Information for employers
Whilst it is possible to live with vitiligo and thrive, there can be no doubt that for many people being diagnosed with vitiligo can have a considerable impact on their life, and their confidence to carry out everyday activities.
We ask that employers take the time to learn about how vitiligo may be affecting an employee, and to work with them to identify ways in which you can help create a supportive workplace environment for someone with a visible difference.
Examples of how vitiligo can affect work duties
There are many ways in which living with vitiligo may affect someone in the workplace, below is a list of common examples to help you understand the kinds of impact the condition can have:
- An inability to work outside for long periods of time in the sun
- A requirement to undergo treatment throughout the working week
- Adjusting to the reaction of people to a visible difference
- Feelings of anxiety, self-consciousness or depression
Is vitiligo considered a disability?
Skin conditions such as vitiligo are not automatically classified as a disability, but can be categorised as a disability under the Equality Act 2010 if they have a major long-term effect on a person’s normal day-to-day activity.
An employee may discuss this with their GP after having received a formal diagnosis of vitiligo.
If a classification is made then a UK employer has a legal requirement to take into account how vitiligo is affecting an employees role, and take reasonable measures to adapt the working environment to overcome the barriers that the condition is causing.
How to offer support
Remember everyone’s experience of the physical and psychological effects of vitiligo is unique. You may have met someone with vitiligo before who had a very different experience to the next person you meet. Make sure you take the time to understand and be clear about the impact vitiligo may be having on your employee. Below are some suggestions from us on how you can support your employee:
- Encourage your employee to seek a formal diagnosis with their GP
- Discuss their condition with your employee and work together to come up with solutions to help them manage their vitiligo, and thrive in your shared work environment.
- If you have a HR or union representative it might be useful to involve them in the discussion to provide additional support to your employee.
- If your company has access to any employee support services then you may consider encouraging your employee to contact them for independent support
- Discuss with your employee if they would like to you raise awareness of vitiligo amongst the company, or if they would prefer to not to draw attention to their condition
- Encourage your employee to contact the Vitiligo Society charity for further information, help and support.
Available Resources for Employers and Employees
The Vitiligo Society Workplace Support Pack which includes:
- Information Factsheet for Employers
- Understanding Vitiligo in the Workplace Presentation
- Our guide for what to do if vitiligo is affecting your career
- An email welcome series
The Definitive Guide to Vitiligo E-book – a comprehensive guide to understanding and living with vitiligo.