Back to Blog

Why Are Employees Still Trying to Hide Their Disabilities And What Should Employers be Doing About it?

By Practice Group Leader, Employment

A new study claims that 60 per cent of employees in the UK have experienced workplace bias because of a disability, with more than half admitting to trying to hide it when applying for a new job.

employment lawyer

More than two decades after the introduction of disability discrimination legislation in the UK, this is disappointing, but sadly something we see all too often.

Almost half of those with a physical disability (45 per cent) and two thirds of those with a mental disability (65 per cent) also did not consider their employer to be inclusive.

It is clear from this research, carried out by recruiters Badenoch and Clark, that the stigma surrounding disability is still very much a reality for many.

People still fear and experience discrimination, even though the Equality Act 2010 states that treating someone less favourably (including rejecting them for a new job) or putting them at a disadvantage for a reason relating to disability is against the law.

It is clear from this research, carried out by recruiters Badenoch and Clark, that the stigma surrounding disability is still very much a reality for many.

More needs to be done to remove this stigma and to promote inclusiveness, and it has to start with the every day. Employers must offer greater support for disabled employees, by promoting and improving their equality policies and practices, training managers and removing any barriers for those with disabilities. This could involve making adjustments for those who need them before they even need to ask. Employers can also take positive action by encouraging applications from and developing people with disabilities.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission website cites, as an example of positive action, an employer setting up a mentoring and job-shadowing programme for people with learning disabilities to help them prepare and apply for jobs. If more employers took these steps, we are confident we would see fewer people hiding their disabilities, more disabled people in work and celebrating the differences that make them valuable to employers in the UK.

If you have been treated unfairly at work or have been affected by any of the issues raised in this blog contact the employment solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online and we will be happy to help.

Paula Chan is an employment lawyer at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.

Comments