07 January 2010
Disability discrimination 'prevalent during recession'
A considerable number of disabled employees in the UK are facing discrimination during the economic downturn.
This is according to research conducted by Leonard Cheshire Disability, a charity which aims to change attitudes to disability and to serve disabled people across the globe.
In a report entitled Disability and the Downturn, the organisation claimed that one in 20 disabled workers lost their jobs last year.
It said that such staff members are being targeted by bosses for redundancy.
Also, businesses were unfairly turning them down for new roles, it suggested.
Leonard Cheshire Disability described the findings as "worrying", pointing out that unemployment has a disproportionately penalising effect on disabled individuals.
It went on to state: "Not only are disabled people more likely to be out of work and experience a higher incidence of in-work poverty, they face additional financial costs arising as a result of an impairment."
Sam Gardner, employment solicitor at Russell Jones & Walker, commented: "It is worrying that despite legislation prohibiting discrimination and obliging employers to make reasonable adjustments, some companies are using the recession as a smokescreen to attempt to circumvent legislation and make dismissals which would not otherwise be justifiable.
"Employers should select employees on the basis of fair and objective selection criteria. Failing to carry out a genuine selection process, using potentially discriminatory criteria, or failing to make reasonable adjustments when scoring such criteria, may result in employees having valid claims for disability discrimination.
"This could be more costly to employers in the long-term."