Workplace ‘remains hostile to disability’

Discrimination in the workplace accounted for more than half the
cases dealt with by the Disability Rights Commission last

Figures compiled by the watchdog, which is three this month, show
55 per cent of the 1,781 cases dealt with last year were

Since 2000, the commission has taken more than 100 employers to
tribunals over alleged discrimination.

In one case, £100,000 was awarded to a betting shop manager
who was sacked because his boss refused to make changes to
accommodate his wheelchair.

Commission chairperson Bert Massie said: “Disabled people are
telling us that the workplace continues to be a hostile
environment. This need not be the case. Often all that is needed is
a small adjustment which may cost nothing or very little.”

He added that the “considerable talent” of disabled people was
being wasted “for want of a little flexibility and common

Meanwhile, the TUC is asking trade union members to sign a petition
for a law to provide equal rights for disabled people in the

It wants the definition of disability broadened to include those
with mental health problems and the removal of exemptions from the
Disability Discrimination Act’s remit of a range of particular

It also wants the removal of a loophole which allows employers to
discriminate on the grounds of disability as long as they have
“justified” their decision.

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