The Equality and Human Rights Commission has revealed that disabled people and those with long-term conditions face higher levels of workplace hostility than others, along with a “culture of low expectation”.
A survey of 4,000 workers, published yesterday, found 22.5% of people with impairments or long-term illnesses had been subject to persistent unfair criticism at work, compared with 13.4% of non-disabled people.
The research, conducted by Cardiff and Glamorgan universities, also found that 11.6% of disabled people and those with long-term conditions had experienced physical violence at work, a fate suffered by 5.5% of other people.
Ridiculed and humiliated
It also found that 13.4% had been ridiculed or humiliated in connection with their work, compared with 8.7% of people without an impairment or long-term illness.
With the government due to announce an Equality Bill in next Wednesday’s Queen’s Speech, the EHRC questioned whether existing laws provided enough protection for disabled people at risk of bullying or harassment at work.
Culture of low expectation
The survey also found a culture of low expectation surrounding disabled people and those with long-term conditions. A quarter said they had someone continually checking up on them when it was not necessary, compared to 19.4% of other people. And 19.3% of people with impairments or long-term illnesses said they had been pressured to work below their level of competence, compared to 13.5% of non-disabled people.
Chief executive Nicola Brewer said: “If disabled people and those with long-term ill-health are more likely to experience hostile and negative treatment at work, we risk losing both their talent and their economic contribution.
“Disabled people and those with long-term ill-health should be supported to get into, or back into, work, but they’ll only stay in work if they are treated with dignity and respect.”