While the Government is busy deciding whether or not to adopt the concept of indirect discrimination in relation to disability discrimination, new research reveals that disabled people continue to face significant prejudice and discrimination in the workplace.
The survey of almost 4,000 employees conducted by Cardiff University reveals that disabled people are twice as likely to suffer actual physical violence at work or have rumours spread about them or allegations made against them. Equally worrying, 13% of disabled people said that they had been humiliated or ridiculed in connection with their work compared with 8.7% of non-disabled people.
Disabled employees are also more likely to be subject to someone continually checking their work when it is unnecessary (25%) compared with their non-disabled colleagues (19%), or to be given an unmanageable workload or impossible deadlines (41%) when compared with their non-disabled counterparts (31%).
It is widely believed that the Government will go ahead with its proposal to replace the concept of disability-related discrimination with that of indirect discrimination despite significant opposition. Many focus groups believe that the concept of indirect discrimination will simply be too complex and unworkable in the arena of disability discrimination law, not least because disabled people are a diverse and hetrogeneous group who will not be affected in the same way by a discriminatory "provision, criterion or practice" (PCP). This in turn will make it more difficult for disabled employees to establish that a majority or significant number of disabled employees are being subjected to a detriment as a result of the offending PCP, thereby making it harder for employees to succeed at an employment tribunal.
Consider the research Insight: work fit for all - disability, health and the experience of negative treatment in the British workplace in more detail on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.
ExpertHR, 17th February 2009