Tuesday, November 12, 2019
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More than half of disabled people have experienced bullying and harassment at work

More than one in two disabled people have experienced bullying or harassment in the workplace, according to shocking research by the disability charity Scope.

A survey of 1,009 disabled UK adults during August 2016 reveals 53% have been bullied or harassed at work because of their disability.

The survey also found that 58% of disabled people are fearful of losing their jobs, as the charity warns issues faced at work, such as unsupportive employers, risk disabled people falling out of the labour market.

One in five of those surveyed by the charity (21%) admit to hiding their disability from employers, with many of those polled fearful that disclosing their disability could harm promotion prospects (13%).

Catherine, 47, from Yorkshire said: “I’ve been disabled for five years and a wheelchair user for three. I had been working for my employer for 13 years when my condition began to affect my work.

“I fought hard not to let it affect my job and got support through Access to Work in order to keep working.

“I asked for a very minor adjustment to my workload but was told by my employer that I wasn’t fit for work, but if I went on sick leave my job would be at risk.”

Almost one in four (24%) say their employer is not supportive of their disability, which doesn’t bode well for Government attempts to halve the disability employment gap – the difference between the number of disabled and non-disabled people in work.

Related: In-work sanctions are incompatible with ‘halving the disability employment gap’ – Sue Jones

The disability employment gap has remained stubbornly high at 30 percentage points over the past decade.

Mark Atkinson, chief executive at disability charity Scope, said: “There is no reason why someone with an impairment should be discriminated against at work or feel at risk of losing their job– this level of exclusion in the workplace is not acceptable.

“These figures demonstrate that employers and Government need to be doing much more to support disabled people in the workplace.

“Disabled people are pushing hard to get jobs and progress in their careers but the labour market is stacked against them.

“It’s clear that support for disabled people both in and out of work place need to radically improve.

“If the government is serious about halving the disability employment gap it must set out reforms which not only lead to a change in employer attitudes but also offer disabled people better access to in work support.”

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