety disorder. I have received treatment for SAD, and I’m in recovery. But, I may have anxiety in during performance and social situations. I will have physical symptoms, such as shaking hands or sweating, during these anxiety attacks. Here is the number of my therapist who can provide any information that you might need about my ability to handle the job.” Note: If you want your therapist to speak with your employer, you'll need to sign a detailed Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) release. Depending on your situation, you might also mention specific accommodations that would help you perform better at work. For those with SAD, these might include Writing reports instead of presenting in front of a groupCommunicating through email instead of in-personHaving a private workspace Ideally, during and after treatment, you should try not to avoid doing these sorts of activities. However, during times of stress or if symptoms reoccur, it is important to have options that allow you to meet your obligations at work. Employers are obliged to grant requests for accommodations unless they can show that it would place undue hardship on them. Managing Social Anxiety Disorder at Work How Much to Tell? In the end, only you can decide whether or not to disclose your condition. If you are job-hunting, it may be worth researching companies to see which ones are known for being accepting of persons with disabilities. If you decide against disclosure, make sure that you have other support in place to help you cope. Most of all, arm yourself with knowledge both about SAD and about your rights in the workplace. Doing so will make it easier for you to cope with SAD while at work. Read about whether having anxiety disorder may qualify you for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). 8 Best Jobs for People With Social Anxiety Disorder Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston University. Disclosing your disability to an employer. Accessed January 31, 2016. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Facts about the Americans with Disabilities Act. Accessed January 31, 2016. By Arlin Cuncic Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Social Anxiety Disorder Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.